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  • Locations: Guayaquil, Ecuador; Quito, Ecuador; San Cristobal Island, Ecuador
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • **
Fact Sheet:
Credit Type: Resident Credit Program Type: Department-Led Program
SDSU Office: Professional Studies and Fine Arts
Program Description:
Sustainability, Global Citizenship, and Community Empowerment in Ecuador
Quito, Amazon, Andes, Galapagos Islands

Experiencing the ways locals seized opportunity on grass root levels inspired me to do my part towards a sustainable future. It made me feel like success was waiting around the corner. - Brittany C., Summer 2015
Arrive: July 7, 2018
Depart: July 25, 2018
The mandatory program-specific orientation with the faculty leader will take place on Saturday, April 21, 2018, 12:00-2:00 PM, room PSFA 300 

March 15, 2018

$5,098 (see below)

Location: PSFA 200 (stop by anytime during the hours listed)
  • Friday, February 16, 12- 2 PM 
  • Monday, February 26, 11 AM- 1 PM
  • Thursday, March 1, 12 to 2 PM
  • The mandatory program-specific orientation with the faculty leader will take place on Saturday, April 21, 2018, 12:00-2:00 PM, room PSFA 300  

Spend three weeks in Ecuador and engage in enriching, hands-on community experiences in sustainability. Participants live with local families in the Amazon jungle, the Andes mountains, and the Galapagos Islands, and undertake life-changing service activities and coursework relating to cultural and ecological conservation and sustainable business development. Exposure to multidisciplinary approaches to sustainability, including health, economics, education, gender studies, ecology, politics, business, tourism, hospitality, and more. Students will enroll in a total of six units.

All students must enroll in two of the following courses. Each course is three units of SDSU resident credit.
  • GEN S 450: Sustainability and Global Citizenship, satisfies General Education, Explorations, Humanities Requirement for SDSU students.
  • RTM 404: Cross-Cultural Perspectives of Tourism, satisfies General Education, Explorations, Social and Behavioral Sciences Cultural Diversity Requirement for SDSU students.
  • RTM 499: Special Study, provides sustainability-related academic opportunities oriented toward creating sustainable businesses, agencies, and institutions through the implementation of student-based, coordinated, practical and continuing community development programs.
Ecuador is one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world and is among the safest, ecologically-pristine, and culturally-vibrant countries in South America. Students work and live with indigenous communities in three distinct regions of the country: 1) the heart of the Ecuadorian Amazon, one hour from the city of Tenanear and the city of Coca; 2) the base of the Andes Mountains, close to the town of Cayambe and the city of Otavalo; and 3) the outer archipelagos of the Galapagos Islands.
 ACTIVITIES (subject to change)
  • Visit Quito, Ecuador's capital city, and significant cultural sites within the city
  • Pululahua Volcano
  • Visit the oldest indigenous market in Latin America in the historic city of Otavalo & see the crater lake of Cuicocha volcano
  • Participate in community projects involving the indigenous communities of Paquiestancia and Cariacu in the Andes
  • Learn about sustainability efforts at Lago Verde, Yasuní, and Sacha Ñampi in the Amazon
  • Participate in conservation activities in the Galápagos Islands
  • See a tentative 2018 itinerary for more information.
When in Quito, students will stay at a local family-owned hotel with 2-3 students per room. Outside Quito students will be placed  in homes of local indigenous families. Students will share rooms with 2-4 persons per room depending on the location. The program fee includes three meals per day with a few exceptions on travel days.

Dr. Vinod Sasidharan is the Program Coordinator of the Recreation and Tourism Management Program at San Diego State University. His teaching interests include global tourism trends, sustainable tourism, geotourism, ecotourism, cultural tourism, grassroots tourism development, and cross-cultural analysis of tourism, and recreation behaviors. Currently, he teaches Recreational Travel and Tourism Management, Tourism Planning, and Cross-Cultural Perspectives of Tourism.
Vinod’s research addresses the concept of sustainable development in relation to the use of tourism and recreation resources from a multidisciplinary perspective, with emphasis on examining these issues within the context of future trends. His research focuses on the examination of socio demographic trends (such as multiculturalism, aging population) and environmental changes (especially, global climate change) and their implications for the management of parks and recreation areas in the urban-wildland interface. Additionally, his research interests also include the evaluation and implementation of grass-roots tourism initiatives, involving local community participation in planning and decision making for sustainable tourism development at the destination level. His research has been funded/supported by federal agencies including the U.S.D.A Forest Service, U.S.D.I. National Park Service, U.S. Peace Corps., nationally-renowned philanthropic agencies such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and local agencies such as the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.
Program cost: $5,098
  • Program fee paid to Academic Experiences Abroad (AEA): $3,379
  • Tuition paid to SDSU: $1,644
  • SDSU Foreign Travel Insurance Plan: $75
Payment Schedule (instructions will be sent to students that have applied and been accepted into the program.)
  • March 23: $700 deposit due to AEA This deposit is non-refundable. Payment can be made by check or card (+3.5% transaction fee).
  • April 5: $2,679 due to AEA. 
  • April 15-25: $1,644 tuition due with course registration through the College of Extended Studies
  • May 7: $75 SDSU Foreign Travel Insurance Plan. 
Withdrawal and Refund Policies
If you intend to withdraw from the program you must notify the SDSU Office of International Programs in writing. Email notification is acceptable:

Refund policy for program fee paid to AEA:
  • $700 application deposit is non-refundable for withdrawals after March 23, 2018
  • For withdrawals on April 6, 2018 but before May 15, 2018 students will be refunded 50% of the second payment.
  • For withdrawals on or after May 15, 2018 no refunds will be issued.
Refunds for course tuition follow the College of Extended Studies (CES) standard refund policy.  
SDSU Foreign Travel Insurance is non-refundable after April 25
Included in the Program Cost
  • Six units of SDSU resident credit
  • Housing and most meals
  • Activities as listed above
  • All in-country transportation (including domestic flight within Ecuador and excursions)
  • Group airport pickup and drop off
  • SDSU Travel Medical & Repatriation Insurance
  • 24/7 onsite emergency services and support
Not included in the fee
  • International airfare
  • Passport, visa, vaccination expenses
  • Personal expenses
  • Optional activities during free time
  • US$ 125 (cash) for Galapagos National Park Entrance Fee
Funding and Scholarship Information 
  • Apply for the SDSU Associated Students Study Abroad Scholarship  Deadline: Feb 23, 2018 at 3:00 pm
  • Additional scholarship information
  • IIE Generation Study Abroad Travel Grants- SDSU is a Commitment Partner of IIE’s Generation Study Abroad initiative and, as such, our students qualify for the IIE Generation Study Abroad Travel Grants. You could be eligible to receive $2,000 to support your study abroad travel costs! Visit the IIE Generation Study Abroad Travel Grants website to learn more about the opportunity and program, including eligibility and deadlines/timeline. Submit your online application by March 7, 2018 for summer 2018 study abroad programs. Send questions to On the application please list Colleen Conniff <> as the SDSU financial aid contact.

Participants will need a passport valid for 6 months past the entry date.
SDSU Passport Office

  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0
  • Open to SDSU students
  • SDSU students cannot be on academic probation (less than 2.0 GPA) or disciplinary probation (expulsion, judicial, or suspension) at the time of application and/or at the time of course registration.
  • Minimum age to participate is 18
  • After applying and being accepted into the program, all participants must complete BOTH a mandatory online pre-departure orientation as well as a program-specific orientation(s) with their faculty leader(s) prior to departure. Details about both will be sent after acceptance into the program.
    • The mandatory program-specific orientation with the faculty leader will take place on Saturday, April 21, 2018, 12:00-2:00 PM, room PSFA 300  
This Aztecs Abroad online application must be completed by March 15, 2018
 Applicants should contact the course instructor prior to submitting and application.

Vinod Sasidharan, Ph.D. <>
Associate Professor, Sustainable Tourism Management
L. Robert Payne School of Hospitality and Tourism Management
Director of Service Learning
Division of Academic Engagement & Student Achievement

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.