Water for Life

Summer 2021
2 (UW - Nutritional Sciences 421)
2.75 GPA
Apply By:
March 5, 2021

Water quality is rapidly emerging as one the most pressing environmental concerns facing humanity in the 21st century, and the cross-cutting importance of clean fresh water supplies is emphasized in global initiatives on conservation, development, health, and economics. This 2-week summer service learning course on the coast of Ecuador highlights the interconnections between human use of water resources and health. The course caters to students in the Global Health certificate program or biological science majors who seek international experience in water quality issues. Students will study the influence of land management practices on water quality, participate in community-based water quality monitoring, and learn about the epidemiology of water-borne pathogens that impact human health in rural communities.

*Note: The health and safety of our students, and our staff, are our highest priority.  Along with our US and Ecuadorian partner institutions, we are closely monitoring the Covid-19 pandemic and will make modifications to upcoming programs as needed.  

Where We Go

From waterfalls in the Andes to beaches on the western coast this course shows you some of the best and most beautiful places Ecuador has to offer.

The program begins and ends in Quito, Ecuador. From Quito, you will descend the western flanks of the Andes by bus, stopping along the way to visit a cloud forest reserve, before arriving at Tabuga and the Lalo Loor Dry Forest Reserve where the program will be located until your return to Quito.

This service-learning course will be held primarily in the communities of Tabuga and Camarones, Manabi province of Ecuador. Tabuga is a small coastal village of approximately 2,500 inhabitants who dedicate themselves primarily to agriculture, fishing and tourism. Visits to local water treatment facilities and health clinics, provide students with ample opportunity to learn about the tropical environment, and get to know the local culture and people.


Course Content

Join the local citizen-scientists as you dive into field work and service learning within the community.

This program will primarily be comprised of hands-on field work and service-learning in the community, with associated background lectures, training activities, and discussions presented in local context. The coastal region of the Manabí province provides an ideal location for study of the linkages between water quality and human health. Local rivers provide the primary water source for several communities along the coast, including Tabuga and Camarones, with whom students will work. You will earn two credits of Inter-Ag and Nutritional Sciences 421 for this course.

The first week of the course will focus on understanding the global water supply and human impacts upon it. In the field, you will talk with community members about local land use practices from a water quality and sustainability standpoint, and work with local “citizen-scientists” to assess water quality using standard methods.

During the second week, you will focus on water-related health risks. You will join community members to test local water supplies for disease-causing micro-organisms, and discuss strategies for keeping water supplies safe. You will visit a local hospital and speak to health care professionals about their perspectives on managing water-related health problems.

Frequent group discussions and journaling will provide ample opportunity for continuous reflection on your experience.

Apply Now!

Applying could not be simpler, just submit online forms to Ceiba and the University of Wisconsin by the first Friday in March. Need to plan your summer sooner? Ceiba offers provisional early acceptance to qualified candidates.

Deadline:  Apply by Friday, March 5 for the 2021 summer course.

Cost:  Ceiba’s direct tuition is $2650, but UW also adds a credit-administration fee; see their program page for details. 2021 cost details will be released at the end of 2020.

How To Apply:  Applying is a simple two-step process!  First, fill out Ceiba’s online application form below.  Then, go to the University of Wisconsin-Madison program page to fill out their application and upload your transcript.

Early Acceptance:  You are welcome to submit your application before the formal deadline and request an early review (contact courses). Ceiba issues provisional early acceptances to strong candidates, which virtually guarantees you a spot in the program as long as you meet University of Wisconsin-Madison eligibility requirements. See the UW Study Abroad program page for more detail.

Financial Aid:  Participants in Ceiba programs are eligible for any financial aid and scholarships offered by the University of Wisconsin or other sources to support your college studies; please contact Jessica Vodvarka (jessica.vodvarka@wisc.edu) and Lindsay Heiser Barger (lindsay.heiser@wisc.edu) to explore a wide range of available options.

Apply Now!