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Spend Spring in the Galapagos Islands
UGalapagos is an exciting new semester study abroad program that takes students and University of Miami faculty to the famed Galapagos Islands for a field-oriented semester of study. Through an academic partnership with the Isabela Oceanographic Institute, located in the picturesque community of Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island, UM is again offering a full six-course (17 credit) semester in Spring tailored to the needs and interests of students majoring in marine science, biology and geology. Courses are taught sequentially as intensive two-week experiences by UM faculty experts.

Straddling the equator some 600 miles west of mainland Ecuador, the Galapagos Islands are geologically young, volcanically active and renowned for their vast numbers of endemic species, which were studied by Charles Darwin in the 1830’s during the famous five-year voyage of the Beagle. In addition to their role as a natural “living laboratory” of evolution, the islands today also provide a unique opportunity to study and apply the basic principles of conservation biology and sustainable management, both for marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

The Intercultural Outreach Initiative (IOI) will be your academic home for your semester-long stay, providing classroom and laboratory facilities. IOI is a non-profit center for education and research that promotes environmental awareness and sustainable ecotourism. As a student you will live with a local host family in Puerto Villamil, affording you the opportunity to learn or improve your Spanish and immerse yourself in village life and culture. The homestay experience is a key part of the program that gives each student and host family an intensive intercultural and Spanish/English language exchange. Excursions over the course of the semester will take you to places that tourists never see. You will snorkel with sea lions, manta rays and marine iguanas, visit bird rookeries, mingle with giant tortoises and hike into volcanic craters. If you love the outdoors, this study abroad experience is for you.

IOI - Our Academic Partner

The Intercultural Outreach Initiative is a Florida-based non-profit whose operational home is the village of Puerto Villamil on Isabela Island, Galapagos, Ecuador. IOI provides a platform for merging international higher education with local development aid in education and conservation to create sustainable economic alternatives in this small community formerly dependent on fisheries. IOI’s vision is to help establish an ecologically sustainable and stable social economy for the Galapagos archipelago by providing support in the education, conservation and development sectors.

“When you first get to the Galapagos you are mesmerized by the beauty of the land, but as time passes you also come to know and love the people of the islands, an experience most Study Abroad programs fail to offer. The spirit of the Galapagos rubs off on you and you leave the islands with a whole new outlook on the world. The Galapagos will always be one of the best times of my life”. -Judy H.  (Student, Spring ‘10)

How to Apply
Undergraduate students between their sophomore and senior years are welcome to apply. The spring semester program is designed for marine science and other basic science majors. Students from other universities and colleges are welcome to participate in the program. Some scholarship assistance may be available to non-UM students. Enrollment in each semester program is limited to a maximum of fifteen students. Click here to apply.