Students to learn in Ecuador classes


Ashley Emanuel, Copy Editor

This spring break, several students are to spend time in Ecuador.

Associate professor Skip Glenn is to head the trip. He will be assisted by Tod Swanson of The Andes School in Ecuador’s CEO.

Priority seating was given to business and communication majors. They are to travel to Quito, Papallacta and Tena.  They are also to go to Misahuali, according to a International Services office brochure.

The students are to take a one-credit Marketing Special Topics course.

Most of the students going are to fly to Ecuador together and travel by bus to The Andes School, according to Glenn.

“We will be landing in Quito, which is 9,000 feet (above sea level) and spend a day there in the Old City to see the architecture, history and products that are made in Ecuador by local artisans,” Glenn said.

“We will then descend from the Andes down to the shores of the Rio Napo on the east slope passing waterfalls and hot springs where we will take a dip.”

Glenn said that they will be spending a bulk of their time in the lowlands and will be living in the Andes School compound, which he said overlooks the Rio Napo.

Students will be investigating the unique products Ecuador has by making chocolate, ceramics, and through eco-tourism, Glenn said.

“The course begins before and stretches beyond the week we are in Ecuador, as it opens with a meeting at La Feria on Feb. 8, in Shadyside, for an Amazonian dinner and orientation with students from Pitt Main and Johnstown,” Glenn said.

He said students are to keep a journal and build a marketing report with recommendations for one of the Ecuador products.

One student going on the trip, junior marketing and accounting Major Katie Saylor, said she is excited.

“When I heard about the program that was taking place over spring break I thought it would be perfect for me,” Saylor said.

She said that it is going to be a great learning experience, and that she has a lot of expectations for the trip. She said they are to learn the chocolate-making process, and also meet with locals and learn to make pottery.

“It is going to be really beneficial to see how other cultures market their products, “ she said.

Another student, junior Tessa Smith, said she recommends going to        Ecuador.

“I recommend Ecuador because it is so unique and you can’t help but fall in love with the jungle. When you are immersed in a culture where you can eliminate technology and embrace nature, you can learn and appreciate so much,” Smith said.

She said she would be on a plane back to Ecuador if she had the time and finances to plan another trip.  Smith took an Ethnobotany class where she studied plants, and their relationship to other plants and to the Kichwa people.

“I suggest that students going on the trip take advantage of every opportunity there. Don’t take naps or waste time indoors.”

She also said meeting the people in Ecuador is rewarding.

“Try new foods, go on hikes, and don’t be afraid to try things you’d normally be afraid to do. People will be willing and happy to help you overcome personal obstacles.”

Students are to leave March 8 and to return March 16.  The trip is to cost students $1,695 and around $1,000 for airfare, according to Glenn.