SUNY Oneonta Students Serve, Learn in Ecuador
Eighteen SUNY Oneonta students spent a little over two weeks (from May 13 to May 26) completing service projects and working with impoverished youth and families in Quito and Mindo, Ecuador as part of an upper-division Human Development and Family Studies course.
The students were involved in three service work projects - building a greenhouse for an elder-care facility; working with a preschool program developing activities and refurbishing a room into an activity room for future use; and working with the mayor in Mindo on a beautification project in a high-poverty district.
As part of their cultural immersion, students took 20 hours of Spanish lessons and lived with an Ecuadorian family. In their free time, they were able to visit museums, tour communities, visit historical and ecological attractions, attend programs learning about food and the arts, and visit with indigenous populations (primarily Quichua).
This service learning program was designed for students interested in learning about sustainable solutions to poverty in developing countries. It offered exciting hands-on work opportunities and meaningful cultural immersion, while encouraging an awareness of the risk factors of impoverishment.