Programs sponsored by the University of Minnesota
MSID (Minnesota Studies in International Development)
MSID is a comprehensive program focused on development and its contradictions, consisting of these optional areas (tracks) of specialization: Public Health, Environment, Microfinance, Social Service, Education and Arts, Spanish and Culture.
Option: Fall Semester
Intensive Spanish Course in August
This intensive Spanish language course, which emphasizes the use of basic grammar, vocabulary and culture while enhancing communication skills through the proper use of oral and written language within the local cultural reality, also affords the learner an understanding of the economic, socio-cultural and political aspects of Ecuador. This course lasts four weeks, with 60 contact hours, 4 credits, and takes place in the month of August.
Week 1: General Orientation
Consists of conferences to facilitate the cultural adaptation to Ecuador, an integration workshop for students, a field trip to see the variety of cultural, ethnic and biodiversity of San Miguel de los Bancos, a zone northwest of Pichincha.
Weeks 2 - 3: General Classes
Students participate for 5 weeks in academic activities including conferences, seminars, discussions of assigned literature and field trips, all of which comprehensively address the views, contradictions and impacts of development in Ecuador and Latin America. The neo-constitutionalism that has been established in the New Constitution of 2008 is seen as a way to think of grassroots alternatives where social participation is integral to the definition of model development, multiculturalism, the notion of individual and collective human rights, and environmental rights. Conferences, workshops, and classes address these issues as well as participative observations in issues of the Andean worldview, history, and the current political environment and local development.
Weeks 4 - 8: Specialization component (tracks)
In a second phase of 5 weeks, students participate in specialized learning groups called tracks, according to their areas of interest:
- Environment Track: Students get to know the importance of Ecuador’s biological and cultural diversity as well as investigate and understand the relationship between the current economic model and the exploitation of natural resources.
- Public Health Track: Students review the main concepts of public health and critical issues from a historical perspective, associating its successes and limitations throughout different periods of development in Ecuador, relating development processes, impacts on living conditions and environment through reading selected articles and field observations.
- Education Track: Students in the Education Track will get to know the structure and operation of Ecuador’s educational system and its relation to social, cultural, political and economic development. This knowledge contributes to students’ comprehension, understanding and practice of multiculturalism.
- Social Services and Development of Local Microenterprises Track: In this track students will analyze the global, political and economic context of the Ecuadorian reality, particularly emphasizing society’s most vulnerable sectors.
Weeks 9 to 14: Internship
Internships are available at sites previously visited during field trips. Alternatively, CIMAS has a large bank of NGOs and maintains a close working relationship with various public, private, community, urban and rural institutions in several provinces.
Each student is responsible for writing a paper of at least 25 pages based on their chosen research topic.
Week 15: Evaluation
Oral presentation of the written essay, seminar to prompt students to reflect on their field experience, and an evaluation of the semester.