ANCIENT ROOTS TO SUSTAINABLE FUTURES
WHERE: Chiapas, México
WHEN: PLEASE CONTACT US
DEADLINE: PLEASE CONTACT US
GROUP SIZE: 10 PARTICIPANTS
AGE: 18+ WE STRIVE TO CREATE DIVERSE GROUPS THAT ARE INTERESTED IN ENGAGING WITH ISSUES AND IDENTIFYING SOLUTIONS
CREDITS: 6 QUARTER-CREDIT COURSE ACCREDITED BY PORTLAND STATE UNIVERSITY* AND IN COLLABORATION WITH Carpe Diem Education and Oberlin College (OPTIONAL)
WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT?
USING México AS OUR CLASSROOM, YOU WILL JOIN US ON THE FRONT-LINES OF CLIMATE CHANGE ALONGSIDE SCIENTISTS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS WHO ARE DEFINING SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS.
DEVELOP THE SKILLS AND EXPERIENTIAL INSIGHT NEEDED FOR CREATING A BETTER PRESENT AND A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE AROUND THE WORLD.
Want to be one of the first to know about special expeditions and new departures?
OUR PROGRAMS ARE RIGOROUS, SO YOU LEARN A LOT, BUT AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY, YOU LEARN BY DOING.
INTERVIEW LOCAL EXPERTS about real-world challenges and what they are doing to solve them.
Explore an Ancient Mayan CITY and see what the past can teach us about the present.
Meet with courageous women who are leaders in their communities while learning how to make hand-made Tortillas from corn they grow.
Discover the connections between global markets and local realities by experiencing them first-hand.
Understand how a watershed works by hiking through verdant mountains and swimming in turquoise rivers.
Make traditional pottery and bows and arrows with One of the last of the Lacandon Elders.
See where your coffee and chocolate are grown.
Experience the importance of local agriculture and agroecology.
EXPLORE a different way of viewing the world and how we engage with it.
Engage in daily discussions about how we can contribute to being part of the solution.
LEAVE with a plan.
RECEIVE 6 COLLEGE CREDITS!*
Divided by the Sierra Madre mountains and framed by coastal mangroves on one side and the Lacandona jungle on the other, Chiapas, Mexico boasts an complex cultural, historical and ecological landscape. This fertile and productive region is home to the modern Maya, the socialist Zapatistas and traditional Mexican mestizo cultures. The Chiapanecan highlands and lowlands offer a unique living classroom for students to learn about climate change, global change, and explore real world solutions to local and global issues.
Day 1: Meet the group and travel high into the mountains and through the clouds to the pueblo mágico, San Cristóbal del las Casas. Deep in the heart of the Sierra Madre mountains for México, this small, colonial, and picturesque city is the heart of paradigm-changing social movements, ecological diversity, and indigenous cultures that never succumbed to the Spanish. Settle into our bed and breakfast with the group and get ready for heading out to explore in the morning.
Day 2: After an Orientation about what to expect on our adventure, we head out for a scavenger hunt in the city to learn about the culture and history of where we are and as well as how the food-system works. You’ll find yourself inspired by contrasts, complicated history, and local solutions to big problems. After meeting with a local expert and enjoying a delicious Mexican dinner, we’ll have our first daily discussion. Come ready to dive critically into issues, share insights and ideas, and learn everything we can from the different landscape and culture we’re in!
Day 3: What does climate change have to do with food? To find out we’ll visit Don Ángel, a producer who uses agroecology to supply the local tianguis with produce. Then we’ll head to the milpa of Doña Reyna, a fiery grandmother and community leader who has protected cultural identify and made her community stronger through agroecology. We’ll make tortillas by hand from corn that she has grown and listen to stories about her colorful history as an activist and indigenous woman. We’ll learn how climate impacts food systems and, in-turn, how food-systems can also make our communities strong against the challenges of climate and global change.
Day 4: To prepare us for our upcoming journey to the jungle, today we head to the university and research institution, ECOSUR, to meet with Mexican professors and learn about other ecologically- and community-based solutions to climate change!
Day 5: We journey to the jungle where the Hach Winik people are the guardians of the forest. After a traditional meal, we’ll have an introduction to this ancient culture, making bows and arrows or making ceremonial clay pots with a shaman while learning about their religion and gods. What role does traditional culture and environmental stewardship play in sustainability and climate change?
Day 6: Can people work with nature, produce more food, make a better living, and increase their community's resilience to climate change? Today we visit producers who are doing just this through agroforestry, apiculture, and coffee. How does it work? Can we bring this home? How do our decisions at the store matter?
Day 7: Today we continue to learn about local solutions in action by visiting a brilliant new project run by local youth. Be prepared to get your hands dirty!
Day 8: To celebrate our time in the Lacandon jungle and learn more about the Hach Winik people that protect this biodiversity and indigenous hotspot, we’ll head out on an adventure on a crystal-blue lake in dugout canoes. Our hosts will share sacred sites with us – even underwater carvings that are Mayan prayers for rain.
Day 9: Does history repeat itself? What can we learn from the past during these critical times we are living through? Today we step into the past, visiting an ancient Mayan city. Exploring monumental buildings laden with stories and sacred significance, we discover what happened and what can we learn from it.
Day 10: During our return trip to San Cristóbal we have a final surprise for you. It will help you think about how you’ll be bringing everything you’ve learned and experienced home with you.
Day 11: Today is the grand finale of our adventure. After this place has given us so much, we’ll have the chance to return the favor by sharing what we learned by presenting our individual projects. Then we have our final celebration!
*Participants will be required to prepare with readings, contribute to our daily group discussions, and present a final project. We are always working to create the optimal experience for participant so the itinerary may be adjusted as deemed necessary by Ecothropic.
What do students say?
ACCOMMODATION: We will stay in a Bed and Breakfast with Dorm-style Beds, hotels, and guest houses during our time in Chiapas,
LANGUAGE REQUIREMENT: None (but Spanish Proficiency helpful)
TUITION: $3440 (Oberlin students please consult Office of Study Away for Tuition cost)
*We encourage you to fundraise part of your tuition to get more of your community involved. Your tuition not only funds your learning experience, but also helps support our non-profit work.
**Tuition Includes instruction and guest lecturers, accommodation, meals, in-country transportation, site visits, specified activities, Cuban travel visa, and Cuban international health insurance. Not included: Fee for PSU college credit ($500)*, airfare, additional snacks, and activities not included in itinerary. Activities may be adjusted at the discretion of Ecothropic.
***Payment plans and financial aid may be available. Please inquire.
****If you would like to help sponsor the participation of a low-income student, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
STEP 1: Fill out BOTH the Application Form Part 1 and Application Form Part 2 (Statement of Intention). In order to provide the best and safest experience possible it is imperative that you answer all questions openly and honestly. If you check any of them, please fill out the text area below describe the situation or condition at greater length. We reserve the right to request further information and to speak with doctors, counselors, etc. All medical information and personal disclosure will be kept strictly confidential.
STEP 2: Oberlin Winter Term students are exempt from the application fee. After you fill out the application form, please make a $50 application fee payment to process your application. You can securely pay your $50 application fee using any major credit card or your Paypal account.
STEP 3: After reviewing your Application Form Part 1 and Application Form Part 2 (Statement of Intention) we will confirm your acceptance in the program. Oberlin Winter Term students are exempt from the non-refundable deposit and the Ecothropic payment schedule.A non-refundable deposit of $1000 is due upon acceptance to reserve your place. The balance of the tuition and proof of airfare is due three weeks before program start. Payment plans are available upon inquiry.