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Education Abroad Office

Global USC in the Galapagos

Area: Global UofSC
Location: Galápagos Islands
Country: Ecuador
Term: Maymester

Students participating in the Global USC in the Galápagos: Sustainability program are accompanied by a USC staff member, and courses are instructed by USC faculty. During this program, students study at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) Galápagos campus while living in a homestay on San Cristóbal Island. USFQ is the only university in the world with a campus on the Galápagos islands. In addition to taking courses, students participate in educational and cultural excursions, which include trips to several other islands in the Galápagos.

Eligibility: USC undergraduate students with a minimum 2.5 GPA are eligible to participate in this program. All majors are welcome. There is no foreign language requirement.

Cost: USC in-state tuition for the class, plus a program fee of $5,250 

Dates:  May 5th - May 25th, 2024

 The program fee includes:
  • Homestay accommodation
  • Two meals per day, provided by host family
  • Two day-long excursions to sites on San Cristóbal Island
  • Week-long excursion to Santa Cruz and Isabela Islands
  • Tour of Quito
  • Welcome lunch and farewell dinner
  • Round-trip airport transfers in Ecuador between Quito and San Cristobal
  • Galápagos National Park entrance fee
  • TCT Transit Control Card
  • 24/7 support from UofSC faculty and staff in-country

The program fee does not include:

  • USC tuition (paid directly to USC on at a rate of $1,536 per 3 credits)
  • Round trip airfare to Quito
  • Local transportation (if needed)
  • Education abroad application fee of $150
  • Meals not listed on itinerary 
  • Personal expenses and optional activities
  • USC Travel Insurance fee of approx. $36
  • Dive fee (if applicable) 

Students have the choice of 3–9 credits of USC course offerings. Course offerings include:

HRTM 595: Economically Sustainable Hospitality Operations in the Galapagos Islands (Kevin Ayres)
The overriding academic goal of this program will be to analyze the financial impact of sustainable operations initiatives in the economic environment of the Galapagos as it relates to its number one industry:  hospitality and tourism.  Students will gain an appreciation and understanding of the complex social, economic, and environmental ecology of the Galapagos tourism by listening, meeting, interviewing, participating, and reflecting on the growth of tourism in this unique country.  This course is designed to help students develop both ethical and global awareness. They will recognize and appraise ethical dilemmas involved in business decisions as well as economic and environmental sustainability; and competently engage in discourse aimed at resolution of these dilemmas utilizing relevant discipline specific knowledge.  They will also recognize and examine the global (economic, environmental, and social) implications of business decisions while evaluating and integrating innovative applications of these implications utilizing relevant discipline specific knowledge.

SPTE 490: Sustainability, Eco-Tourism, and the Diving Industry (Dr. Rich Southall)
This course employs an experiential learning approach to provide students with an understanding of the business ingredients that comprise the scuba diving experience in the Galapagos Islands. This course introduces students to the Four Es: Education, Equipment, Environment, and Experiences that comprise the scuba diving industry. Throughout the course students will be provided opportunities to experience how the identified Es are delivered to consumers via various scuba diving industry segments: PADI dive centers, dive resort, and live-a-board dive boats. *Additional fees apply; Must be advanced open water scuba certified prior to program start date. Course limited to 10 students. 

BIOL 599: Darwin's Ideas Then and Now (Brian Hollis)
Charles Darwin, inspired in part by his observations in the Galapagos, proposed the theory of evolution. Darwin’s ideas led the way to a revolution in biology; it would not be an exaggeration to say all modern biology draws directly from evolutionary principles. In this class, we will first discuss Darwin’s major ideas, beginning with some background on his life and the intellectual development of the theory of evolution. We will then spend the rest of the course evaluating Darwin’s ideas—where Darwin got it right, where Darwin got it wrong, and everything in between. This portion of the class will focus on examples from the biology literature since Darwin’s time. Students will place themselves in the shoes of biologists from different eras, learn how hypotheses and testable predictions are made, and learn how to interpret the scientific literature. This class is highly conceptual and students will need to master “evolutionary thinking”, which includes tree thinking and an understanding of variation, adaptation, and the importance of randomness.

Various funding opportunities exist for this provider. Please note the terms eligible listed for each:

  • Carolina Global Study Award: The Carolina Global Study Award is a financial award of $500-$2000, partially funded by USC's Global Partners American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) and WorldStrides, to be used to help fund a study abroad experience for students committed to optimizing their cultural immersion .
  • Beyond Boundaries Award: The Beyond Boundaries Award is a financial award of $500-$3000, partially funded by Global Partner American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS) and WorldStrides, to be used to help fund a study abroad abroad experience for students with demonstrated high financial need.   USC students who qualify for the Pell Grant are eligible to compete for this award. The number of awards available varies from year to year.

Per university policy, all USC students will be charged emergency medical, evacuation and repatriation insurance for their time abroad. 


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