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Education Abroad Office

Global UofSC in the Galapagos

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

Students participating in the Global UofSC in the Galápagos: Sustainability program are accompanied by a UofSC staff member, and courses are instructed by UofSC 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: UofSC 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: 2023 Cost $5400

Dates:  May 7-27, 2023

 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:

  • UofSC tuition (paid directly to UofSC 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
  • UofSC Travel Insurance fee of $35.36
  • Dive fee (if applicable) 

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

SPAN398/LING 305 (Taught in English): Spanish Language in Society (D. Eric Holt)  Students will be introduced to basic concepts of the fields of sociolinguistics (language in society) and pragmatics (meaning in context), and will learn to apply them to the Spanish language.  Class discussions and readings will revolve around the following topics (subject to change, depending on students’ interests):  forms of address (formal/informal), pragmatics and politeness, language and nationalism, Spanish as a national language, language policy, language contact, language attitudes and ideology, bilingualism, and non-binary/gender-inclusive language, among others. Modern-day literary pieces, pop culture elements in Spanish and different media such as films, advertisement clips, music, music videos, and comic strips will be used throughout the course to illustrate the various phenomena. Some of the questions that will be answered through readings and in-class discussions will be: Why is it so important to know when to use “usted” and when to use “tú” in Spanish? What happens when Spanish is in contact with a more dominant language, as English in the US? What happens to Spanish when it is spoken in a country that has other less dominant languages (e.g., Quichua in Ecuador)? What are the attitudes toward Spanish in countries where it is only one of two or several official languages? How is gender inclusivity expressed in varieties of Spanish? Applies to the LLC-BA (Spanish concentration), SPAN minor/cognate, LING minor/cognate. Acceptable for Social Science or Fine Arts or Humanities credit in degree programs in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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.

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. This course is currently full! Please contact Kelly Anastes at to join the waitlist.

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.

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

  • Carolina Global Study Award: All UofSC students participating in semester, academic year, or summer programs are eligible to compete for this award. The number of awards available varies from year to year. The goal of this award is to help provide a study abroad experience for students with financial need. 
  • Passport Travel Grant: The Passport Travel Grant is a financial award of up to $2000 to be used to help fund a Maymester or summer study abroad experience for Capstone, Honors, and Top Scholar students. 

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


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