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Program Information:

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Location Quito, Ecuador
Academic Term Summer Quarter (B Term) 2018
July 23 - August 22, 2018
Estimated Program Fee $4,550
Credits 15 UW credits (12 credits summer quarter; 3 credits mandatory spring seminar)
Prerequisites None
Program Directors Michelle Habell-Pallan; Jaime Cardenas
Program Manager Ruby Machado |
Priority Application Deadline January 31, 2018
Information Sessions November, 28 at 3:30pm in Odegarrd Interactive Room 141 and January 10, 3:00 p.m., MGH 206
General This study program in Ecuador explores the historical and social context of the “buen vivir” (well-being), with a focus on sustainable culture (specifically Indigenous and Afro-descendant artistic practices and community building -- from traditional to hip hop ).

Program Description

Ecuador is one of two countries on Earth that has constitutionally redefined itself as a “plurinational state.” Responding to Indigenous and Afro-descendant social movements for justice and dignity, and propelled by gender equity activists, Ecuador has helped to re-think cultural and national identities by centering the demands of communities most vulnerable to neoliberal policies for the right to sumak kawsay (“buen vivir” or “well-being”). To do so, Ecuador’s constitution has incorporated the concept of sumak kawsay, an Indigenous perspective of well-being, or “living well” rather than “living better.” To this end, Ecuador has been at the forefront of recognizing that its patrimonio cultural inmaterial (intangible cultural patrimony), consisting of anceUNESCO), is of equal importance as its tangible heritage in the form of artifacts, statues, and sites. This intangible culture is viewed as a remedy to global commodification of culture because deep “understanding of the intangible cultural heritage of different communities helps with intercultural dialogue, and encourages mutual respect for other ways of life”(UNESCO).

Given this rich context of Ecuadorian cultural transformation and dialogue, the program will be centered around the concept of sumak kawsay. This course will explore the historical and social context of the buen vivir, with a focus on sustainable culture (specifically Indigenous and Afro-descendant artistic practices and community building -- from traditional to hip hop ). In Quito, students will explore representations of transformative Indigenous and Afro-descendant cultural identities and practices in Ecuador at large and on social media, while examining the intersectional impacts of gender and queer organizing. The program will explore if and how arts and culture support the development of dialogue and social infrastructure required to be true to a plurinational ethos.

Quito is an excellent venue for the study of culture, politics, neoliberalism, and resistance because of the the city’s history and contemporary condition. For more than 450 years, the city has been a site of: indigeneity, colonialism, and anti-colonialism; dominant gender formations and resistance to them; African resistance to enslavement and cultural resurgence; global capital and its questioning; and a vibrant and hybrid cultural politics.




Quito, Ecuador


Chota Valley; Otavalo;


The Jhomana Guesthouse was chosen because of the overall positive experience that UW students reported during summer 2017, as well as its amenities, location, and cost. Students will share rooms (between 2-4 students per room). You may find more information on their website:



Prerequisites and Language Requirements

The program will have several walking excursions in the city. The altitude of Quito is 9400 feet. Students should be in good health and be able to move across uneven terrain for moderate distances.


15 UW credits (12 credits summer quarter; 3 credits mandatory spring seminar)


HONS 213: Sumak Kawsai: Well-Being in Theory and Practice in Ecuadorian Society (5 Credits)

This course, held in Quito, Ecuador, will explore the historical and social contexts of sumak kawsai (or well-being, or, in Spanish, buen vivir), with a focus on sustainable and resistant culture (specifically, Indigenous and Afro-descendant music and community building -- from traditional practices to hip hop). As sumak kawsai has an Andean (indigenous) origin, in Quito, students will explore representations of transformative Indigenous and Afro-descendant cultural identities and practices in Ecuador at large, and on social media, while examining impacts of feminist and queer organizing upon them. The course will explore if, and how, performing arts and culture support the development of dialogue and social infrastructure required to exist in a state of sumak kawsai.

HONS 384 (Jointing listing with GWSS 384): Indigenous, Afro-descendant, and Feminist/Queer Cultures in Plurinational Ecuador (5 Credits)

The course will explore if and how arts and culture support the concept of “buen vivir” within a plurinational context. This course will explore: gender formations and sexualities in contemporary Ecuador; indigeneity, colonialism, and anti-colonialism; African-origin resistance to enslavement and its cultural resurgence; and, globalization, and the questioning of it, in Quito. The city is an excellent venue for the study of culture, politics, neoliberalism, and transformation because of the city’s history and contemporary condition. As an anchor, we will inquire into the idea of a “plurinational” society as a gendered notion. As such, there are a wide array of Indigenous, feminist, queer, and Afro-descendant organizations in the city, such as: Wambra Radio; Fundación de Estudios, Acción y Participación Social; Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Campesinas, Indígenas y Negras; Centro Cultural Afroecuatoriano; Mesa LGBTQI Quito; Femrock Ecuador; and many others.

HONS 384: Serving and Learning in Ecuador (3 Credits)

One of the main ways that students will learn is through service-learning. Of course, service-learning will allow students to link the theoretical with the practical. But more importantly, students will be given the wonderful opportunity to learn while they serve low-income communities (disproportionately Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian) in Quito. Through community partnerships, UW students will learn from the people they will serve in, for example, after-school programs for children living in dire poverty, or economic empowerment initiatives for homeless victims of domestic violence. While serving and learning, our students will focus on: reinforcing and expanding Indigenous women's and Afroecuadorians' economic and cultural rights; gender equity work; lgbtq (human) rights; and other relevant social relations that are embedded in Ecuadorian society. In the end, UW students will consider (through assignments and discussions) the tremendous advantages they have when compared to low-income Ecuadorians, and what that signifies intellectually and socially to them as creators of knowledge. The final project will entail the creation or expansion of a digital presence for the organization in order to make it more accessible and visible to other Ecuadorians and beyond. Additionally, students will also be able opt to do oral histories that will be preserved by the UW Libraries' Women Who Rock Oral History Archive, with a special focus on gender, resistance, and the arts in Ecuador.

HONS 384: Spring Prep Seminar (3 Credits)

The program will include a 2-credit preparatory seminar, spring quarter 2018, which will engage students and faculty in collaboration on campus and through a digital platform (Canvas). These highly focused seminar meetings (once/week throughout spring quarter) and their digital platform will introduce the students to the course’s structure and topics, as well as Ecuadorian society. At the end of the course, students will be able to: identify the major cultural, political, and economic changes in northwestern South America during the last three decades; and, identify the major origins and developments of social movements in northwestern South America during the last three decades.



Michelle Habell-Pallan, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies

Michelle Habell-Pallan, Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, is currently Associate Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Washington, Seattle. She has experience working with international graduate and undergraduate students from Latin America and Asia. She is director of UW Women Who Rock Oral History Archive.

Jaime Cardenas Jr., PhD, Seattle Central College

Jaime Cardenas Jr., PhD, Seattle Central College, is currently a tenured Instructor of History at Seattle Central College, where he also holds the position of faculty advisor to the Global Studies Emphasis. He routinely teaches classes that enroll 50-80% international students, mostly from China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia.



Program Expenses

Estimated Program Fee: $4,550

Included in the program fee:

  • $450 Study Abroad Fee
  • Instruction
  • Housing
  • Program activities and program travel
Not included in the program fee:
  • Airfare (average price subject to when and where your buy your ticket - $1,700)
  • Food (about $40/day)
  • UW Student Abroad Insurance ($1.74/day)
  • Other health expenses/immunizations
  • Personal spending money

Payment Due Date: July 6, 2018

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Financial Aid

  • A large percentage of UW students utilize financial aid to study abroad. Most types of financial aid can be applied to study abroad fees.
  • You can submit a revision request to increase the amount of aid for the quarter you are studying abroad. These additional funds are usually awarded in the form of loans.  To apply, fill out a revision request form, attach the budget sheet (available via the link at the top of this brochure) and submit these documents to the Office of Student Financial Aid.  For more information about this process, consult the Financial Aid section of our website.
  • Consult the Financial Aid section of our website for more information on applying for financial aid, special considerations for summer and early fall programs, and budgeting and fundraising tips.


  • There are many scholarships designed to fund students studying abroad. The UW administers a study abroad scholarship program and there are national awards available as well.
  • Scholarships vary widely in their parameters. Some are need-based, some are location-based, and some are merit-based.
  • For UW Study Abroad Scholarships fill out a short questionnaire on your UW Study Abroad program application to be considered.  You must apply by the priority application deadline for the program in order to be considered for a scholarship.  Click the Overview tab to view application deadlines.
  • Consult our Scholarships page to learn about UW-based and national scholarships. The Office of Merit Scholarships, Fellowships, and Awards can help you learn about additional opportunities.

Budgeting Tools

We understand that figuring out your finances for study abroad can be complicated and we are here to help. Here are some ways to find additional support:

  • Click on the Budget Sheets link at the top of this brochure to view the estimated budget of all expenses for this program.
  • Contact the Global Opportunities Adviser at to learn more about how to pay for study abroad.
  • Attend a Financial Planning Workshop offered by UW Study Abroad – more information is on the Events page of our website.
  • Visit the Finances section of our website.



Application Process

The study abroad application includes a personal statement, three short answer questions, one recommendation from a professor or TA, and electronic signature documents related to UW policies and expectations for study abroad. Following the online application process, you may be contacted by the program director for an in-person interview. Once an admission decision has been made regarding your application, you will be notified by the study abroad system via email.


To be eligible to study abroad, you must complete the mandatory pre-departure orientation facilitated by UW Study Abroad. You must also attend program-specific orientations offered by the program director.

You must register for the UW Study Abroad orientation. You can visit the Orientation section of our website to view the current schedule and to register for an orientation session.

Orientation must be completed prior to the enrollment deadline for the quarter that you are studying abroad.


UW Study Abroad is not responsible for obtaining visas for study abroad program participants. The cost and requirements for obtaining visas vary. It is your responsibility to determine visa requirements for all countries you plan to visit while abroad including countries that you plan to visit before or after your study abroad program. This is an especially important consideration if you are planning to do more than one study abroad program. You can research visa requirements by calling the consular offices of those countries or checking the following website:

Note: If you are not a U.S. citizen, consult the embassy or consulate of the countries you will visit to learn their document requirements. You can check the following website to find contact information for the consulate of the country you will be visiting:

For non-U.S. citizens, the procedures that you will need to follow may be different than those for U.S. citizens. It is important to initiate this process as soon as possible in order to assemble documents and allow time for lengthy procedures.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, and education for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation for this program, contact Disability Resources for Students at least 8 weeks in advance of your departure date. Contact info at


$350 of the total program fee and the $450 UW Study Abroad Fee are non-refundable once a contract has been submitted. Students withdrawing from a program are responsible for paying a percentage of the program fee depending on the date of withdrawal. More details about the withdrawal policy are included in your payment contract. No part of the program fee is refundable once the program has begun. The date of withdrawal is considered the business day a withdrawal form is received by UW Study Abroad. Notice of withdrawal from the program must be made in writing by completing the following steps:

  1. Provide notice in writing to the program director that you will no longer be participating in the program.
  2. Submit a signed withdrawal form to UW Study Abroad.

Visit the Withdrawals section of our website for more information.