Wayne State College

Study Abroad in Ecuador

Program Details

Next Scheduled Trip: June 11-25, 2020
Credits Earned: 6

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Students will first fly into Quito and spend a few days in this metropolitan city that dates back to around 980 AD. Here they will be introduced to the rich history of the city and begin their cultural immersion. Students will then spend several days in the northern village of San Clemente with the Andean people. The students will serve at the school and meet with the leaders and families in the area leaning about their rich history as Pre-Inca people and their close relationships with the regional volcanic geography.  They will then drive south and, after a brief stop at the equator, will take a small plane into the rain forest and spend time at Sharamentsa with the Achuar tribe. Sharamentsa has created a community organization that receives small groups of visitors like ours so that we can learn their way of life.  After flying out of the rain forest students will have time for some recreational activites in Banos before they fly back from Quito to Omaha.

The Program

The class will begin in January with readings. The students will spend two weeks in Ecuador, and then complete the class with some final papers upon return. The entire class will equate to 6 hours of college credit and will include a service-learning component. 

Students immerse themselves in the Achuar tribe in the Sharamentsa community and leave Ecuador with new cultural perspectives that will help them appreciate the diversity in our world. The visit with the Achuar will include hikes in the jungle, service-learning projects with the school, community projects with the Achuar, and several fun activities such as playing soccer and volleyball. They will learn about the traditional relationship the Achuar have with the rainforest and participate in some of their traditional customs. The ecological diversity experienced in the rain forest and jungles of Ecuador will provide invaluable knowledge for many majors at WSC. For example, there are 46 separate ecosystems in Ecuador, which makes it a unique country to visit for biologists.

The trip will be led by Dean Jacobs, a 1986 graduate of Wayne State and professional tour guide. Jacobs has traversed across the globe exploring more than 50 countries. He was born in Wahoo, Neb., and spent his early years living on a farm. When he was five, his family moved to Fremont, Neb. He graduated from Wayne State College earning a degree in biology, with minors in Earth science and art. After graduating, he worked in the administration of Wayne State College as the assistant to the president before moving on to Purina Mills. Eventually this path led him to Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, where he was employed in sales and marketing for 10 years. After a great deal of soul searching, he left the security of corporate America and decided to pursue other dreams. This was the beginning of a process that would lead to a traveling adventure that would initially span 22 1/2 months and cover 28 countries. 

Courses of Study

All students will receive 6 credit hours through Wayne State College. Students may apply the credits to their programs of study as approved by their college through transfer of credit. 

The Wayne State College Service-Learning trip to Ecuador is designed to meet General Studies objectives. Students will learn about the history, biology, geography, and culture of Ecuador beginning with online and on-campus learning and continuing with immersion in Ecuadorian experiences and diversity.


The group will be accompanied by a faculty member from Wayne State College. Faculty will be responsible for the academic component (supervising local instruction, grading, instructing, etc.) and is contracting with Trek Ecuador for the logistics of the program (transportation, classrooms, housing, field trips, etc.).


The trip to Ecuador will also include a service-learning project.