Friday, October 31, 2008

Study Abroad in an Ecovillage

Living Routes
Study Abroad in Ecovillages
UMass Amherst-accredited Semester, January, Summer, and Year Abroad programs in Sustainable Communities

Dear Adam,

We recently received an application from one of your study abroad with Living Routes on our India program.

My name is Gregg Orifici, Admissions Director at Living Routes. I would like to introduce myself and tell you about our unique interdisciplinary academic programs.

As you may know, Living Routes offers accredited study programs (January, Summer, Semester and Year Abroad) in Ecovillages in India, Australia, Peru, Scotland, Senegal, Brazil, Mexico, Israel and the U.S. (see program description and links below). All Living Routes programs contain an integrated Service Learning component. Students from over 200 colleges and universities throughout North America have studied abroad with LIving Routes and all receive academic credit from UMass Amherst, which is widely transferable. To read about what students learn and experience day-to-day on one of our programs, visit our student weblogs at

Ecovillages make ideal "campuses" for learning because they are unique communities where the theory and practical applications of ecological sustainability and social justice meet. In Ecovillages around the world, people are creating and modeling sustainable lifestyles in harmony with their local environments - restoring ecosystems and habitat, developing participatory models of governance, growing healthful organic food, building "green" homes, working for justice and social change, and utilizing renewable resources such as wind and solar energy.

I can put a packet of information in the mail to you, Adam, if you would find this helpful in your advising students. If you would like this, please let me know.

I look forward to talking with you and answering any questions you may have.

Best regards,


Gregg Orifici
Director of Admissions
Living Routes - Study Abroad in Ecovillages Worldwide
79 S. Pleasant Street, #A5, Amherst, MA 01002
(888) 515-7333 or (413) 259-0025

Semester Programs

Human Challenge of Sustainability at Findhorn

Examine the skills, creativity and understanding that are vital to community living at Findhorn -- a human-scale Ecovillage on the dramatic north coast of Scotland renowned for its environmental consciousness, personal and spiritual growth, artistry, education, and global responsibility. Learn about the integration of human ecology and natural systems as you gain valuable field experience in areas including sustainable food systems, creative expression and group facilitation.

Course Topics: Worldviews and Consciousness, Theory and Practice of Group Dynamics & Conflict Facilitation, Fine Art in Community, and Applied Sustainability: Ecovillage Living

Field Study: Explore Celtic culture, spend a week on extraordinary Erraid Island with a small farming community, and help regenerate the Caledonian forest or other meaningful service learning

Supervised Internship: Become a part of community life by working in organic gardens, preparing wholesome meals, or another area of interest

Credit: Earn 16 transferable credits through University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Sustainable Community Development

Study abroad in Senegal and engage with ecovillagers and indigenous peoples on topics of sustainable development and ecotourism. Partner with Senegalese university students and travel to West African villages to pursue service learning projects protecting natural resources, creating livelihoods, improving education and health, and celebrating cultural diversity. Live with welcoming Senegalese families as you practice your French or Wolof. Course are offered in French or English.

Course Topics: Community-Based Ecotourism; Sustainable Development in Senegal: Theory and Practice; Community Service Learning in Developing Countries; Conversational French and West African Literature or Introductory Wolof and Senegalese Culture

Field Study: Visit pre-industrial communities and participate in traditional agriculture and food preparation. Enjoy tropical beaches. Learn to play the diembe drums, or to dance the royal Diagalde, and the Ndawrabin, ocean dance of the Lebou fishing villages. Visit Goree Island, last stop for the slave trade on the voyage to the Americas and stand in the door of no return of the Slave House Museum

Supervised Internship: Design a practicum in environmental protection, organic agriculture, micro-credit, K-12 education, nutrition, reproductive health, or other topic of interest

Credit: Earn 16 transferable credits through University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Sustainability in Practice at Auroville

Build ecological skills and learn about Indian and community culture at Auroville - "the city the earth needs" and one of the world's largest and most diverse Ecovillages. Study and build field experience in habitat protection, systems thinking, and ecological literacy as you design and complete an internship in sustainable development. Spend 3 weeks in Hampi, an Island ecologic preserve in the Tungabhadra River, site of 4 billion year-old exposed earth, caves and lakes. Discover the jungle ruins of Millennia-old Hindu empires and do a 40-hour sacred solo quest to reflect on learnings.

Course Topics: Applications and Practices of Sustainable Living, Global and Local Sustainability, Cooperative Processes and Learning Communities, Body, Mind, Spirit: Cultivating Personal Sustainability

Field Study: Visit cultural and ecological sites including Periyar Sanctuary and overnight at Sri Ramanamaharshi's Ashram and climb Arunchula Mountain, locally believed to be the body of Hindu God Shiva

Supervised Internship: Design a practicum in organic agriculture, renewable energy systems, reforestation, ecological literacy, women's empowerment or another topic of interest

Credit: Earn 16 transferable credits through University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Peace, Justice, and the Environment at Kibbutz Lotan (Fall only)

Explore the connections between new forms of ecological identity and stewardship, social justice and community in Israel. Work alongside Palestinian-Arab, Bedouin and Jewish Israelis who are striving for a just and lasting peace. Gain hands-on experience in ecological design, green building and sustainable agriculture and put permaculture into action in a Bedouin village.

Course Topics: Peacebuilding and Social Justice, Theory and Practice of Group Dynamics, Permaculture Design, Sustainable Technologies and Structures

Field Study: Live and work in Lotan, a green kibbutz, and Naveh Shalom Wahat al Salam, a bi-national Jewish and Palestinian Arab Israeli community. Visit Jewish, Arab and Bedouin towns, meet with government, industry and community leaders and gain a broad perspective of efforts to heal the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Float in the Dead Sea and experience Jerusalem.

Supervised Internship: Gain skills in organic farming, adobe and straw bale construction, participate in Peace Dialogues between the different populations of Israel and learn how to design sustainable human settlements.

Credit: Earn 16 transferable credits through University of Massachusetts - Amherst

January Programs

Low-Carbon Living at Sadhana Forest January Term (3 weeks)

Learn what it is like to live well and more lightly on the earth at sustainable Sadhana Forest, India. Dedicated to veganism, appropriate technologies and simple living, the community's mission is to regenerate the Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest near Auroville, India. Sadhana is an ideal environment to learn to measure and reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to indigenous seed and tree planting, contour bunding, organic gardening, and compost and soil management with Effective Microorganisms (EM). Put the theory of ecological living and habitat regeneration into practice as you experience community building, one-on-one mentoring and personal development.

Course Topics: Water Conservation, Soil Erosion Control, Sustainable Forestry, Humans in the landscape, Appropriate Technologies, Systems of Sustainable Living

Field Study: Experience an ancient, sacred grove with Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest species.

Community Project: Help regenerate the endangered Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest

Credit: Earn 4 transferable credits through the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Leadership for Social Change January-term (3 weeks)

Study abroad in Mexico and learn the skills needed to bring a group together around a common vision and effect positive change. Working with "usos y costumbres" (traditional ways of doing things), students design and complete a community service project that will benefit nearby communities. Located in the volcano belt of central Mexico, Huehuecoyotl was founded over 20 years ago by an international group of artists and musicians, activists and ecologists.

Course Topics: Introduction to Consensus, Basic Facilitation Skills, Participatory Democracy in the context of Mexico's Political and Social History, Spanish Language (optional)

Field Study: Visit sites dating from the Aztec empire, the Spanish conquest, the Mexican Revolution and the contemporary struggle against globalization

Community Project: Design and implement a project either in Huehuecoyotl, the adjacent national forest or neighboring village

Credit: Earn 4 transferable credits through the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Fair Trade & Bio-cultural Regeneration in the High Amazon January term (3 weeks)

Journey to Peru's Andean-Amazon region to learn firsthand about empowerment efforts to restore the environment and create right livelihoods for indigenous and mestizo farmers that are also good for the earth while regenerating ancestral practices. Students contribute to local communities through service learning with Oro Verde, a successful organic fair traded coffee producing cooperative which promotes agricultural biodiversity, environmental responsibility, sustainability and cultural regeneration.

Course topics: Indigenous Culture and Agriculture, Shamanism, Community Building
and Cooperative Management, Fair Trade Organic Coffee Production and Distribution,
Biodiversity Regeneration and Reforestation Efforts, Spanish and Quechua (optional)

Service Learning: Help in Reforestation efforts and coffee production and return to the US with opportunities to further your internship with Dean's Beans Organic Coffee and other roasters

Field Study: Visit sites of cultural and ecological importance, such as the sacred Awashiyacu
Waterfalls and the Takiwasi center for the shamanistic treatment of addiction.

Credit: Earn 4 transferable credits through the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Sustainable Development in Ecovillages January term (3 weeks)

Explore the impact of global trends and micro-credit development policies on the grassroots level at EcoYoff, a 600-year old fishing village in Dakar and a leader in sustainable community development. Build basic skills in French and Wolof as you study the complex relationship between humans, development needs, and the environment. Partner with Senegalese university students and visit ancient and modern Ecovillages, from a seaside national preserve to the ancient capital of the Cayor Kingdom. You pursue research on a topic of interest as you enter into dialogue with villagers and participate in their daily activities.

Course topics: Microcredit Sustainable Development; Economy and Food Security; Populations, Health, and Nutrition; the Environment, Infrastructure and Habitat; French language (optional)

Community Project: Partner with a local Senegalese university student and make a lasting contribution to local education, infrastructure or the environment

Field Study: Visit species preservation programs for chimpanzees and migratory birds

Credit: Earn 4 transferable credits through the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Summer Programs

Permaculture at Crystal Waters Summer (3 weeks)

Investigate new ways of creating sustainable human habitats at Crystal Waters - an award-winning grassroots ecological institute and wildlife refuge in sub-tropical Australia. Learn permaculture principles as you create an environmental design integrating food production, green housing, appropriate technologies and community empowerment.

Course Topics: Reading the Landscape, Sustainable Shelter, Acquaculture and appropriate architecture, Community Development and Support systems, Building healthy soil,

Field Study: Visit Fraser Island, a World Heritage site and largest sand island in the world, home to rare flora and fauna, and tropical rainforests growing on the shifting sands...

Community Project: Create your own unique ecological design and become a Certified Permaculture Apprentice

Credit: Earn 4 transferable credits through the University of Massachusetts Amherst

Permaculture at Ecoversidade Summer term (3 weeks)

Investigate new ways of creating sustainable human habitats at Ecoversidade - a grassroots ecological institute in tropical central Brazil. Learn permaculture principles as you examine lifestyle choices and participate in community-based activities including Capoeira, a native mix of acrobatics, sacred dance, and self-defense.

Course Topics: Sustainable Shelter, Acquaculture and appropriate architecture, Community Development, Urban Renewal Strategies, and Portuguese language (optional)

Field Study: Visit the Cerrado Forest, a World Heritage Biosphere home to rare flora and fauna, enjoy local waterfalls, option to attend Bioconstruindo, a renowned natural building course

Community Project: Create your own unique ecological design and become a Certified Permaculture Apprentice

Credit: Earn 4 transferable credits through the University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Permaculture at Sirius Summer term (3 weeks)

Learn how to integrate plants, animals, buildings, people, and communities in a design for ecological living at Sirius - an educational and spiritual Ecovillage in scenic western Massachusetts. Study the inter-relationships between personal, social, and ecological sustainability as you immerse yourself in the richness of one of North America's most dynamic ecological communities.

Course Topics: Reading the Landscape, Water in the Landscape, Building a Healthy Soil, The Cultivated Ecosystem: Urban Renewal Strategies, Community Support Systems

Field Study: Visit old-growth forests, community-supported agricultural projects, eco-homesteads

Community Project: Create an ecological design and become a Certified Permaculture Apprentice

Credit: Earn 4 transferable credits through the University of Massachusetts, Amherst


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