Loyola University Chicago

Study Abroad

Peru- Spring Break

Faculty-led Spring Break Program in Peru

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‌ENVS 345: Conservation and Sustainability of Neotropic Ecosystems

Cross-listed with Biology

This advanced program is ideal for BIO and ENVS majors and minors

Program Highlights

  • Learn about Peru’s dynamic ecosystems and conservation efforts firsthand while earning three credit hours towards towards ENVS, BIOL, or Engaged Learning Core.
  • Explore the Amazon rainforest of Peru through a nine-day immersive trip, which will include hiking the Inkaterra Canopy Walkway, canoeing along the Madre de Dios River, walking the Amazon rainforest at night, observing parrots at the Cachuela clay lick, ascending 98-foot towers (30 m.) to cross hanging bridges that connect the treetops at 91 ft. high (28 m.), fishing native style for piranha, and more.
  • Transform your understanding of conservation ecology by visiting one of the most biodiverse areas in the world with LUC faculty member Fr. Stephen Mitten, S.J.

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Click to see the program flyer.

Click here to read student reflections about their time in Peru during this course.

Program Description

Embark on an expedition through the Amazon rainforest of Peru, an area rich in wildlife and indigenous culture. Conservation and Sustainability of Neotropical Ecosystems, which will meet once a week on the LUC campus during the spring semester, is coupled with a nine-day study abroad program during spring break. Students will stay at Casa ITA Biological Station, located in Madre de Dios, Peru — one of the most biodiverse areas in the world. Since its creation in 2005, Casa ITA has remained a meeting point for researchers, students, and volunteers who wish to experience nature in an intense and unique way. Casa ITA is located 180 meters above sea level, surrounded by a primary rainforest with trees measuring 35 meters high, where birds, monkeys, and other animals can be seen night and day.

This course provides a comprehensive introduction to conservation ecology as it is applied in a variety of Neotropical ecosystems by way of classroom lectures prior to a trip to Peru during spring break. While in Peru, students will gain practical experience with environmental monitoring and biological survey methods.

Program alums present their research during the Weekend of Excellence.


Click here to see the full syllabus with daily itineraries.

Course Offering:

ENVS 345 Special Topics: Conservation and Sustainability of Neotropical Ecosystems

Cross-listed with Biology


  • Biology majors/minors: BIOL 102 & 112. BIOL 265
  • Environmental Science majors/minors: ENVS 237
  • This is a field course that requires a high level of physical fitness and mental toughness to access the various ecosystems (extended hiking through rainforest, swimming, canoeing, climbing observatory towers, backpacking).

All students on the program will be enrolled in this three credit hour course. This course fulfills the following academic requirements:

  • ENVS Major/Minor Elective
  • BIOL Major/Minor Elective for ecology emphasis
  • Satisfies the University Engaged Learning requirement in the Service-Learning category

Housing & Meals

During this traveling course students will stay at the Casa ITA Biological Station.

All meals (three per day) will be included.


Click here for the tentative itinerary.

March 2-10, 2018

  • 10/15—Application Deadline
  • TBA—Mandatory Pre-departure Orientation
  • 3/2—Students Arrive in Peru—Program Start
  • 3/10—Students Arrive in Chicago—Program End

Program Costs

Estimated Program Fee of $1,200


  • Three meals per day
  • All accommodations
  • On-site transportation
  • CISI international health insurance
  • On-site program support from local staff and Loyola faculty
  • All program academic excursions and activities
  • Entrance to museums, animal sanctuaries, and national parks

Tuition Fee (Included in your spring tuition costs):

  • Three credit hours of Loyola spring term tuition (graduate students must pay the graduate tuition rate)
  • Lectures from local experts

Program Cost: $1,200

Not Included: $100 OIP non-refundable application fee, airfare, personal spending money, other meals, optional baggage and travel insurance, and incidental expenses.

Application Process

Application Deadline: October 15th, 2017

As part of the online application you must:

  1. Upload a copy of your valid passport or passport application receipt
  2. Pay by credit card a $100 non-refundable Office for International Programs (OIP) study abroad fee
  3. Since there is a limit to the number of student that can go: (students will be selected on their scientific interest and potential contribution to the project) you will be required to submit a one page reflection on why you want to take this course and what contributions you can provide the scientific team. Please submit the reflection to Fr. Stephen Mitten, S.J. at smittensj@luc.edu.

Space is limited—apply today!

Maximum Enrollment: 12 Students

For more information, contact Kelly Heath in the Office for International Programs at kheath2@luc.edu or 773.508.3307; or contact Fr. Stephen Mitten, S.J., Institute of Environmental Sustainability at smittensj@luc.edu.

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