Learning in the Rainforest
A Woodsworth College Student's Summer Abroad Experience
Meet Logan Blair, a fifth year Woodsworth College student who spent one month in Ecuador last summer as part of U of T’s Summer Abroad program. Logan, like many university students, often finds himself learning in small classrooms, labs, or large auditoriums. But last summer, he enrolled in a Summer Abroad field course titled “Ecology and Conservation in the Andes, Amazon, and Galápagos” in Ecuador, where his classroom was the Amazonian rain forest, hiking trails leading to active volcanoes, remote research camps, and the beaches of the Galápagos islands.
Despite the lack of a conventional classroom, the course was still a valuable and challenging academic experience. When asked what he gained from participating in the program, Logan says, “I was given the opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge I had previously gained in my undergraduate ecology studies. Drawing from that and applying it in a real-world setting was a unique opportunity for me as a science student, because many of my practical applications are found in a lab.” The class consisted of a group of 25 students and two professors, with local guides often joining them to provide more insight into the local ecology and conservation efforts. The students in the course were also required to complete a research project, on top of their daily activities which included hiking and snorkeling.
When asked what the best part about participating in this program, Logan speaks of personal challenges that he faced as he completed difficult and physically demanding tasks. He says, “I look back with a great sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and personal growth, having learned more about my own limitations and how to overcome them.”
The applications for the Summer Abroad program are now open, and applications are due on February 1st. If you would like to learn more about the program and view the variety of courses and countries available, please visit the Summer Abroad website. Want to see some more photos from Logan’s time in Ecuador? Visit our Instagram page!