UMD: A Globally Connected University

UMD-Summer: Brazil: Conservation and Indigenous Peoples - Ethnographic Methods (ANTH/CPSP/LASC)

Aukre, Brazil
Maraba, Brazil
Tucumã, Brazil
Terms offered: 
Program Type: 
Credit Type: 
Minimum GPA: 
Non-UMD Students Eligible to Apply: 
Graduate Students Eligible to Apply: 
Language of Instruction: 

Face paint (attr Ali Ballantyne)

Join us this summer in the Kayapó Indigenous Territories in Pará, Brazil for a special opportunity to observe and study current and future obstacles and opportunities for sustainable Amazonian futures. Students begin the course in the city of Marabá, and then travel by private bus through the Amazon ‘arc of deforestation’ to the town of Tucumã. Along the way, students witness the processes of deforestation, road-building, and urbanization that grip the Amazon and challenge the Kayapó as they work to protect their lands and culture.  In Tucumã, students meet with representatives from the local Kayapo NGO “The Protected Forest Association” to discuss the partnerships, strategies and initiatives the Kayapó use to monitor and protect their lands. From Tucumã, the group flies via air taxi to the Kayapo village of A’Ukre. 

For most of the program, you will be in the Kayapó village of A’Ukre exploring the role of indigenous peoples in conservation and development in a highly threatened Amazonian environment by:

  • Participating, observing and working with the Kayapo, an Amazonian indigenous group, in one of their villages (A’Ukre) to learn about Kayapo culture, activities and traditions.
  • Living and studying at the Pinkaiti biological station to learn about tropical forest ecology through forest walks and other activities.
  • Observing and participating in collaborations between the village of A’ukre and a network of local, national and international NGOs, government agencies and universities.

The course is taught by an interdisciplinary team of Kayapó, North American and Brazilian instructors. 

You must be in good academic and judicial standing to participate in this program. The minimum GPA for this program is listed above.

UMD and Non-UMD undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to participate in this program.

This is an intense 3 week, 6-credit ethnographic field methods course that combines anthropological approaches to indigenous rights, development and conservation with perspectives from tropical forest ecology. Readings and course material will include samples from conservation biology, cultural anthropology, sustainability science, international development and other academic disciplines. The course meets general education requirements for scholarship in practice and cultural competence. 3 credits of this course can count toward the Enrichment requirement for ECEV majors.

After you commit to the program, Education Abroad will enroll you in one of the following six (6) credit UMD courses:

  • ANTH498C:  Advanced Field Training in Ethnography: Brazil: Environmental Conservation and Indigenous Peoples (6 credits). This course is approved for Cultural Competence and Scholarship in Practice in General Education credits.
  • ANTH238B or AMST269B: Topics in Study Abroad II: Lived Existence: Perspective in Native American Identity (6 credits)
  • ANTH698C: Advanced Field Training in Ethnology: Brazil: Ethnographic Fieldwork (6 credits)
  • LASC448F: Special Topics in Latin American Studies: Brazilian Ethnography (3 credits) & LASC448G Special Topics in Latin American Studies: Environmental Conservation and Indigenous Peoples (3 credits)
  • CPSP379T:  Special Topics: Science and Technology Studies-Conservation of Indigenous People

The courses your complete during this program will count as resident credit.

In Marabá and Tucumã, participants stay in hotels.  In the Kayapó Indigenous Territories, participants camp at the edge of A’Ukre village or Pinkaiti research station. At both Pinkaiti research station and A’Ukre village, students sleep in tents or hammocks in sheltered structures designed for visitors to the community.  All meals are provided, but sudent should expect sleeping, showering and bathroom facilities comparable to those found in any wilderness camping experience.

Costs listed are for summer 2018.

Application Fee $50
Billable Costs
Billable costs are charged to your student account. They are due based on the Office of Student Financial Services and Cashiering payment schedule. Be sure to check your statements when they are available.
Education Abroad Fee $500
This fee is charged to your account when the application status changes from "Accepted" to "Committed." This fee includes Education Abroad services including registration, billing, advising, risk management, and pre-departure orientation.
International Health Insurance $37
Tuition $3,158
This fee is charged to your UMD account upon course registration. This fee includes: Tuition, in-country transportation, course related activities, group meals, and teaching services.
Housing Fee $800
This fee represents the housing provided during the program.
Out-of-pocket Costs
Meals (estimate) $50
Visa $160
Passport $140
Roundtrip Airfare (estimate) $1,500
Optional Activities/incidental expenses $150
Optional trip cancelation/interruption Insurance (estimate) $180

Please refer to the following resources for more information on funding study abroad

PLEASE NOTE: All University of Maryland study abroad programs are financially self-supporting and, therefore, subject to cancelation due to low enrollment.

Matthew Aruch is the Program Director and Assistant Director of the College Park Scholars Science, Science Technology and Society program and PhD candidate in International Education Policy. Matthew has been working with groups of UMD students in Brazil since the summer of 2014. In addition to the Brazil summer program, he teaches a winter program to Ecuador and has spent more than a decade teaching, learning and working with communities throughout North, Central and South America.

Emily Colon co-directs the Kayapó study abroad program. Emily is a PhD student in UMD's Anthropology Department.  As former participant on the program, Emily has worked with the Kayapó since 2014. 

For course, itinerary or in-country information, please contact the Program Director. For general questions or assistance with applying, contact EA Short-term Programs

As a part of this program, you will engage in the following:

  • Participation and observation of Kayapó life and culture in the village of A’Ukre.  Students will Activities include, but are not limited to bead-work, body painting, agricultural activities, fishing, sport, and village ceremonies.
  • Forest walks and discussions at the Pinkaiti Research Station observing and learning about the use of plants and animals by the Kayapó, the impact of logging practices on the Amazon forest, and Amazon forest conservation.
  • Participation in and discussion of ongoing partnership activities within the indigenous area including sustainable development projects. 
  • Talks with Kayapó, Brazilian and North American experts in anthropology, biodiversity, forest ecology and international development. 
Term Year Application Deadline Admission Notification Program Start Program End
Summerterm 2018 03/15/2018 03/11/2018 07/15/2018 08/05/2018