Fifteen students took part in Kwantlen Polytechnic University first field study in Colombia.

Adventures in the Amazon

Fifteen Kwantlen student explorers return from the rain forest

They took their curriculum to the world’s largest rainforest, and are bringing perspective back with them to the classroom.

After two weeks exploring Bogota and the Amazon jungle, 15 Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) students have returned home and are heading to classes to debrief the university’s first Colombian field school.

“The field study was an ambitious endeavor to give students a transformative experience,” says Kim Paris, a fourth-year student majoring in psychology and minoring in sociology.

“This adventure to Colombia is something that I will never forget. When I started at Kwantlen I had a goal to further educate myself. I never thought that my time at university would also lead to such an amazing experience as this.”

Students left for South America June 7 to study the country’s culture, history and philosophy as part of an Interdisciplinary Expressive Arts (IDEA) course run by KPU instructors Ross Laird and Lucie Gagne.

In addition to travel, the group mingled with local artisans, visited the National University and its Amazonian Studies program, toured a monkey rescue centre, journeyed into the jungle with a shaman, explored parks, reserves, rivers and shorelines, and learned about the Calanoa Project, which champions sustainability and conservation in the Amazon region.

“Internationalization of curriculum prepares learners for an increasingly interdependent and interdisciplinary world, facilitates their understanding of other cultures, and fosters effective living in the global community,” says Laird.

For more information about the Amazon Field School and other field school opportunities, contact the Office of International Students and Scholars at or visit

More information about the Calanoa Project can be found at

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