June 6, 2019


Study Abroad Students in Iquitos

MSU Billings students study abroad in Iquitos, Peru 

Eleven students travel to Amazon from May 18-31



University Communications and Marketing, 657-2266

MSU BILLINGS NEWS — Nine students from Montana State University Billings traveled to Peru for a two-week study abroad experience from May 18-31. They were joined by two students from Florida State University.

Summer Study Abroad Writing GroupThe course brought American students to riverine communities, forests and nature reserves in the Peruvian Amazon and provided students with opportunities to learn first-hand from indigenous and riverine community leaders about the lifeways and practices that have enriched the lives of Amazonian people for thousands of years.

Led by MSU Billings Professor of English Bernard Quentenbach, in collaboration with Juan Carlos Galeano, poet and Amazonianist from Florida State University’s (FSU) Modern Languages and Linguistics program, this MSU Billings study abroad program, “The Amazon Way,” enrolled students representing both MSUB and FSU.

The first week of the two-week experience was in Iquitos, Peru, the largest city in the Peruvian Amazon; the second week featured an excursion on the Amazon River.

Upon the group’s arrival at Iquitos, students from a variety of fields, ranging from literature and creative writing to environmental studies to political science, partnered with Allpahuayo-Mishana National Reserve, Iquitos environmental group Sembrando Vida, and students from Peruvian universities to plant native trees as part of a continuing local effort to restore an Iquitos neighborhood.

Study Abroad Study GroupDuring their travels, the class visited the facilities of Formabiap-Aidesep, the region’s leading educational center created and operated by indigenous ethnic groups. Formabiap students and visiting American students shared their hope for a sustainable future for the planet. In a lunchtime session with indigenous students from Kokama-Kukamiria, Shawi, Kichwa and Awajun nations, Montanans and Floridians admired the indigenous cosmovisions rooted in the ecological spirituality of these living traditions.

In the Amazon, Nanay and Pacaya rivers, the students learned about the sustainable ways of riverine communities; visited ecotourism projects; the Morphosapi Butterfly garden of San Rafael; the Kokama pottery initiative at Padrecocha and experienced the benefits of sustainable management by fishermen’s groups at the Allpahuayo Mishana and Pacaya Samiria National Reserves of Peru.

“The Amazon Way” course is part of five groups that were sent out from the Office of International Studies this summer at MSUB.

For more information about studying abroad, contact Abby Cook, study abroad coordinator, at 406-657-1761 or abby.cook1@msubillings.edu.