An ICA to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands helped Eric Sargent '15 gain insight into the multifaceted tensions that exist between the global community and the local island communities: the "struggle between trying to preserve nature and trying to stay alive."
The 13-day trip was an eye-opening and unique opportunity to experience day-to-day-life on the Galapagos Islands. Sargent and the other students stayed with host-families and observed the interactions between society and nature on one of the world's most precious hotspots of biodiversity. They observed the dark-side of ecotourism, and gleaned a more complex understanding of the difficulties of sustainability on an island dependent on the mainland and a tourist economy.
"You think of the Galapagos as this natural park," says Sargent. "That's how it's portrayed internationally, but the islands actually have an really interesting, unique cultural history."