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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."

Eric Sargent ’15

On the Galapagos Islands, I saw the “struggle between trying to preserve nature and trying to stay alive.”

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