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Conexiones Ecuador 2018

MAY 24 - JUNE 23, 2018

Conexiones Ecuador Mountain Top Group Photo

The University of New Mexico, through the Honors College and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, presents Conexiones—an intensive program of Culture and Language study at UNM and at the field site of Cuenca, Ecuador. Conexiones offers students up to ten semester hours of credit, with several orientation sessions at UNM and approximately thirty days of field session.

Conexiones offers students an extraordinary and unique experience. Ecuador is a country rich in diversity. It has the greatest biodiversity per area in the world: it occupies the first place in the world regarding species per area. In addition, the geographical diversity includes coastal lowlands, the highland Andes, and the Amazon rainforest, as well as the Galapagos Islands. Ecuador is also home to a rich variety of ethnic groups of indigenous populations, which speak 18 different languages among them. Don’t worry, however: we will focus on Spanish!

The field session will start with arrival in the capitol city of Quito, where we will stay overnight before continuing the next morning on to our field site in the colonial city of Cuenca nestled among mountains at 8400 feet.

Students will live with a host family in Cuenca for four weeks. They will attend Spanish classes at the Universidad de Cuenca’s Programa de Español para Extranjeros, which is located in the heart of the city. All the families live within walking distance of the university. Weekly excursions are part of the program, including a hike along the Inca Trail, visits to indigenous communities, field study in Saraguro village with a stay at an ecolodge, and more.


Conexiones is an intensive Spanish language and culture study abroad program. Conexiones began in 1982 and has since become a premier language study program. In 2013 Conexiones was awarded the“Provost’s Special Program Award for International Excellence.”  



Conexiones immerses students in the living, breathing reality of Ecuadorian society. The key to the Conexiones approach is integration. Conexiones fuses language study with cultural exploration. Intellectual, linguistic, and personal growth are seen as a unified process. The program is designed to expedite that process. The program is open to all applicants. Prior participation in the Honors College is not required. A unique feature of Conexiones is the support groups, which emphasize personal growth and help students to understand culture shock as a positive (if sometimes uncomfortable) growth experience.


Applicants must have finished two semesters of College Spanish or the equivalent. Applicants should have a minimum of 3.2 GPA; however, students with a lower GPA may apply since all applications will be considered individually and exceptions may be made. Students with “Degree Status” and “Non-degree Status” may apply. Once students are accepted into the program, they will be required to complete some written assignments based on readings. Deadlines will be communicated to the students when they are accepted into the program.


Applying to Conexiones is easy! The application is a .pdf document which you can save to your computer or flash drive and print once completed. 

Early Application Deadline: Friday, February 16, 2018. The early application deadline guarantees a place in the program and, if students are accepted, they will have time to apply for the Regents’ International Study Grant (See Financial Aid)

Regular Application Deadline: Friday, March 16, 2018


In addition to the application process through the Honors College, students will need to register with the Global Education Office and follow their procedures for providing the necessary documentation (copies of passports, health insurance, etc). Click here to visit the GEO website and familiarize yourself with those requirements.

Once completed, applications should be returned to:

Conexiones: Ecuador
Attn: Margo Chávez-Charles
UNM Honors College
MSC06 3890 1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

You can also hand-deliver your application to the UNM Honors College which is located on the ground floor of the Student Health Center (Building 73, Room 21). 


Coming soon


Honors Travel Stipend
Honors students are eligible to apply for the Honors Travel Stipend. A hard copy of your completed application must be submitted in-person to the Honors College front office.

UNM Regents' International Study Grant

The UNM Board of Regents does provide international study grants in an effort to increase the number of UNM students participating in credit-granting international programs, and to heighten international awareness and expertise among students and the public.  APPLY FOR THE REGENTS GRANT NOW.

You are eligible to apply if you are:

  • a degree-seeking undergraduate UNM student,
  • in good academic standing at UNM,
  • planning to participate in an approved UNM study abroad program,
  • able to receive UNM credits or transfer credits for the international program, and
  • demonstrate financial need.

The deadline for the Regents' Grant is March 15 for spring break, summer and fall programs. Students who plan to apply for this grant for Conexiones must meet the February 16 deadline.

Travel Info

Coming soon.

Important Travel Dates

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Tickets, Passports, and More

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Passports and Insurance

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Marygold Walsh-Dilley

Marygold Walsh-Dilley

Marygold Walsh-Dilley is Director of CONEXIONES-Ecuador 2018. Holding a PhD in Development Sociology, Marygold is Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences in the Honors College at UNM. She has over 15 years experience conducting research and living in the Andes, including in Ecuador where she was a co-leader for CONEXIONES-Ecuador 2016. Her research focuses on rural and agricultural development, food systems, and indigenous politics in the Andean region. In the Honors College, she teaches courses on Food & Society, Andean Studies, and Indigenous Peoples and Globalization. 

Margo Chavez-Charles

Margo Chavez-Charles

CONEXIONES Coordinator and co-leader Margo Chavez-Charles has vast experience working with the Conexiones Program since 1987. She has served as the Director or co-director in the various Conexiones Programs in Mexico, Spain, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. She is an adjunct instructor in the Honors College, teaching interdisciplinary classes. She has also taught Spanish in Santa Fe and ESL in various countries.

Santiago Vaquera-Vasquez

Santiago Vaquera-Vásquez

Co-leader and Spanish coordinator of Spanish instruction, Santiago Vaquera-Vásquez is an Associate Professor of Hispanic Southwest Literatures and Cultures and Creative Writing in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at UNM. He was a former co-director of Conexiones-Ecuador in 2014, and has over the last twenty years directed study abroad programs to Latin America and Spain. As a Fulbright scholar, he has taught in Spain and Turkey. He has three collections of short stories and a chapbook, and his most recent book is a co-edited anthology of scholarly work on Latinos/as in the Midwest. His research focus is on Chicano/a cultural production, Mexico/US borderlands, and communities in contact. He teaches courses on Chicana/o Popular Culture and Borderlands in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.



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