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DESN 3000 Interdisciplinary Amazon Field School

Amazon Photo

Calanoa Video Link

Check out a video of  the
KPU Amazon Field School

Our next scheduled Amazon Field School is anticipated to run in April/May 2018. If you have any questions, please contact Joseph Watson-MacKay - KPU International (

Travel to the Amazon Rainforest of Colombia and experience first hand the Calanoa Natural Reserve located on the banks of the Amazon River. Participate in a multitude of interdisciplinary and cultural experiences, and bring to your studies a renewed depth, purpose, and global awareness.

Explore local materials and design. Meet with local crafts and arts masters. Meet with a Shaman and understand a glimpse of his vision of the world. Search for river dolphins by the Peruvian shore. Hike through the forest of the Amayacu National Park and boat down the Amazon river.

Read the testimonials of previous participants, view the gallery to see examples of the landscape, people, and ecology of this amazing region, and see an example itinerary for the kinds of activities we will do.

A Purposeful Journey

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. Learners who travel acquire knowledge and skills useful in the global community, increase their access to learning and employment opportunities, and promote international projects, institutional linkages, and community development.

The Interdisciplinary Amazon Field School offers students the opportunity to travel to the Amazon Rainforest of Colombia and engage in an intensive cross-disciplinary field study for a period of two weeks. As part of the field school experience, students engage in creative, cultural and immersion activities; and contextualize their field learning by classroom-based analysis and critical reflection before and after their field experiences.

Students develop interdisciplinary skills in creativity, academic inquiry, ecology and conservation, cultural awareness, environmental design, and community development. They become familiar with various expressive modalities of the Amazon region such as writing, music, movement, fine arts, materiality, theatre, storytelling, etc. and explore the application of those modalities in an integrative learning environment.

Sustainability and Ecology

The field study site, Calanoa Natural Reserve, is a private natural reserve located on the banks of the Amazon River. The Calanoa Project is an initiative of Diego Samper and Marlene Escobar which aims to contribute to the conservation of biological and cultural diversity in the Amazon region by providing a setting that integrates art, design, architecture, scientific research, and community education through residencies, workshops, encounters, and international meetings.

Calanoa Natural ReserveThe Calanoa Project has initiated long-term community development projects with six Indigenous villages that share their traditional territory with the Amacayacu National Park in the Colombian Amazon. These projects, which are interdisciplinary by nature, are focused on issues such as education and cultural memory, identity and arts revival, community health, materiality, traditional uses of medicinal plants, food security and alternative ways of sustainable use of diversity, and innovative design solutions for sustainable livelihoods.


This exceptional field study opportunity is offered by KPU's School of Design. Students enroll in a six-credit course, DESN 3000 Interdisciplinary Amazon Field School.

During the two-week international field school experience, students visit many ecological, cultural, and historic sites, and places of academic interest, including research centers and educational institutions. Presentations by local instructors and experts in the host country complement lectures by the instructors. The Calanoa Natural Reserve is at the very heart of the Amazon; several guided walks provide students the opportunity to experience the Amazon rainforest.

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Registration and Costs

The base fee is approximately $2975 plus airfare to Colombia and registration in DESN 3000. 

To find out more about the Amazon Field School, please visit us at one of our information sessions (announcements coming in October 2017) and see the main field school pag here

The field school is not limited to current Kwantlen students. Anyone may apply. (Please note some prerequisite post-secondary learning is required.)

For more information, please contact Joseph Watson-MacKay - KPU International (