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Ecuador: Indigenous Medicine & Culture


This program will provide students with an immersive experience living in a Quichua community in the mountains of Ecuador.  The program will highlight traditional Quichua medicine and culture and also include hiking, food preparation, and engagement in a service project with the local community.


  • Learn firsthand the indigenous medicine and practices
  • Work alongside community members with local service projects
  • Visit a local hospital and clinic to compare healthcare practices
  • Gain an inside perspective into life within a Quichua village
  • Equator line 
  • Visit to Otavalo 
  • Tour of Old Quito
  • Hiking and waterfall


IH 380 This course emphasizes sustainable food sources and production, organic food, nutritional healing, and plant-based medicines.  The ecotourism homestay experience and excursions will directly allow students to apply their knowledge from this course to practical application in the Quichua community of San Clemente.

GS300 & IH350 Ecuador: language, indigenous culture, medicine and nutritional healing  (1 credit 1st 7.5 week spring session)  This course will be team taught and prepare students with the knowledge and background needed to use Spanish in the community and to understand the Quichua culture and homestay community.  Overlapping content from IH380 will also be presented for students not already enrolled in IH380 so that all students on the program will have the same foundational knowledge prior to the experience abroad.

Faculty Leaders

Dr. Joshua Burns ND, DC, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrative Health and Exercise Science at Georgian Court University.   Joshua is a Veteran of the United States Air Force where he worked on Air Traffic Control Systems.  Before GCU, Joshua worked in Florida for several Universities as an adjunct professor.  He graduated with his Doctor of Chiropractic from National University of Health Sciences in Pinellas Park, FL in 2017 and his Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from the same school in Lombard, IL in 2015. Dr. Burns completed a Naturopathic residency in Tacoma, Washington after graduation.  Joshua lived in Japan for six years and previously held a residency card in Japan.  He has travelled extensively to places such as Germany, Ireland, France, Spain, and Egypt.

Laura Grodewald, M.A., is GCU’s Director of Global Education Programs.  She has fifteen years of experience teaching Spanish and ESL to students of all ages, and most recently she was teaching and living abroad in Hong Kong for four years.  She has also taught Spanish for Social Workers and Spanish for Healthcare Workers at several NJ colleges.  Laura has designed and led 13 service trips abroad to Philippines, Malaysia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Nicaragua.  She has been to this Quichua community and is looking forward to bringing GCU students to this inspiring region.

Program Costs


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