Frequently Asked Questions

What You Need to Know

This list will be continuously populated as questions from potential participants arise

  1. I am interested in the biology/microbiology track. What kind of practical training will I be receiving?

    Within this track, students will be involved in either ecological, parasitological aspects or a combination of both. Students will receive practical training in mammalian and triatomine trapping in peridomestic and sylvatic areas, mammalian and triatomine dissection and sample collection, field sterile techniques, microscopic detection of parasites, hemaculture, triatomine taxonomy, GPS use within GIS, etc.
  2. Where will we stay during the program?

    All the program takes place in Ecuador during 3 weeks. One day in Quito, then we travel to Manabi. There we stay in a very nice coastal town for 2.5 weeks from where we commute every day to the field sites, and then two final days in Mindo.
  3. What is the chronogram of activities during the program?

    The first week consists in mainly theory and practical training both in Quito and Manabi. The following two weeks students will be working within the Chagas project. The last couple of days in the Clouded forest near Mindo are to wrap up, group project presentations, etc. (To be updated for 2010)
  4. I am not attending OU, can I still participate?

    Yes. If accepted into the program you have to fill in a non-degree application (very simple process). You have the option of obtaining OU credit which you can transfer to your school or opting for the non-credit option.
  5. What are the differences between the credit and the non-credit option?

    The non-credit option is offered to non-OU students that do not need academic credit transferred to their school. All participants receive the same training and are under the same academic obligations. The difference is on how OU processes the class registration. The non-credit option offers a flat program fee. The credit option, the fee increases with the number of credits received by the student, according to their Ohio Residency status. 
  6. What activities will I be doing while in the program?
    We try to match your academic interests with the needs of the program. Therefore the specific activities will vary. Check out the ITDI podcast series about the project. These 6 videos will give you a general idea.  Podcast series about the project .
  7. What will the typical day look like?

    This is an intensive program. Usually, wakeup time is around 6 AM. Depending on the group you assigned too, you will either have breakfast at the hotel around 6:30, and then travel  or will first travel to the community/hospital where we will be working that day and have breakfast there. Times will vary depending on the distance from the hotel to the site (typically 30 min to 1 hour). Activities will start around 8 AM. Field teams will be deployed and will pack a light snack. These teams hike to the houses or to the sylvatic sampling plots. Groups conducting work near the base camp will return for lunch at around 1 PM and will return to the field at around 1:30 PM. Groups deployed farther away usually return to base camp  for lunch at around 2 or 3 PM. All groups return from the field at around 4:30 PM. Groups working at the base camp clinic or at the house improvement site work continuously from 8 to 4:30 PM. Lunch is scheduled in 30 min shifts so the clinic operation is not disrupted. At around 5 PM all vehicles are packed and all the teams return to their hotel. Arrival is around 6 PM. Dinner takes place at or near the hotel at around 7:00 PM. Spanish Training takes place thereafter. Teams finish the day by preparing the materials necessary for the next morning. Sundays are free time. So, please believe me, this is an intensive experience that will require stamina and resilience. You will be tired, but most likely, you will be very satisfied with what the project is accomplishing. It is important that you know what you are getting into before applying.
  8. What will happen if I get sick?

    It is possible/likely that will will have some type of digestive tract discomfort.  This is due to the the change of diet and also to potential exposure to a different microbiologic environment. Most common problems are diarrhea and constipation. The staff will be actively monitoring participant's health. If you feel sick, you will have access to local physicians. The group usually has medical staff from the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health or readily access to local physicians. Common medicines are available a multitude of pharmacies located in the larger towns. In the event that you have to see a doctor, either the program director or a bilingual member of the senior staff will be present during the consultation to ensure proper translation and quality of care. In the event of a more serious complication, the program will make arrangement for transportation to a larger hospital at  the provincial capital or in Quito. For extreme cases, your HTH insurance includes medical evacuation to the United States. 
  9. I am interested in participating through the SURF Program. Could you tell me more about it?

    The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) is a OUCOM program designed to expose undergraduate students interested in pursuing a medical career to the research being conducted by our faculty. For details about the requirements and application process, click here . This program is highly competitive. If accepted, the fellow receives a modest stipend and a food/lodging allowance that are deducted from the education abroad program fee. In addition, the fellow receives an automatic early interview for OUCOM and up to 8 undergraduate credits hours at OU, that can be transferred to your institution. Admission into this research program involves: evaluation of the applications, selection of a short list, phone interview by Dr. Grijalva, and acceptance of the conditions of participation for the Education Abroad program. Although SURF provides some funding, it does not cover all expenses related to the program. Fellows will be required to pay OU for the portion of the program fee that is not covered by the fellowship. There is a maximum of one position awarded every year for the Ecuador program. Decision on the SURF are made in Spring quarter.  Applicants in the short list are given the opportunity to become regular participants of the program. As such, they have to generate their own funding.

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    Updated 03/21/2016 02:53 PM