A group of BU corporate communication and animation students, selected for Global Horizons funding, took part in a Communication Summer Academy hosted by Universidad de las Americas (UDLA) in Ecuador’s capital, Quito.
The 10-day programme combined cultural immersion with learning about communication – advertising, filmmaking and animation - in Ecuador and Latin America.
Led by lecturers from 6 different countries, a total of 13 students, including five BU students as well as students from Ecuador, Peru and Japan worked in two groups to create animation pieces and advertising campaigns addressing local issues in Ecuador.
Animation lecturer, Carolina Loor emphasized that “the Communication Academy was an enriching experience for both staff and students and it was especially good that it was possible to provide a 360 degree look at issues in Ecuador”.
The advertising group applied their newly gained knowledge about the ways of life of the indigenous Kichwa communities in Ecuador to create a campaign aimed at reducing malnutrition amongst indigenous children under five in the Chimborazo region. Working with advertising professors at UDLA , students developed strategic communication plans and graphic educational pieces directed at indigenous mothers.
Dominic De Couto, a BU Marketing Communications student said: “The style of teaching was interactive and exciting, showing true enthusiasm and creativity which was projected onto us. I loved that we were able to work with a brief about a real social issue here in Ecuador among the indigenous people and we even got to meet some tribes and be part of their magnificent way of life.”
The Summer Academy also included visits to the local TV station TeleAmazonas, as well as a visit to global advertising agency McCann and the indigenous production company APAK. The students learned about the way indigenous communities self-represent in the media nationally and internationally as well as the politics involved in the communication industry.
The students experienced first-hand the topics discussed in the classroom through cultural visits to the indigenous communities of Ecuador, where they had the privilege of participating in traditional ceremonies and rituals led by the shaman of the La Libertad community in the Amazon, which were presented as part of a radio programme aimed at Kichwa speakers of Ecuador.
BU Public Relations student Ieva Severinaite said: “The summer academy was an incredible opportunity to gain a real insight into the local communities in Ecuador and learn about the amazing work of the people in advertising and filmmaking in Latin America. It was a unique and very special cultural experience – something I couldn’t have imagined possible and am extremely grateful to have been a part of. This once in a lifetime opportunity opened my eyes to the unbelievable biodiversity of the Amazon and the issues affecting the region and its people and inspired me to be more conscious in my everyday life as a consumer and communicator.”
Cheryl Martens, Senior Lecturer and organiser commented: “The participants this year engaged in intercultural educational tasks that challenged cultural and ethnic stereotypes and demanded contextualised and assertive problem-solving related to each student’s field of communication. Activities outside of the classroom in the Andes and the Amazon provided unique opportunities to consolidate learning and deepen understanding of biodiversity, which will stay with students well beyond the programme.”