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UConn Tracing Darwin’s Path in SubAntarctic, Patagonia, Chile (Faculty-led)

Please note: This program is not being offered for Winter 2018. It will run again in Winter 2019.

The Program

This program will take place during the winter term in Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams (on Navarino Island), Chile.  The program involves faculty and students from UConn, as well as from the University of North Texas, University of Alaska-Fairbanks, and other institutions specializing in Patagonian research.  It is designed to give UConn students, especially those early in their academic careers, a unique opportunity to learn about the many dimensions of biodiversity. This course is multidisciplinary, including elements of biology, conservation, philosophy and anthropology.

The course is held on a stunningly beautiful island on the Beagle Channel, which provides opportunities to examine the importance of the region and the native Yahgan people in the early development of Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. Students learn new ways to see and value the natural world and participate in long-term studies of birds, stream invertebrates and plants of the region, which is an international biodiversity hotspot for mosses and lichens.


The Academics

Students will be enrolled in two classes during the program:

UNIV 1810 1-credit seminar for half of fall seminar and will meet 2 hours/ week, starting in October. The course will focus on preparing students for the winter study abroad experience, covering an introduction into the ecology, culture, and history of the subantarctic Chile.

EEB 3893 3-credit Foreign Study. As part of the Patagonia study abroad, students will be required to maintain a journal of their research and personal experiences. Students will use their journal entries, photos, videos, and sketches to record their experiences. Students will participate in several long-term research projects on the island of Navarino. Students will be required to present the research project with their peers, while on the island. Beyond offering an opportunity to assess their ability to engage in scientific research, the presentation will highlight their ability to communicate and collaborate with students from other institutions and countries.

The Experience

The course takes place primarily on Navarino Island, the southernmost permanently inhabited island in the world. The town (Puerto Williams) on the island present features of a pioneer community, where daily life is characterized by challenges, pertaining to transportation, internet access, small living space, etc.  Students will be housed in a new and recently inugurated scientific field station and will also have some camping experiences.  Food is provided by trained cooks while at the research station and while camping.

The University of Connecticut has strong ties to the island through Dr. Ricardo Rozzi, who completed his M.Sc. and Ph.D. at UCONN. He is a world-renowned environmental philosopher, who has created an ethnobotanic park on the island, and spearheaded the creation of the Cape Horn Biopshere Reserve. Two UConn faculty from EEB  have worked in the area.  One of them, Professor Bernard Goffinet, who is the academic leader of this program, has been critically involved in developing the new paradigm in Ecotourism in the region, namely Ecotourism with a hand lens. The region is under strong pressure from economical development that may irreversibly affect the pristine condition of the habitats at this end of the world.

For more information about the program, please visit the Sub-Antarctic Biocultural Conservation Course website. 

To view pictures from last year’s trip, check out this page.


Please note that financial aid, other than certain scholarships, cannot be applied to the cost of this program. Click the link below for this program’s budget sheet.

Budget Sheets:
The Details

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  • Terms:
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Dates / Deadlines:

Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date

Fact Sheet:

Class status: Academic area:
Language of instruction: Prior language study required:
Open to non-UConn students: Required GPA: