Monday, February 13, 2017

PERU Geography of Coffee & Climate Change

BSU Travel Course, July 10-24, 2017

Application requires brief recommendations, a $25 fee, and a few other pieces

Join BSU geographers Dr. Rob Hellström and Dr. James Hayes-Bohanan for the experience of a lifetime this summer. And earn 3 credits in the process.

Two geographers are offering this version of the department's popular Geography of Coffee travel course in South America for the first time. Since 2006, the course has been offered in Nicaragua almost every January, and more than 100 participants have found it to be a life-changing experience, many of them returning on their own for weeks or even years at a time.

Bringing the course to Peru allows us to visit a coffee-growing area whose harvest season coincides with our northern-hemisphere summer break. Climate change has become an important part of all serous discussions of coffee; this course allows us to visit important climate-change research stations and coffee farms in the same journey.

This travel course begins with a drive from Lima to research stations in the Andes Mountains at elevations of 13,000 feet, where Dr. Hellström and his students and colleagues are studying the retreat of important glaciers. Our travel to the study site will include exploration of the contemporary cultural landscape and archeology of this part of the Andes, in part to give participants time to adjust to the very high altitude.

From there, we will return to Lima and then travel by air to the upper reaches of the Amazon Basin in the northern part of Peru. There we will spend several days visiting the Oro Verde Cooperative -- a network of farmers who produce organic coffee and cacao for export to Deans Beans in Orange, Massachusetts. We will learn all of the steps that are required to grow, harvest, and produce high-quality coffee and chocolate. We will also learn how working cooperatively allows farmers to contribute directly to the economic and social development of their communities.
Coffee (left) and cacao in the Oro Verde community.
This course will include instruction from the two professors and from local experts throughout the journey. Logistical support is being provided by an outfitter with whom  Dr. Hellström  has worked many times in previous travel. Translation from Spanish and Quechua will by provided throughout, but any competency in these languages will be put to good use.

Details of the program, dates, cost, and itinerary are on the Peru Program brochure (pdf)..

Learn more about Dr.  's climate research from BSU Weather - Peru. Learn more about Dr. Hayes-Bohanan's coffee teaching from For questions about the content of the course, contact us at or For questions about registration, payment, or financial aid, please contact the Study Abroad office at or or 508-531-6183.

This course is available to all. Financial aid may be available to BSU students with FAFSA on file. Aid application deadline is March 3, 2017.

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