Intercordia Program


Credit Courses: ENG 215.3 – Life Writing or RLST 377.3 – Living Community, Solidarity, and Social Change

Countries: Dominican Republic, Ecuador, or Panama


This 8-week immersive service-learning experience challenges assumptions about poverty, development, and culture by inviting students to live with and learn from communities in Dominican Republic, Ecuador, or Panama.

We invite students to live with host families and work in grassroots community organizations in one of these three countries: students can choose to live with campesino (peasant farmer) communities in the Cordillera Central (central mountain range) of Dominican Republic and work on tree-planting brigades or with coffee nurseries; students can live Indigenous Quechua families in the Ecuadorean Andes and work in community-run daycare centres, medical clinics, or in schools; students can also choose to live with campesino families in Santa Fe, Veraguas, Panamá and work with the town’s impressive cooperative, La Cooperativa La Esperanza de Los Campesinos, now nearly 50 years old.

Using a service-learning model, the Intercordia experience begins months before students actually depart! Students complete ENG 215.3 in the winter term to prepare them academically for the experience, and complete RLST 377.3 while abroad. Rather than learning in a classroom during spring term, however, students are invited to reflect upon concepts they learned in their winter-term class and see how they apply, or don’t apply, to their lived experience.

In addition to academic courses, students also participate in four co-curricular seminars that prepare them practically, philosophically, and emotionally. Upon returning to Canada, students also participate in a 2-day reintegration seminar to help them process their experiences in a supportive environment.

Course Descriptions

ENG 215.3 This course is a study of the forms that Life Writing has taken from the Middle Ages to the present, with attention to such issues as constructions of the self, themes, language, and audience.

RLST 377.3 This course offers students an academic framework for grounded reflection on religious studies concepts covered in the prerequisite course. It will be centred on an eight- or twelve-week placement with the St. Thomas More College Intercordia Program in a cross-cultural context. Students will apply concepts from RLST 277, which explored the nexus amongst religion, community, solidarity and social change.

Program Highlights

Dominican Republic

  • Natural phenomena: hiking through rainforests, visiting waterfalls
  • Optional trip to Boca Chica
  • Traveling to walk-in communities in the mountains via mule


  • Natural phenomena: hiking up mountains and dormant volcanos
  • Inti Raymi Festival (Festival of the Sun)
  • Explore the world-famous Otavalo markets


  • Hike up Cerro Tute, a local mountain
  • Natural phenomena: hiking through rainforests, visiting a waterfall, optional tubing down Rio Mulaba
  • Optional trip to the Santa Catalina beaches


3 credit units of 100-level ENG or permission of the instructor

Program Coordinator

Caitlin Ward
cward@stmcollege.caEngaged Learning Office
STM 146D


  • U of S tuition: approx. $1180 (individual registration and payment)
  • Program fee: TBD
  • Airfare: $900-$1200, depending on country placement
  • Other costs (travel and medical insurance, personal expenses, airport transfers, etc.)