I took a group of graduate students to Longo Mai in January of 2020 and found it appropriate for rich learning experiences in a variety of areas. The community is well-established and equipped to host groups in homestay experiences that include comfortable bedrooms with furniture, power outlets, and mosquito nets, access to reasonably modern plumbing with sinks, flush toilets and cold-water showers, and three ample meals a day of local cuisine that my students found fine. The community sits at the edge of a substantial undeveloped forest has been the locus for multiple academic investigations including in biology and tropical ecology, agriculture, sustainability and impact of local, regional and national business, history, culture, language and methods of activism, to name a few. There are places for groups to meet together. Not all of my students were comfortable in Spanish, but it was easily possible to crowdsource the language issues, with those who knew the language helping those who didn’t. Host families have experience communicating across language and cultural differences. The site feels somewhat isolated, and we used a local educational tourism provider to get there on our own bus, and this worked well. I’m happy to share details about this or other aspects of our experience.

Dr. Amanda Sturgill

Elon Univeristy, NC, USA

Elon iMedia students Liza Bunce and Rachel Eggleston working with Guadalupe Urbina at Casa Madremonte.