noun_404_ccJuly 29 – August 6 (not including travel dates)
This opportunity is a 9-day residential immersion program held in El Salvador, in collaboration with our community partner SERES. The program is delivered in Spanish and translated to English, with UCI students participating alongside their youth counterparts from El Salvador. Applicants must have proven involvement (minimum 1 year) with sustainability and food-related issues, education, and/or actions on or around campus. Prior affiliation with one of the sustainability/food-related student organizations and/or the GSRC is desirable.

sisl_international_lgABOUT THE PROGRAM

The purpose of this program is to provide students with an interest in food systems, agriculture and sustainability-equity related challenges with a unique south-north learning experience that helps to awaken and develop a critical lens on local-global solidarity while providing a transformative learning experience that deeply informs students’ academic pursuits, career choices, and lifestyles.
It is expected that participants in this program will:

  • Develop a critical lens on local-global solidarity and a deeper understanding of the equity-related challenges in food and sustainability;
  • Have the opportunity to meet and share with young sustainability leaders from different settings and bridge across traditional boundaries;
  • Develop food literacy and cultivate an understanding of food from the seed to the plate;
  • Radically shift our understanding of food and connection to the land from a transactional relationship to an integrated holistic understanding that our food has a tremendous impact on our quality of life and on the well being of the planet;
  • Build culinary and agricultural skills while having an opportunity for physical activity, social interaction, and community development;
  • Demonstrate how cooking and eating choices affect the land, society, and public health; and
  • Consider how food systems have changed and continue to change over time.


11541971_10153171848398751_6779732168799771919_nThe program is a 9-day immersion program hosted in El Salvador by SERES, our international community partner. Program instruction will be entirely in Spanish and translated into English for non-Spanish speaking participants. The program will include other non-English speaking young sustainability leaders from Central America. The course is designed as a hands-on, experiential learning program, that will include ~ 25% permaculture theory, 25% hands-on permaculture practice, 25% field visits about Foodscapes and 25% guided reflection, learning, and group work. The majority of programmed hours will be during the daytime, with some optional activities in the evening.
As part of our holistic learning program, you will experience sustainability and different living styles not just through your formal course-work but through your day-to-day interactions. This program will take place within the community of El Papaturro, El Salvador located near Suchitoto. All participants will stay with the families of a local SERES youth leader in the community, and share some meals with their families. Accommodations are basic, with cold showers and in some cases a shared room. The remainder of the meals will be designed and prepared by the UCI Sustainability Initiative’s eco-chef in-residence, Roger Feely, whose menu creations focus on sustainability, culture and traditional seed-to-plate systems thinking also known as “made from scratch.” These eating experiences will be an integral part of the learning journey. You should expect a simple yet diverse, flavorful, healthy and primarily vegetarian cuisine for the duration of your stay.


The program starts on Wednesday, July 29, and finishes on Wednesday, August 6, 2015. You should make travel arrangements to arrive in El Salvador no later than 3pm* on Tuesday, July 28, and to depart Friday, August 7. The program fee covers food, accommodation, and travel expenses beginning with dinner on the evening of Tuesday, July 28, through breakfast on Friday, August 7.  Participants are expected to complete their round trip travel back to the United States upon completion of the program on Friday, August 7; additional non-program days in country are disfavored.
*Transport to/from the airport in El Salvador will be arranged from SERES.


 We encourage you to investigate the following sources for more information about the training program, SERES and the immersion experience:

  • SERES website:
  • Visit the GSRC on campus and talk to previous participants
  • Read more about El Salvador on the U.S. Embassy’s website:
If you are interested in applying or have any questions about the program, please contact


Limited places are available for this program.  The application period closed on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, at 5:00 pm. Successful applicants have been notified.  Please note, you must have a valid passport (valid for at least 6 months after travel dates) in order to be considered eligible for this program.
All participants will receive a scholarship valued at $2,500, which will cover transport including international airfares, accommodation, all meals, workshops, and activities for the duration of the program. In order to guarantee your placement in the program, successful applicants must pay a non-refundable $150 fee and commit to the following:

  • Full attendance at all 9 days of the program (participants may not come and go during the program)
  • A 2-page written report or blog post of the experience
  • Contribution of photos/quotes/reflections to the group’s online photo journal
  • Assisting the GSRC as a student co-facilitator/trainer at one of our Summer or Fall Quarter Campus as a Living Lab/Foodscapes programs or events (see here for full calendar of events).

The program is subject to modification or cancellation at the discretion of the University of California, Irvine, and SERES.