SEMESTER 2020 / 2021


Access the indigenous Science, Art and Philosophy of Andean Civilizations

High Creativity at an Academic Level!

Learning by doing and understanding through lived experiences!

Apulaya – Center for Andean Culture is the first educational center where Andean indigenous culture is taught in an unprecedented and innovative way. Our success combines a high academic level with direct participatory experiences. Indigenous Culture Studies is based in specialized, indigenous ways of knowing. Students will expand their knowledge and understanding of autochthonous cultures and develop new methodologies that incorporate indigenous approaches for working with intercultural issues. Our instructors are academics, specialists and experts in each area and most of them are native Quechua speakers.

Studying at Apulaya is a must for all students who are looking for the most current information on Andean civilizations; and who want to be in real and direct contact with Andean culture.

We offer two semester study programs:

Andean Indigenous Culture Studies

Permanently available practical areas

  • Andean Textile Art and Weaving
  • Pre-Columbian Art and Painting
  • Andean Music
  • Traditional Agriculture

Seminars/ Courses

  • Indigenous Political and social systems
  • Inca Management and Government
  • Andean Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality
  • Traditional Medicine and Diagnosis
  • History of the Incas
  • Peruvian History and Traditional Dances
  • Archaeo-Astronomy and Inca Architecture
  • Ritual Calendar and Ethno-Astronomy
  • Natural Dying Workshops

Integrated Modules

  • Traditional Fiestas and Celebrations
  • Tours and Excursions
  • Andean Rituals
  • Andean Movie Nights
  • Evening Events
  • Stay in an indigenous community

Research Projects

  • Participatory Research Methods and Ethics
  • Independent Study Project

Language Courses

  • Quechua Language courses
  • Spanish language support and integrative Spanish

icon-pdf Download the detailed program

Andean Textile Art Studies

Permanently available practical areas

  • Andean Textile Art and Weaving
  • Pre-Columbian Textile Art and Painting
  • Andean Knitting
  • Kharka or K’upa tecnique
  • Traditional Agriculture

Seminars / Courses

  • Semiology of Andean Textiles
  • Archaeology and pre -Columbian Textiles
  • Indigenous Social and Political System
  • Impacts of Globalization:
    • The Andean textile’s Commercialization
  • Andean Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality
  • Ritual mask dances: Sacredness and symbolism

Integrated Modules

  • Traditional Fiestas and celebrations
  • Natural dyeing Workshops
  • Stay at Indigenous Communities
  • Tours and Excursions
  • Andean Rituals
  • Andean Cinema

Research Projects

  • Participatory Research Methods and Ethics
  • Independent Study Project

icon-pdf Download the detailed program

Our program´s unique goal is to prioritize students´ individual interests and needs, which is gained through the flexible teaching model applied by Apulaya: The four practice oriented areas are always simultaneously available (see Permanently Available Practical Areas), with their respective teachers and specialists, thus students are free to design their own program according to their specific interests.

The individual design program is supplemented by theory-focused modules, within a fixed schedule (See Seminars/Courses), during which indigenous science, religion and philosophy are taught. After one semester, students will have gained an overview of endemic systems and cultural patterns, thereby sensitized to indigenous people´s reality in globalization processes. Students can then apply this newly-acquired knowledge in a practical way, capable of the design and focus of a specific Independent Study Project (ISP) that will be tutored by experts.

A virtual library is permanently available for projects and research, which contains important documents such as the historical chronicles in digital version, and an updated database that is specialized in Andean culture. Documentary movies, an extensive audio, textile collection and musical instrument collections are available and implemented by Apulaya.

The Andean people´s annual rhythm is defined by diverse celebrations and rituals. Apulaya includes the Cusco area´s traditional events in its program, as this is the best opportunity to directly experience the people´s spirituality and religiosity. Students are previously introduced to and prepared for the respective celebrations, and are then guided and informed throughout the events. Physically demanding pilgrimage celebrations, such as the “Señor de Quyllurit’i” or ritual battles in high provinces, can be considered, in cases of special interest.

During the final month of the semester, students apply their study experience and research skills to conduct an Independent Study Project, ISP.

Through this modern didactic structure, students experience an intensive and customized education on indigenous Andean life and processes.


The Andes are strongly marked by indigenous culture, however indigenous science and philosophy are marginalized by national politics, the official educational system and globalization.

Researching, recovering, developing and transmitting Andean indigenous knowledge is important, both for identity and self-determination of indigenous civilizations as well as its role as an essential part of humanity´s knowledge and patrimony. Indigenous knowledge is an essential aspect of the world’s wisdom and, especially in times of globalisation and homogenization, is increasingly recognized and valued as a fundamental corresponding approach in intercultural exchanges in modern society. Our Andean Indigenous Studies aims to meet the the challenge and opportunity of understanding the role of the indigenous perspective in the global arena.

Research work is available for the development of didactic tools and materials designed for teaching purposes, or as a base for further research projects.

Participatory Research Methods and Ethics

In indigenous research, the use of indigenous ontologies that deal with assumptions about the nature and relations of being and reality open new perspectives that often differ from those that are familiar and “scientifically accepted” in western research. Indigenous axiology that deals with nature, value types, criteria and judgments, are of great importance for indigenous methodologies, and research ethics.

Participatory Research Methods and Ethics course provides the necessary conceptual and methodological tools that students need for the formulation and development of fieldwork (Independent Study Project, ISP). Participatory research implies that stakeholders, such as the community, group, individual or institution affected by the research, must be involved in its process.

Reporting back is an imperative element of our indigenous research concept. In our research models, indigenous methodologies and epistemologies that deal with the indigenous ways of knowing, are essential, as it is these approaches make visible what is special, meaningful, logical and needed in respect to the peoples’ understanding of themselves and the world.

This methodological process allows indigenous research to break free from the frames of Western epistemologies that are, in most cases, very different from indigenous ones. While suited to Western academic thought, they remain alien to autochthonous ways of thinking.

Objectives of the Course:

Indigenous methodologies require students to think criticallyabout their research processes and outcomes, bearing in mind that indigenous peoples’ interests, experiences and knowledge must be at the center of research methodologies and knowledge building processes. Thus, these perspectives represent alternative ways of thinking about research processes.

Throughout this course, students learn:

  • How to resolve discrepancies between setting academic values, and those related to the indigenous way of knowing
  • To articulate methodological issues which are primarily important for indigenous researchers, from the indigenous point of view
  • How to articulate a reciprocal relationship between the researcher and stakeholders, so as to be interconnected in a reciprocal way, within the frame of a particular research project which indigenous people are involved in
  • To define the indigenous agenda for research projects, while training in the use of field notes, interviews and mapping
  • To look at research and theory from an indigenous perspective
  • To share and protect knowledge

Each student will be expected to give an oral presentation in Spanish of his/her ISP, in the circle of his research or in the community, with its members´ participation. In some cases, Apulaya will provide a Quechua – Spanish translator, in order to enhance a better and more fluent communication, interaction and discussion among attendants.

Reflections, comments and feedbacks will be shared with the community members. Conclusions, as well as ideas for new research project development will be suggested.

Language requirement for this program: Intermediate to advanced Spanish. Students are expected to have the ability to follow the courses and communicate with local people in Spanish.

Spanish language support and integrative Spanish: Most of our lecturers and teachers also speak English, but, in order to enhance the students´ Spanish skills, and success in their ISP courses are taught in Spanish. Students will receive constant Spanish language support.

Location: The Apulaya Center is located in Calca; a picturesque village situated in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, 50 minutes by car from Cusco City. From Calca, archaeological sites and traditional indigenous communities are close by and easy to visit.

Housing: Students live at our partner student home. Individual hosting with local families is available as well. In the Sacred Valley of the Incas, students are fully immersed within the local culture, and have the great opportunity to practice their Spanish, as well as that of improving their skills in Quechua, through interaction with local people. Apulaya is known for its excellent food. Here, students enjoy Peru´s culinary diversity.

Other Customized Andean Culture Study Programs

Summer Studies at Apulaya: We arrange customized programs, according to the participants´ interest and time availability.

For further customized Study Abroad and Summer Programs, just let us know about the topics you are interest in, and your time availability, and it will be our pleasure to send a customized program to you.

Academic Credit Transfer

Students who wish to receive credit for our programs, should contact the Study Abroad Office or respective Study Abroad Advisor at their college or university, prior to starting the program. Present your plan to them, and ask for detailed requirements about how to arrange credit in advance. With the detailed information from your home-campus, we will provide all documentation to complete arrangements.

    Contact Apulaya: For questions or more information just write us.