Internship and Field Course



The Kayapo Field Course and Internship is a unique opportunity to learn and work with the Mebêngôkre-Kayapó and their network of NGO, university, and government partners. Guided by an interdisciplinary team of Indigenous, Brazilian, and North American instructors, this program offers an experiential introduction to the issues, landscapes, and livelihood of the Kayapo in the southeastern Amazon. Located at the “arc of deforestation,” the Kayapo live in, manage, and protect one of the largest, continuous tropical forest areas in the world. After traveling through the Brazilian frontier, participants spend almost two weeks on the Xingu River, immersing themselves in village life and investigating Amazon forest ecology at the Xingu Lodge. Since 2004, the program has been an important resource generating activity for Kayapo community partners and one of the only ways to visit the Kayapo Indigenous Territories.


July 29 – August 18, 2024


NEW $4975 $3750 USD.


Complete the 5-7 minute application form. Applications are rolling.


Who should participate

Anyone who enjoys being outside while learning and engaging with different cultures or natural environments.

While the majority of participants tend to be undergraduate or graduate students, the program is open to all interested participants. The program is intentionally intercultural and transdisciplinary.

Program leaders have backgrounds in conservation biology, tropical ecology, geography, global education, sustainable development, public policy, anthropology, and Indigenous studies, among others.


The program takes place entirely in the Brazilian state of Pará in four locations:

  1. Marabá– A larger regional city
  2. Tucumã– A frontier town on the border with the Indigenous territory
  3. Xingu Lodge – Xingu Lodge stands in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, along the Xingu River.

Xingu River near the Xingu Lodge


Topics Explored

  • Amazon Conservation
  • Tropical Forest Ecology
  • Camera Trapping & GPS
  • Sustainable Development
  • International Studies
  • Environmental Policy
  • Indigenous Studies
  • Ethnographic Methods

*Topics can be tailored to participant area(s) of interest. Participants may be eligible for university credits. Certificates of participation are available from the Federal University of Pará.


  • All program activities, Kayapo instructors, guides, and translators
  • In country lodging, transportation, and program related excursions
  • All meals at the Xingu Lodge.


  • Maraba regional cultural center
  • Street Market
  • Program Orientation
  • River Boardwalk
  • Visit with NGO partners
  • Program orientation
  • Street market
  • Body painting
  • Beadwork, woodworking, basketmaking and other artisan crafts
  • Garden visits
  • Açai
  • Cerrado (Savannah) trek
  • Visits with teachers, nurses, and other professionals
  • Conversations with youth and elder leadership
  • Storytelling & singing
  • Indigenous media making
  • Community mapping
  • Fishing and boat excursions
  • Bathing in the River
  • Sport (Volleyball, soccer)
  • Village dances and festivals
  • Community- NGO relations
  • Community meetings
  • Craft trading fair
  • Brazil nut collection, ecology, and projects
  • Human-animal-plant Interactions
  • Camera trap activities
  • Overnight waterfall trek
  • Fishing and boat excursions
  • Traditional ecological knowledge
  • History of mahogany logging
  • Trekking to (mostly dry) mud pits for animal viewing
  • Sunrise hike


No. While some knowledge of Portuguese (or Spanish) is helpful, the North American and Brazilian team includes a fully bilingual English-Portuguese Team, with varying levels of Kayapo proficiency. The Kayapo team from A’Ukre is fully bilingual Kayapo – Portuguese with varying levels of English proficiency. 

We provide a detailed packing list to all participants. That said, the program takes place during the dry season so rain is not common, but it does get cold in the evenings. We will talk about what to bring, but most important will be comfortable hiking shoes, a bathing suit, a  warm jacket, and a warm sleeping bag.

Unfortunately, ICFC does not have financial support available. 100% of the program fee goes to cover program costs, the majority returning to the A’Ukre community. We are happy to help you look for funding or write letters of acceptance or recommendation for any scholarships you are applying to. 

Maybe. ICFC does not have credits to give, but we can work with you to secure internship or independent study credits from your institution. We have a highly qualified team, a reading list, and syllabus available upon request. Certificates of participation are available from the University of Pará.

Yes. There are several opportunities. At the end of every program, we have a trade fair with the community where the group exchanges hard to come by gear (batteries, headlamps, tents, water bottles, etc) for Kayapo artisan crafts (earrings, bracelets, baskets, masks, warclubs, etc). More information is provided during program orientation and in A’Ukre. You do not need to trade for anything during the fair you are not comfortable exchanging. In addition, both the Protected Forest Association and Pykore Association have stores we can visit before or after spending time in A’Ukre.

The Field Course and Internship is a collaboration between the International Conservation Fund of Canada, Associacao Pykôre, Protected Forest Association, and the Federal University of Pará.  Other collaborators include Purdue University, Middle Tennessee State University, and the University of Maryland College Park. 

“The program is unique, educational and life-changing. It broadens the horizons and the scope of thoughts about environmentalism, indignity and
socio-environmental issues. It is a great opportunity to connect with like-minded people and engage in deep reflections on values, beliefs and experiences.” – 2023 field course participant

“If I did the program again, I would spend more time reading the articles on the forest’s ecological systems ahead of time. It would allow me to focus on details and ask better questions. Moreover, if I redo the program, I would ask more questions about the Pinkaiti partnership and explore the views of the different partners, including the Pykore people and the representatives of the other organizations. I would pack differently (less material and more efficient). I wouldn’t get a tent (most probably). I would get Crocs with me instead of water shoes. It dries faster and is more practical. I would get a one-piece hammock with a mosquito net. ” – 2023 field course participant​

I loved it. The experience changed my view on many things in my life. I have found myself more interested in biology and even gained an
appreciation for the wildlife in Canada. I’ve even been going on nightly nature walks at my cottage like we did in Pinkaiti! This was easily the best
trip i’ve ever taken and I am so thankful I was able to participate.  2023 field course participant

Get more information : kayapoproject [@] icfcanada [dot] org

Complete our brief 5-7 minute application form.