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BCA Study Abroad in Quito, Ecuador

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    5

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

The Best Study Abroad program in South America

Best program in South America--hands down. If you go for the fall semester you spend a month before classes start learning Spanish at the university USFQ--and you get course credit! There are also cultural classes and excursions to many parts in Quito (the director is super well connected from his Peace Corps days), the coast, the Amazon, and the Galapagos. The director is there for all students needs and is a really swell guy to have as a resource. Not only that, but the host families you stay with are all wonderful! BCA has high standards for their host families and cuts families for any signs of racism, bad treatment, or other problems. There were only 20 students in the BCA Quito program--but over 200 at the university from other programs. All the other program's students were jealous at how wonderful our program was. We get a lot for our buck! I have nothing bad to say about the program. The university itself was not the best of times--the students, for the most part, come from what I would say a "preppy/chic" background. They were always friendly, but I spent most of my free time meeting others outside of the university in the city--it's a big city so there are plenty of people to meet!

Academics:
The program isn't completely academic oriented through USFQ. However, the program itself, through the director Daniel Bryan, has a commitment to academics. There are informal discussions scheduled through the semester, well thought out excursions with time to talk and discuss, and most of the students are deeply committed to cultural learning and understanding.

Living Situation:
The program puts you with a host family to match your need. There are many family's with different living situations that are suitable for everyone. The director works hard with the family's and students to make sure everyone is happy, comfortable, and where they want to be.

Program Administration:
Best director of study abroad programs at USFQ--all other programs students were jealous of BCA-Quito. The director is THERE for students at all times and works hard with all the students, home universities, USFQ, and BCA to make it come together. Honestly, you could not be better taken care of.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    4

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    5

  • Health and Safety

    6

  • Social Life

    9

Incredibly Diverse Experience

My time in Ecuador with BCA was certainly one of the most fantastic things I've done in my life so far. My host family was beyond kind to me and treated me as if I were their own daughter. BCA planned four different trips for us, including a week in the Galapagos Islands and a social justice focus was emphasized on the other three trips. It was so easy to travel on our own and see more of the incredibly biodiverse and culturally expansive country. Classes were taken through the University of San Francisco Quito, which has been rated the best university in the entire country. Unfortunately, that means that it attracts a certain crowd of well-off Ecuadorian students, which was unhelpful in my goal of integration with the cultural and experience of the different classes of Ecuadorian society. However, school is not the most important part of a study abroad experience, and I learned so much outside of the classroom that it didn't even matter.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    6

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Immersive, adventurous, eye-opening, thought-provoking, and social

After a trip to an organic farm on the Ecuadorian coast with my program, we were given the option to return to Quito with the program or to stay on the coast and return on our own. Three friends from the study abroad program and I decided to travel up the coast for a few days, and it ended up being my favorite trip I've taken despite several obstacles we had to work around. We stayed in $5 hostels, hitchhiked in the back of a pickup truck, learned to make the Ecuadorian dish bolon verde, ended up staying a couple nights in huts behind a juice bar because everywhere else was full but the juice bar owners helped us out, had a campfire and salsa dancing night with new friends from the juice bar, and tried my favorite Ecuadorian dish for the first time - encocado de pescado. It was all unplanned, but the four of us cemented our friendship and made Ecuadorian friends during that trip.

I was impressed with the social justice focus of the program, which facilitated volunteer internships for the students and was careful to support local, community-based tourism rather than large international companies. The program allowed for direct enrollment in a local university, included four long trips and a few day trips, included a month-long orientation, placed students with host families, and was more affordable than other programs despite being longer and including more trips. I wanted to go to Ecuador because I was very interested in indigenous cultures and wanted to learn Kichwa, and was also attracted by Ecuador's impressive geographic diversity.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    6

  • Social Life

    8

BCA Quito

I am a student in the Environmental Concentration, and this program was definitely the best for me. I had a great time at Rio Muchacho Organic Farm as well as at Yachana Lodge in the Amazon. I was able to explore the nature and see the reality of environmental protection in a developing country.

Academics:
University of San Francisco in Quito was a very modern and beautiful university. Overall, I was satisfied with the spanish courses I had. The only thing I was dissatisfied was that I had little opportunity to get to know people from the middle/lower class, since the university was the most expensive of all in the country.

Program Administration:
The program directors were very caring, and all the excursions were planned based on BCA's mission. There is no way that I can desire more than they offered.