One of the most enticing destinations in South America is the Galapagos Islands, a string of fascinating islands and islets off the coast of Ecuador that are enriched with culture, activities, friendly people, and astounding natural beauty and diversity. The Galapagos Islands plays host to a variety of educational programs that accommodate many different majors.
Food & Culture
There is no need to worry about converting money because Ecuador accepts U.S. currency, including coins. Be sure to carry some small bills for tipping and coins for exact amounts, otherwise they will round to the next dollar, as coins are a rare find in Ecuador. Credit cards are accepted as well in the Galapagos Islands. MasterCard is the most popular, but most major credit cards are accepted. Just beware that most places will add a processing fee, and quite often, your bank or credit card company will charge an additional fee as well.
Things to Do
Modes of transportation are abundant in the Galapagos Islands, depending upon if you want to stay and explore one island, or if you would like to island-hop. The most popular modes of inter-island transportation include buses, taxis, and bicycles. The transportation system in Galapagos Islands makes it easy to travel from one island to another. They offer water taxis, boats, and a local airline called Emetebe. However, make sure to book your tickets a day or two before departure.
Studying in the Galapagos
Most study-abroad programs in the Galapagos Islands involve hands-on learning, and interactions with remarkable nature. The most popular degrees to study on the islands are Biology, Spanish, and Social Sciences. Here, students will learn how the islands came to be, and will be able to study the amazing diversity of plant and animal life that inspired Charles Darwin’s studies on species evolution. They can study the endemic species of flora and fauna that are only found on this archipelago. Snorkeling with sea lions, swimming with giant tortoises, observing marine iguanas in their natural habitat … that’s all in a day’s work when you are studying in the Galapagos.
Most of the programs recommend and offer homestays as the primary accommodation to anyone studying abroad in the Galapagos Islands. Homestays are popular in Ecuador because students can learn the language and the local culture and traditions from a friendly host family. This is the best type of accommodation for full lingual and cultural immersion. Most study abroad programs in the Galapagos also offer excursions to other places, such as the Ecuadorian capital of Quito, and the Amazon rainforest.
U.S. citizens must have a passport with a remaining six-month validity to enter Ecuador. However, anyone studying abroad on the Galapagos Islands for 90 days or longer will need a student visa to Ecuador. These can be obtained through an Ecuadorian consulate or embassy. Also, international students are advised to carry a student ID card and an insurance card. Students going on a learning trip to Ecuador should be expected to present proof of departure from the country, and emergency contact numbers.