One of the oldest cities in the Americas, Quito has witnessed centuries of change and development while keeping its historical core largely intact. Perched high up in the Andes mountains at an elevation of 9,350 feet, Quito is a thriving, architecturally beautiful city and the highest national capital on Earth. If you are looking for a place to intern abroad where you can advance your Spanish fluency as you undergo rewarding professional development, a wonderful journey (and a number of internships) awaits you in Quito.
Internships in Quito
Ecuador is a developing country, meaning there is a high demand for interns to work in various spheres of social work and community development in Quito. While it is a very beautiful city, Quito can also prove to be a harsh urban environment for its poorer citizens, who lack reliable access to resources such as food, housing, and education. It is possible to intern in Quito in any of these fields, especially education, through a diverse range of international and local companies and organizations.
Health science internships are particularly prevalent in Quito, and there are many different types of placements to choose from. For example, students of medicine can shadow doctors at a hospital, nursing students can assist with a variety of tasks at local clinics, and those studying public health can partake in reform and preventative health campaigns. Healthcare is an area of urgent need for many of Quito’s poorest citizens, so health internships can allow interns to have a real impact on local communities.
Beyond the social sectors, interns who are interested in environmental science can also find a large amount of internships in Quito. Internships in agriculture, sustainable development, wildlife science, and other related fields can help you develop valuable skillsets amidst Ecuador’s flourishing and diverse natural landscape.
Life in Quito
Quito’s metropolitan area has a population of nearly 5 million people, making it Ecuador’s second largest city after Guayaquil. Home to a very mild climate, Quito is sprawled out over the eastern slopes of Pichincha (an active volcano which last erupted in 1999); you cannot beat Quito’s scenic backdrop! Sitting almost two miles high in the Andes, Quito’s amazingly preserved historical architecture is incredible enough that is was named the world’s first UNESCO World Heritage site, along with Krakow, Poland.
With an efficient public bus system and bicycle share program, getting around Quito is easy. As an intern in Quito, you should take full advantage of the city’s many landmarks, museums, and exciting cultural activities and other opportunities. Some of the most popular places to visit include the Historic City Center, Carondelet Palace, and La Mariscal, the city’s main center for entertainment, shopping, dining, and nightlife.
A respectable portion of the population in Quito can speak the English language, but if you really want to make the most of your internship in Quito then learning Spanish should be a top priority. Not only will it make your everyday internship duties much easier, it will open up a whole new realm of opportunity as you will be able to communicate with locals in their native language. Being surrounded by Spanish speakers every day may just have you learning the language faster than you think!
Salary & Costs
Internships in Quito are generally unpaid, although you will often be compensated by other means, such as food, housing, and a small stipend. Interestingly enough, Ecuador has used the United States Dollar as its national currency ever since 2000. Quito remains largely affordable for foreign interns from the industrialized world, so living expenses need not be of too much concern for those who decide to intern abroad in Quito.
Accommodation & Visas
Interns will typically have the option of living either with a host family or in their own individual apartment while interning in Quito. Rent is fairly affordable (a one-bedroom apartment might cost you upwards of $500 per month), but there are many perks of living in a homestay during your internship in Quito, including home-cooked meals and an extra element of cultural immersion (both of which can be deal breakers).
Interns will usually only need to apply for a visa if they plan on interning in Quito for longer than three months. However, this policy might depend on your home country and whether or not your internship in Quito is paid. Talk to you internship placement provider about what sort of documentation you will need to intern abroad in Quito legally, and also check out GoAbroad’s Ecuadorian Embassy Directory for more info.
Benefits & Challenges
Spanish Immersion. An internships in Quito is a fantastic opportunity to take your Spanish fluency to the next level. Making the effort to speak the local language as much as you can, both in professional interactions and everyday situations, will make a huge difference.
Thriving Culture. From the music to the food to the marketplaces, Ecuadorian culture is on full display in the nation’s capital city. The people are friendly and engaging, and by exploring as many aspects of the city as possible during your internship in Quito, you will surely have a tremendously enriching experience.
Global Experience. Lastly, interning abroad in Quito will look great on your resume and lead to many future employment opportunities in the global market. Whatever your professional interests are, internships in Quito will provide you with unique background experience to carry with you the rest of your life.