Study Abroad in Ecuador

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A Guide to Study Abroad in Ecuador

Ecuador is a country that seems to have it all: Andean peaks, Amazon rainforest, sun-drenched beaches, and volcanic islands chock full of the world’s most diverse flora and fauna. But there’s much more to Ecuador than just a pretty face. Perhaps the nation’s best treasure of all are the souls of the Ecuadorian people. Studying abroad in Ecuador allows students to learn from the kind-hearted, generous folks that are the beating heart of Ecuador. Whether you’re a conservationist, botanist, or just looking to break out of the classroom, studying abroad in Ecuador is guaranteed to knock your flip-flops off.

Where to Study Abroad in Ecuador

With opportunities stretching to all four corners, those looking to study abroad in Ecuador may find that the startling diversity makes it a little harder to pick a location. To help stave off analysis paralysis, check out this breakdown of the most popular locations to study abroad in Ecuador: 

Ecuador’s capital city of Quito is prime spot for studying abroad. Regarded as one of the best-preserved colonial cities in South America, Quito is a surprisingly metropolitan place, with dazzling architecture and a mesmerizing mix of the old and new. Spend your free time strolling down the cobblestone streets in el Centro or observe life in the tree-lined Plaza de la Independencia and marvel at the ingenuity of the colorful textiles used as backpacks by the local indígenas. You won’t want to miss the bus in Quito. Literally. Be sure to hop on a chiva, a party bus with live bands on board, and fiesta-it-up Ecuadorian-style. 

Choosing the Galapagos Islands will undoubtedly give you the opportunity to study in the world’s greatest lab rather than sitting in a stuffy classroom all day. Travel by boat from island to island, as you ramble among one-of-a-kind creatures like the blue-footed booby. Study abroad programs and service projects in the Galapagos often include wildlife conservation, clearing invasive species, or examining the impacts of tourism. Just imagine yourself snorkeling with sea life, hiking through a crater, or doing lab experiments with highly-esteemed scientific experts!

Guayaquil has made enormous advancements in recent decades, giving it a big-city profile, and yet still leaving a splash of its colonial history in its neighborhoods. Spend your weekends exploring revitalized squares, parks, and massive urban renewal projects. The city also has a growing arts scene and numerous lively bars, fuelled by several large universities that accept international students with open arms.

Costs of Studying in Ecuador

By now you’re probably thinking that Ecuador just can’t be anymore perfect. But wait! There’s more! The U.S. dollar is Ecuador’s official currency and Ecuador is one of South America’s most inexpensive countries. Just be aware of locals guilty of charging “gringo rates” to foreign travelers. Your study abroad program will likely include tuition, room and board, and insurance in the program fees, while flights, visas, and vaccines are usually left up to the student. If you could use a little extra cash money to fund your study abroad program in Ecuador, create a FundMyTravel campaign and check out scholarships that may be available.

Accommodations in Ecuador

One of the best accommodation options commonly offered while studying abroad in Ecuador is a homestay, where regular Spanish practice and tasty, traditional meals (guinea pig, anyone?) are par for the course. If you are studying in the city or at a more mainstream college or university, study abroad programs in Ecuador may provide accommodation in shared housing, apartments, or dormitories. Either way, don’t expect too many extravagant home comforts, but do count on a friendly welcome and numerous opportunities to immerse yourself in Ecuadorian culture.

Student Visas for Ecuador

Students hailing from most countries won’t need a visa for study abroad programs lasting less than 90 days. For study abroad programs in Ecuador that are longer than 90 days, you will need a student visa. Student visas will likely require you to show proof of funds, as well as official acceptance into your school and are valid for up to a year. To sort out any questions you may have with the process, contact your program provider to discuss visa requirements well in advance and be sure to check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory.

GoAbroad Insider Tips

Ecuador is lauded for its tranquil way of life, low cost of living, natural beauty, and year-round spring-like weather. However, keep in mind that for all that it has to offer, Ecuador still has its way of reminding you that you are in a developing country.

With all things considered, it’s hard to imagine another tiny nation that can pack this number of WOWs, which ultimately makes Ecuador one of the best destinations for studying abroad anywhere around the globe.

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Study Abroad in the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador with AIFS!

Spend the summer or January Term in the stunning and pristine Galápagos Islands with AIFS. You’ll earn 3 credits taking “Ecosystems and Biodiversity in the Galápagos” through Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Live in comfortable hotels while in Quito and traveling to different islands in the Galápagos, and a homestay while on San Cristóbal Island.

study abroad in Ecuador

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IES Abroad (Institute for the Int'l Education of Students)

Through the Institute for the International Education of Students programs abroad, international students can enroll directly in an Ecuadorian university and take a full course load that lasts for a semester or an academic year. Stay with a host family in the Galapagos Island, Quito, or Riobamba and have an amazing learning experience.

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Boston University Study Abroad in Ecuador

The Ecuador study abroad program offers Tropical Ecology, Language and Liberal Arts courses to prospective international students. Study at one of the prestigious universities in Quito, Universidad San Francisco de Quito. With the Boston University Study Abroad, students can spend a semester filled with educational travel-learning experience, all-inclusive excursion, and Spanish language immers...


API Ecuador Service-Learning Summer Program

Sign up for this program in Ecuador with API and divide your time between completing online coursework and volunteering at local projects. You will learn through action and reflection while contributing to the strategic, long-term goals of our partner community. You will focus on specific project areas, such as working with kids and providing social assistance. Serve under the supervision ...


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Athena Study Abroad in Quito, Ecuador

Students will be studying at Academia Latinoamericana, a world class institution known for immersive Spanish language courses and Andean culture. It is accredited by the ministry of education in Ecuador and an accredited member of the Latin American Council of Spanish Academies. Quito, Ecuador is located in the upper region of South America, close to Columbia. It is a remarkable city that in...


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Shadow doctors in Ecuador. 20+ AAMC-compliant hrs/week.

The Atlantis Fellowship gives pre-medical and pre-health students AAMC-compliant, ethical shadowing hours in international hospitals. The Atlantis mission is to help pre-medical and pre-health students pursue their callings in medicine passionately through their interactions with international healthcare. Atlantis is committed to partnering with students on their way to becoming a doctor, wh...


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Sea|mester Study Abroad at Sea

Students can delve into the beauty of Ecuador while taking classes on their field of discipline. This program, designed by Sea|mester Study Abroad at Sea, allows participants to enrich their knowledge, confidence and capabilities. In addition, they get to earn college credits along the way.


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Languages Abroad

Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the Ecuadorian culture and language with this educational program in Ecuador's busy capital, Quito. Students will experience a cultural immersion like no other by taking a course in Spanish, Culture, or Intensive Language. The maximum size of every class is five students and excursions, as well as other cultural activities, are organized two to t...


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Study Abroad in Ecuador with SIT Study Abroad

Choose between two semester SIT Study Abroad programs in Ecuador. Explore tropical ecosystems and conservation efforts in the Andes, coast, Amazon, and Galápagos Islands or study Spanish, Quichua, culture, and linguistics and the interplay between language and power in Ecuador. Both programs are based in Quito and offer Spanish language instruction.


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Carpe Diem Education

Learn more about Ecuador and the program. During this time, you work on communication skills, team-building activities, map out your movements and set your intentions for the semester. We'll have activities and scavenger hunts to get deeper into the local culture and start breaking out our rusty Spanish.


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World Endeavors

Join World Endeavors for its affordable study abroad program in Ecuador. Study for just a semester or a full academic year in Guayaquil. Enjoy breathtaking landscapes, beautiful beaches, and the vibrant Latin American culture while studying at an Ecuadorian College and getting to know locals. All courses are taught in English and open to undergraduate participants worldwide.


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Child Family Health International

Get to explore the Amazon areas of Ecuador with CFHI's study abroad program. With programs including Dentistry, Naturopathy, Reproductive Health, and more. The programs are available throughout the year and students live in homestays for great cultural immersion. Explore the health care system of the country, roam the streets of historical Quito, and visit the local museums.