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.
Popular Subjects to Study in Ecuador
The diverse landscape of Ecuador breeds a blend of subjects to be studied both in the city and off the beaten path. To help with the decision making process, consider your major, future career goals, and what type of adventure is calling you — here are popular subjects to study in Ecuador.
Marine biology is the biggest name in the game of study abroad in Ecuador, with conservation, ecology, and environmental studies following close behind. Ecuador has an unmatched flora and fauna that is just dying to be awed and explored. Expect to find many field trips and sustainability projects supplementing your studies in these fields.
Do you need a little more motivation to learn Spanish than is provided in the traditional classroom? Everyone knows that spewing out constructed sentences of watered-down Spanish with your professor won’t get you very far. Ecuadorians make minimal use of the English language, which will give you a total immersion experience when you study Spanish abroad in Ecuador. You may even surprise yourself with how quickly you get the hang of it!
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.