Ecuador: Culture and Development
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"The time I spent in Ecuador was life changing. The diversity of the curriculum, the location, and the dedicated support of the directors led me to discover new interests I had never previously realized. My Independent Study Project at a conservation nonprofit was the catalyst of my desire to continue working with organizational sustainability efforts. I know the experiences and relationships I gained during the semester will continue to inspire me."
-- Sophie Brooks-Ames, Scripps College
Discover the cultural complexity of Ecuador, home to a fascinating diversity of peoples and natural environments.
This program explores Ecuador's cultural richness and its current realities and conditions. Students focus on language, culture, politics, history, identity, and the challenges of implementing the country’s innovative and highly inclusive new constitution.
Advance your Spanish
The program places a major emphasis on language learning. Students can make rapid advancement in their Spanish skills through the program’s highly intensive classroom study, homestays, and fieldwork.
Experience Ecuador's three ecological zones: Andean highlands, tropical rainforest, and coastal lowlands
Traveling from 10,000 feet down to sea level, students are exposed to Ecuador’s extraordinary ecological diversity. During excursions, students meet with indigenous representatives and leaders of grassroots organizations who discuss threats to Ecuador's ecology and present alternative strategies of development. Learn more about the program's excursions.
Interact with Ecuadorian leaders who have dedicated their lives to promoting change
Students learn from activists who are committed to supporting minority rights, fighting discrimination, protecting the environment, and creating sustainable living alternatives. Ecuador is currently in the process of significant political and economic transition. Students witness the ways in which the increased participation of indigenous organizations and other formerly excluded minorities is paving the way toward a more inclusive and representative democracy.
Lecturers are drawn from institutions such as Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO), Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar, and Universidad Politécnica Salesiana.
Share daily life with Ecuadorian host families
In sharing daily life with families of diverse socioeconomic levels, students experience the contrasting variables among Ecuadorians and discover the impact their physical environment has on food, daily activities, and even language. Learn more about the program’s homestays.
Connect with a range of Ecuadorian partners
Students typically have the chance to engage with the program's partner organizations including:
- Fundación Equidad - supports Ecuador’s GLBTI population
- Fundación de Acción Comunitaria (FACES) - provides innovative outreach to children and adults with disabilities
- La Pastoral Migratoria - works with Colombian refugees
- Defensa y Conservación de Intag (DECOIN) - grassroots organization which works against extractive industries and promotes community development
Duration: 15 weeks
Program Base: Quito
Language Study: Kichwa, Spanish
Prerequisites: 3 semesters college-level Spanish or the equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish, as assessed by SIT. Read more...
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