Quito, the capital city of Ecuador, is a cultural and historical landmark. The current city is built on top of a Quitu city that was incorporated into the Incan Empire before the Spanish Invasion. Since then, Quito has risen to be the economic and cultural center of Ecuador, giving rise to the Quito School of art as well as many magnificent buildings. The Historic Center of Quito is one of the largest and best-preserved in the world, and was one of the first World Cultural Heritage Sites declared by UNESCO. Quito's proximate location to the Equator means that it has a remarkably stable climate and has cool, spring-like weather all year long. This eternal springtime weather makes Quito a great destination to explore the city itself as well as the surrounding forests and volcanoes.
La Basilica in Quito
- Main Industries: Agriculture (bananas, coffee, shrimp), Oil, Textiles, Mining
- Popular Destinations: Palacio de Carondelet, Basilica del Voto National, Parque Metropolitano Guanguiltagua, the aerial tram Teleferiqo, La Mitad del Mundo, the Pichincha volcano
- Cost of Living: $450-500/month
- Visa: No visa required for US Passport holders staying 90 days or fewer.
- Environmental Studies: Located next to the Pichincha volcano, Quito proves to be an excellent location for internships in geological studies. Other environmental internships involve promoting bike usage in the city and field study work. Located in a region that is known to draw eco-tourists worldwide, the natural splendor of Quito's Andean landscape will inspire you to continue working to preserve and understand this beautiful environment.
- Social Development: Quito faces many of the struggles common to a major city: poverty, underserved and neglected populations. Social development interns in Quito can work to improve the quality of life of those marginalized by society. Interns in Quito can work at abused women's shelters to help provide comfort and security or to improve the lives of children living in poverty. Social development interns work to increase quality of life and also promote civic engagement among these populations in Quito.
- Public Health: Many opportunities for public health internships are available in Quito, which focus on improving access to healthcare services for women, youth, those living in poverty, and LGBTI individuals. Public health interns in Quito work on outreach and education programs to increase awareness about health issues. They are also often trained to provide some health services and reach out to improve the quality of healthcare in these communities.
When and Where to Look for an Internship:
Internships are available throughout the year. Local service-based organizations are great places to look for internships, as well as the university, depending on your interests.
Cost of Living in Quito
The cost of living in Quito is fairly low. A 1 bedroom apartment in the city center costs about $450/month. A monthly transit pass is $18.50 and a liter of milk is $0.78
Work Culture in Quito:
- Etiquette: A handshake is the most common greeting in Ecuador; however closer friends and colleagues may embrace or kiss each other on the cheek. People generally refer to each other by last names and titles until they know one another well. Eye-contact and open body language are important parts of communication in Ecuador.
- Language: Quito is home to a large percentage of Ecuador's English-speakers. However, Spanish is the official and predominant language of the country. Interning in Ecuador will be a great chance to improve your Spanish.
- Networking: Online ex-pat communities for Ecuador can be a great way to connect with folks who have had to make similar transitions to living abroad. Quito draws many professional conferences and trade shows, so keeping an eye out for conferences in your field can have rewarding results.
Work and Labor Laws in Quito
Most internships in Quito are unpaid. Interns from the US do not need to apply for a visa to stay in the country for up to 90 days. This tourist visa can be extended another 90 days through municipal immigration. More visa information can be found through the US State Department and the Ecuador Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Why Intern in Quito?
Interning in Quito means living every day navigating a historic city in the shadow of the Andes mountains. Quito offers an urban environment, but is not far removed from its amazing natural setting. Similarly, as an intern in Quito, you can improve your Spanish without feeling totally at sea if you aren't yet fluent. Quito offers excitement and balance to an internship, not to mention being within driving distance to the center (or the middle, rather) of the Earth.
Contributed by Robin Goralka
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