• Ecuador
    • Quito
    • Galapagos
2 - 4 weeks
Need-based funding, General grants/scholarships
Health & Safety

Program Details

Program Type
Direct Enrollment
Host Family Hotel Lodge


Starting Price
Price Details
Program fee includes college credit, meals, lodging, all program activities, in-country transportation, health insurance, and experienced group leaders.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Meals Transportation Wifi
What's Included (Extra)

Health insurance

What's Not Included
Oct 12, 2023
Sep 18, 2022
5 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Land in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, to begin your Experiment. There, you will explore the 16th-century gold-inlaid churches and colonial buildings of the Old Town. Your first excursion is to the equator, where you can stand on the spot where the Northern and Southern Hemispheres meet. Experience the diverse wildlife of the Mindo Nambillo cloud forest, then travel to the Andes (the world’s highest mountain range outside of Asia) for a weeklong homestay in the small city of Riobamba, where you will share daily activities such as sports, movies, and walks through town with your host family.

Video and Photos

Diversity & Inclusion

BIPOC Support

Diverse identities and experiences are essential to intercultural exchange. We are committed to recruiting and supporting participants of the broadest socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity of any high school exchange program in the world.

LGBTQIA+ Support

Diverse identities and experiences are essential to intercultural exchange. We are committed to recruiting and supporting participants of the broadest socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity of any high school exchange program in the world.



Environmental sustainability is a key component of all programs. Participants minimize their environmental footprint by using public transit, eating local food, and participating in community service projects in collaboration with, and according to, the needs of local communities.

Ethical Impact

Social and environmental responsibility is more critical now than ever. We are committed to delivering programs that support and are respectful of the diverse communities and ecosystems that host our programs.

Our programs are developed in close consultation with local and international partners and with a critical understanding of the communities and regions we visit.

Program Highlights

  • Develop your Spanish language skills through interactive lessons with local teachers and conversations with locals and try your hand at preparing a typical Ecuadorian dish (such as ceviche or empanadas).
  • Participate in a community service project to support environmental efforts or the local community.
  • Hike from the first base camp to the second shelter of Chimborazo, an inactive volcano that rises 20,548 feet above sea level, and bike back down through a beautiful Andean landscape.
  • Become fully immersed in the daily life of an Ecuadorian family and community. Travel to Tena Puerto Ahuano and stay at Gaia Eco Lodge.
  • At the conclusion of this program, each participant will earn a community service certificate noting the number of hours of community service completed.


The Experiment in International Living Scholarships

The Experiment in International Living offers a variety of need-based and merit-based scholarships to worthy high school students looking to participate in their program. The eligibility requirements vary depending on where you live and other demographics -- and your GPA is taken into account for some scholarships too.

$250 - $5,000

Program Reviews

4.80 Rating
based on 5 reviews
  • 5 rating 80%
  • 4 rating 20%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Growth 4.4
  • Support 4.4
  • Fun 5
  • Housing 4.8
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life changing experience

When I first found out that I was accepted for the Experiment’s Ecuador trip, I was absolutely overjoyed. However, I don’t believe it actually hit me that I was going away for an entire month without anyone that I knew. It certainly was a bit overwhelming and daunting when I came to that realization. Now, after having experienced what I did, I should have never been even a little apprehensive about going. Being spoken to and forced to speak Spanish every day was at first annoying and made me nervous, but I quickly realized that it was extremely beneficial for my Spanish skills. I was forced to understand Spanish and speak it constantly, as opposed to learning Spanish in school, where you have to understand and speak it very little. At the end of the trip, my Spanish comprehension and speaking fluency had drastically improved, and I learned twice as much in one month as I have in all of school. We got to go to three of the four regions of Ecuador. The four regions are the coast, the highlands, the Galápagos, and the Amazon, and we went to the highlands, Galápagos, and Amazon. Doing so allowed us to experience the country from many different perspectives. The activities and learning that we participated in in every location added to the experience and understanding of where we were and the culture and norms. The home stay was the most culturally immersive experience of the trip because we got to spend a week with an Ecuadorian family and part take in their everyday lives. It showed me what the average day of an Ecuadorian family looks like, how they live, family norms and traditions, etc. It was incredibly engaging and an amazing experience. Going to the Galápagos was a truly unforgettable and amazing opportunity. I had read a lot about the islands, and seen countless documentaries, but never did I ever think that I would be able to go there for myself, but it happened. We got to stay on a boat for four days while touring the islands, and we explored and learned about the diversity of the life and unique ecosystems, and learned about the historical significance of the islands, and it was an unbelievable experience. Overall, with all the other locations, things we did, people we saw, and the things we learned, my Experiment experience has unequivocally changed my overall appreciation for and perspective on other countries all around the world and their cultures, and has made me a better, more independent individual.

  • Cultural immersion
  • Adventurous
  • Wide range of locations and regions of the country visited
  • Tough language barrier
  • Very large packing list because of the wide range of weather and locations visited
  • People eat a lot of meat, so it can be hard for vegetarians and vegans.
41 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A Touristy and Yet Completely Wonderful Experience!

Great trip! One huge highlight was the group; I couldn't have asked for a better one. They made everything so much more fun. Snorkeling in the Galapagos was unbelievable, as well as the atmosphere and staff on the boat we stayed on. Our tour guide was amazing, always happy to give long (in a good way) answers to side questions. The home-stay was also a highlight. My host family had radically different political and religious views than I did, which, while it was uncomfortable, was also valuable to experience. I got to go hit the town with my eighteen year old host sister and her friends, which was really special (not to mention a complete blast) because it was insane to see people across the globe doing something similar to what I might do with MY friends on a Saturday night.

One thing I will say is that this was definitely a touristy trip. If you're looking to really push your limits and/or be completely immersed in a new culture, this probably isn't the one for you. It felt like we touched the surface on a lot, from the history of Quito to the indigenous people of the Amazon, but we didn't really go into enough depth on anything that I felt like I really understood the whole subject. But it was still cool!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Chicken fingers. Not the fried kind: literal boiled feet of a chicken. I was staying with my host family in Riobamba, and they'd taken me to lunch with their huge extended family. We were all piled into their in-kitchen dining table, and I could already overhear some Spanish they thought I wouldn't catch along the lines of "who is she and why isn't she talking? Oh, she doesn't speak Spanish? Got it." so my comfort level was not at its strongest. They served up soup that they'd just cooked, which was delicious... until I found the chicken feet. Everyone picked them up and slurped all of the flabby, beige, boiled meat off of the bones. Don't get me wrong, it TASTED amazing, but the texture and... well, it was hard not to imagine the rest of the chicken. Alive.
61 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An Amazing Way To Spend My Summer

When I first signed up for this trip, my biggest fear was missing out on my summer because of this four week long trip with people I didn’t know. Now, when I look back on that fear, I am glad that it didn’t stop me. This trip has been the highlight of my summer and if I had the option to go back, I would. From playing Uno with my host family to snorkeling with sharks, penguins, and sea lions I enjoyed every second. I was able to do things I never imagined myself doing and that made for a memorable trip. The Experiment did an amazing job picking activities for us to do. One of those activities was traveling to the Galapagos Islands and living on a boat. Everyday we snorkeled and every night, the entire group would sit, talk and stare at the countless stars that we could see due to our proximity to the equator. This trip has made this summer my favorite by far.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
On this trip, the most surprising thing I saw was sea turtles. Though I could easily go to an aquarium and see these creatures, on this trip we saw them up-close as we snorkeled. This was an amazing and surprising thing to see because they were so close to us. It felt like I could reach out and touch these animals that I have only ever seen behind glass. That was something very surprising to me and something I will never forget.
61 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Had a Blast

A very fun experience when I went to Ecuador. I experienced things that I normally wouldn’t be able to experience here in Missouri, to snorkeling with penguins and sharks to being at high altitudes. Everything was enjoyable, even the small moments like being with the group members, who I can call some of them really close friends. Everything was extremely fun, except sea sickness. I still enjoyed every moment that I had in Ecuador and if I had the chance I would absolutely go back. It was extremely fun to see the wildlife and the indigenous people living in the Amazon, also seeing the different type of wildlife that does not compare to what I am used to here in Missouri. I would really recommend this program for anyone that would love to travel.

What was your funniest moment?
Spending time with the group members and their jokes.
57 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

The Ecuadorian Experience

I never expected to fall in love on this trip, but I did. Ecuador took my heart and I don't think I will ever get it back. The environment and ecosystems there are so incredibly unique and unlike anything I have ever experienced before, and it was all amplified tenfold by the amazing job The Experiment did. I had amazing group leaders along with wondrous activities The Experiment planned for us. I made new friends, a new family, and experiences that will last a lifetime. I know that I will travel back in the future because of the huge impact it had on me this summer.

57 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers