Andean Center for Latin American Studies - ACLAS

Why choose Andean Center for Latin American Studies - ACLAS?

The Andean Center for Latin American Studies (ACLAS) is located in the beautiful and urban Quito, Ecuador. ACLAS provides a wide variety of study abroad programs including customized programs for individual students. We have high-quality Spanish language instruction, wonderful homestay families and many different options for excursions and other activities. Let us welcome you to Ecuador!



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Yes, I recommend this program

Adventures in Ecuador

Before traveling to Quito, Ecuador I was hesitant to go alone since I knew Noone there. Once I arrived, I felt the support within ACLAS and my host family. They greeted me with a hug and a kiss on the cheek and I felt so much love since the first day I arrived. Being in the Healthcare field, I decided to take this trip to learn Medical Spanish. I also was able to volunteer some afternoons with the kids at the casa hogar. Ecuador is so beautiful and has lots of places to explore like Baños, La mitad del mundo, Parque Itchimbia, among many other places. The people were so sweet and welcoming! I made great friends on this trip. I would recommend this program. It's definitely worth it :)


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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Stacy West

Job Title
Director of Partnerships

What is your favorite travel memory?

During my 6-month time studying in Quito, Ecuador I had to go back to the U.S. for a family event.

It was great to see friends and family but I was very surprised how thrilled I was to go back "home" to Quito! I remember heading from the airport back to my homestay family talking rapidly to a taxi driver in Spanish and being very surprised at how happy I felt to be there.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

Being around students who are undergoing life-changing experiences has really changed my perception of the flexibility of humans and our capacity to grow.

In my current position I mostly talk to students before they go and then see them after they return. Because I am not up close and personal with the transition, it is particularly amazing to see the difference in students after they return.

This work has further solidified the importance of experience in our lives and how we must seek out these experiences and then be sure to carefully reflect about them before, during and after.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

We just heard a wonderful story from a student who took a medical Spanish course with us (where she practiced bedside manner, taking vitals and making patients feel calm) and then volunteered in a free clinic in Houston when she returned home. At the free clinic she was asked to work with a lot of Spanish-speaking patients and she was able to apply everything she'd learned immediately!

She said if it wasn't for the class with us she would have just asked to file papers or do some other, less interactive, job. She was so excited about how she was able to do very meaningful and impactful work.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

Right now I'm really excited about the customized program that we offer where students can make a program that fits their needs. I would do this because I'd like to improve particular parts of my Spanish and spend a lot of time working on my speaking skills.

I would also really love to be with a homestay family again because they are so loving, interesting and make such wonderful food!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

To us, success is when our students write reviews at the end of the program and they feel they were cared for, but that they were also challenged and grew from the program.

It is not about making it easy - but rather making it possible for the students to learn more Spanish than they ever thought possible and grow as individuals.