HECUA: Study and Intern in Ecuador

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About

HECUA offers a study abroad program that combines 20 hr/week community-based internships, small seminar-style discussion, and three multi-day field trips. Students will learn about Ecuadorian history and culture along with contemporary issues, and will travel within the country to the Andean foothills, the Amazon basin, and the Pacific coastal region of Esmeraldas. Community immersion is an essential part of the HECUA study and intern abroad programs, and interns live in secure home-stays in Quito in addition to their 20-25 hour internship with local nonprofit organizations. Interested students are encouraged to visit the HECUA website to learn more about how they can study and intern abroad in Ecuador.

Highlights
  • Intensive, community-based internships
  • Small cohort
  • Homestays
  • Three field visits: to the Amazons, a rural, Andean community, and the Pacific Coast

Questions & Answers

Reviews

90%
based on 4 reviews
  • Academics 6.8
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 6.5
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Alexa
9/10

Study in Quito

Living and studying in Quito was a life-changing experience. When people ask me how my trip was, it’s impossible to just say, “it was good.” This experience left me feeling humbled. I found a deepened understanding in my abilities and my goals. Being immersed in another culture completely is something all college students need to experience. One incredible aspect of this program is the internship. You get to work in another country AND build your Spanish vocabulary. Lastly, the home stay really makes you feel like you have a home in another country, and another family. That is not something you get in other study abroad programs. I left so impressed and awed and the things I experienced. Thank you HECUA!

How can this program be improved?
Making sure internship sites are very willing and interested in having their interns. There were a few safety concerns as well.
Yes, I recommend
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Emily
9/10

LOVED it!

I loved so many things about this program and miss it a TON now that I'm back at my university. This program was unique in so many ways. I was continually impressed by the level of community immersion (rather than immersion just in one university setting) that took place. I knew it was a social change program before I committed but was even more impressed once I got my feet on the ground there.

We took three really eye-opening field trips to different parts of the country. We were also able to do a lot of traveling on our own on the weekends because we had enough time and cost of living was rather inexpensive while we were there. Whenever I recount my study abroad experiences to others, they (and I!) are amazed by how much ground we covered because of the content and structure of the program.

As a group, we had fantastic homestay experiences, which helped so much with learning the language and with understanding Ecuadorian culture. My internship was rewarding in the same ways and so many more. HECUA's professors were knowledgeable about everything they taught and provided us with so much personal support through the program as well.

I absolutely absolutely ABSOLUTELY recommend this program to anyone who is interested.

How can this program be improved?
Compared to the study abroad experiences I have heard about from other students not in the HECUA program, it was a bit difficult to socialize with Ecuadorian people our own age. Some of us had host siblings that were comparable in age but, largely because my group was composed just of students from American universities, we never really had a reason to get to know people our own age, which is something really powerful. There were some opportunities, but that part was a bit difficult.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Sarah
10/10

HECUA Spring 2016

I knew I wanted a unique study abroad experience, and HECUA provided just that. The academic aspect of the program is refreshingly different from the American college norm. The classroom offers an intimate setting in which you have plenty of opportunities to peruse the minds of some of the nations experts in topics ranging from environmental impacts of oil drilling in the Amazon to rights of indigenous communities. However, greater learning comes from the aspects of the program that don't happen in the classroom. A major aspect of this program is an internship with an organization of your choice in Quito. This not only lets you further explore an area of interest, but it also helps you gain independence in Quito and get to know different members of the community. There are also three weekend trips taken as a group throughout the semester to Yasuni National Park in the Amazon; Olmedo, a small fishing village on the coast of Ecuador; and Cotacachi, an area in the mountains of Ecuador where you will stay with an indigenous family. These are experiences you would be hard to encounter outside a program like this.
What makes this program truly special are the people who make it possible. HECUA has a team of some of the most kind, intelligent, and funny people I have ever met, and they truly have your best interest at heart. They also have resources and contacts that will have you meeting some of Ecuador's finest. Not to mention the host families. Every family that I met as a part of the program truly made their student a part of their family. I know that I will always have a home and a family in Ecuador.
Outside of the program itself, we were able to travel extensively around Ecuador (which is something I would highly recommend) and make life-long friends. Almost all of your weekends are available for trips, which is all you will need for most places as Ecuador is not very large and highly accessible by bus. You also have a week free for spring break for a longer trip. We also enjoyed Quito's nightlife - through which we ended up meeting friends that showed us even more of Ecuador's unique culture.
All in all, I would highly recommend this program for someone who wants a unique study abroad experience and is not afraid of getting dirty and maybe not quite understand what is going on at all times.

Yes, I recommend
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Jake
8/10

Spring Semester with HECUA

There is so many facets of this program that it is hard to put them all into words on a computer. I chose the program because of the great level of Spanish (you do not need to have incredible language skills to participate, some people come with very low levels and others with very high levels but both improve tremendously) and the fact that I got to stay with a family. While you sometimes wish you had a little more privacy (most college kids haven't lived with family since heading off to school) I did not want to travel half way across the country just to live in a dorm and enroll at another university. If your goal is to meet a bunch of people your age, however, this is not the program for you. You'll meet great people, but not all that many Ecuadorians will be college aged. One of my favorite parts of the experience is the amount we are able to travel. You are able to do some cool traveling with the program but a large part of the experience is the traveling you do on your own time with friends.

How can this program be improved?
I wish I could have traveled more in the rest of South America. It is hard to plan for extra time after the program because you don't know who you are going to travel with and with airfare you have to plan ahead (just from the United States; in South America you can buy plane tickets just before the trip). Traveling itself will be easy because you will learn how to plan and travel throughout the program, but a large part of the experience is who you go with. If you are into solo traveling or going out on a limb, I recommend just buying your return ticket well after the program ends and just fill in the space when you are in Ecuador and get to know how things work down there (it's different if you haven't picked that up yet).
Yes, I recommend

About HECUA

HECUA (Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs) is an NPO comprised of 22 different liberal arts colleges, universities and associations, all of which are dedicated to education for social justice, offering study abroad programs that address...