IES Abroad Quito - Area Studies & Language

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If you’re interested in improving your Spanish language skills, this program offers you the opportunity to rapidly improve your Spanish through a rigorous language course taught by IES Abroad. You select the remainder of your courses from options available at IES Abroad and prestigious local universities.

Quito will also be your classroom. Imagine observing Ecuadorian customs at a traditional fiesta, or visiting local markets and handicraft workshops. Wherever possible, our courses take advantage of the city’s many historical, artistic, and cultural sites. Several courses also include a hands-on, practical component. Welcome to study abroad!

Questions & Answers


based on 6 reviews
  • Academics 8
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 8.8
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 7.3
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A cultural and adventure full immersion outside of my comfort zone

Going to Quito, Ecuador was a complete cultural immersion. Through IES, I took classes at the program center and at the local university, USFQ. All the while, I lived with an incredible host family whom I learned a lot from. Never did I ever think that my Spanish would improve so much after spending 4.5 months in Ecuador, but it sure did. I also traveled almost every weekend throughout Ecuador. One weekend my friends and I would be hiking an active volcano in the pouring hail and the next we were sunbathing on the coast. We had the amazing opportunities of visiting the Galapagos Islands and Amazon Rainforest, two of the most amazing places I have been to date. If you're seeking adventure, a cultural and linguistic immersion, and a step outside a comfort zone; Ecuador is the place for you.

How can this program be improved?
Yes, I recommend
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My experience in Quito Ecuador was absolutely amazing. I did study abroad not because I wanted to but because to be a Spanish major at my college you have to. That being said I was dreading going abroad. I thought it was something I had to do but didn’t want to at all. Being there completely changed my attitude. I arrived late at night to an amazing family who was so caring and helpful. They always made me feel welcome and introduced me to their large family.
As time went on my experience was getting better and better I made tons of friends through the program and also at USFQ the university in Quito. I traveled all around Ecuador to the Galapagos, the rainforest, the beach, went camping, and much more. I can’t say enough great things about my experience in Ecuador.
A lot of people are worried about food and safety in Ecuador. The food was good for the most part it is pretty bland which was good for me because I am a very picky eater. There are lots of fruits to eat and chicken is probably the most popular food. It was also interesting because Lunch is their largest meal of the day and they make it a big deal to come home and eat as a family. As for safety I can honestly say there was never a moment that I felt like I was danger. I also followed all of the precautions and warnings they told us about.
Overall it was a great experience. I will for sure need to go back and visit my friends one day soon. I miss it already.

Yes, I recommend
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An adventure through Ecuador!

I honestly wouldn't trade my study abroad experience for anything. I loved being a part of the IES family; I truly felt comfortable and cared for by not only my amazing host family, but by the staff members as well. I took classes at the IES program center and at USFQ, and also volunteered at a daycare for underprivileged children. I feel extremely lucky that IES provided the opportunity to travel to the Galapagos Islands and to the Amazon! In addition to those excursions, many weekends were spent travelling around other parts of Ecuador. However, Quito truly became my home during my time abroad.

I was one of the few students in my program who was not a victim of pick pocketing/robberies. My university in the States is located in the heart of North Philadelphia, so I am accustomed to urban living. I know it was a big adjustment for some of my friends who didn’t have much experience in that setting, but they learned street smarts fairly quickly! The idea that cat-calling and crime is so much worse outside of the U.S. is totally false in my opinion. Bad things happen everywhere, and as long as you use common sense in social situations, you’ll be fine!

I did get quite sick, as did most people in my program. I was hospitalized and diagnosed with gastroenteritis. My program directors and doctors took great care of me, and I made a quick recovery. Unfortunately, I also was just a few towns away from the epicenter of a 7.8 earthquake that wiped out much of the coast of Ecuador. I absolutely feared for my life and witnessed some horrifying tragedies. My friends and I were lucky enough to have been able to return to Quito after a hard couple of days, but many people did not have that luxury. Throughout this entire ordeal, the solidarity of the people of Ecuador inspired me and made me realize how many good people there are in this world. Everyone did their part to help us and to help each other, and my entire community spent much of their time volunteering and making donations to earthquake relief efforts.

I felt totally immersed in Ecuador’s culture and I am now much more confident in my Spanish-speaking skills. I made so many great friends and completely fell in love with Ecuador... and a boy (I know, totally cliché!). I am already planning to visit again later this year! I definitely recommend this program to anyone who is up for adventure!

Yes, I recommend
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Quito, Spring 2016

I was lucky enough to be placed with a fantastic host family, and have the opportunity to volunteer as a soccer coach with a very dedicated team of women. I was very fortunate - more fortunate than many of my friends, several of whom were on the coast of Ecuador during the earthquake of April, 2016 - in that I never had any major negative experiences. Additionally, I was one of the very few who did not get pick-pocketed, or catcalled (I was one of the few men in the program - about 20/25 were women). Their experiences made me think about race and gender (and natural disasters) in a way I really hadn’t before. For myself, I found Quito very easy to navigate, had an overall great experience interacting with Ecuadorians, and would 10/10 recommend the program!

I’m sure you’ve thought, “If only I weren’t so busy, I’d [insert activity]!” That activity might be a personal project, travel, or just taking some time to relax and read a good book. My study abroad in Quito, Ecuador, certainly kept me busy. But after a few weeks, I realized just how much stuff I had worked into my university life back in the US, from clubs, to classes, to my social ‘responsibilities’. In Ecuador, I got the rare opportunity to step out of my normal routine, to pick and choose the activities about which I felt passionate enough to keep, and discard those which, I realized, weighed me down. Through this process, I created time to pursue activities such as those from the first sentence, activities which we’ve all thought about, but not necessarily followed through on.

The quintessential components of my study abroad experience - traveling around a new country and speaking a new language; living with a new family; and taking classes introducing a new perspective - were all engaging and thought-provoking. Many of my fellow reviewers have commented that one or all of these were instrumental in re-shaping their world view. But one of the most understated aspects of study abroad is the student’s ability to fashion new habits and re-prioritize responsibilities to more-accurately reflect passion and commitment. Developing both a fresh outlook and fresh habits during time in Quito made me feel as though I truly did get the most out of my study abroad experience.

Yes, I recommend
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Worth It

I learned so much during my time in Quito. Becoming a part of daily life in the city taught me more about how people live outside of the country than I could have ever imagined. On the other hand, I did not have the best host family experience. The accommodations were incredible but I had very high expectations of living with and becoming a part of a local family. Instead I lived with an older single woman and we hardly spent anytime together. My favorite part of my experience in Ecuador was the service learning internship I was able to do. I got to work side by side an Ecuadorian doctor in a private clinic for patients with disabilities. It was awesome to have the hands-on experience and be able to contribute something to the host country.

How can this program be improved?
Assigning host families and students more carefully based on their requests.
Yes, I recommend
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IES Quito

Quito is an excellent city for study abroad. It's big but easy to navigate and become familiar, with easy and inexpensive public transportation. My host family was absolutely wonderful - accommodating, caring, friendly and patient, and went out of their way to welcome me. I found nearly all the Ecuadorians I came into contact with, whether my classmates, professors, or random strangers to be very warm and eager to share their country. Quito has great nightlife and easy accessibility to the rest of the country via bus.

I was very pleased with IES staff - they always went out of their way to make sure we were safe and content. Field trips were well-planned, exciting and fun. When I was sick one of the directors brought me to the doctor, another helped me with a tough academic situation. That being said, the only negative aspect of the IES program was the class I took at PUCE, the university. While IES classes had great professors and content, the class in which I directly enrolled had confusing policies, unfair grading and a professor who refused to work with me as a foreign exchange student. Some of my friends also had issues with classes there, but luckily the credits didn't matter for my university.

I had an incredible experience in Quito and I would recommend this country and program in a heartbeat!

Yes, I recommend


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