A place that’s bonded to two hemispheres, Ecuador offers foreign students a well-rounded study overseas experience. No other place captures the country’s diverse elements as well as Quito, the capital city and gateway to an array of cultural learning experiences.

Students of history will thrive in Quito, a city that effortlessly blends old world with new, while those completing coursework in the natural sciences may find Quito an ideal base for research in the Galápagos. Additionally, Latin American Studies and Spanish language majors will enjoy supplementing their classwork with real-world interactions.

From there, Quito comes alive in its streets and the surrounding area. Most notably, the old quarter is revered as a display of the capital’s diverse roots. Other Quito staples highlight the city’s connection with its unique geographical features, like the Monument to the Equator or nearby Pichincha volcano. Quito is undoubtedly an exciting place to call home for a semester or more.

From the unique confluence of cultures to one-of-a-kind local cuisine, Quito has captured the hearts of many an international student.

Culture & Immersion

As the home of one of UNESCO’s inaugural World Heritage Sites, Quito certainly sets the bar for overseas cultural experiences. Students will have a window to the past in the old historic center, a quarter that fuses European and Incan influences in local art and architecture.

Over at the National Museum, students will learn about indigenous culture and the impact of European colonialism on Ecuador’s development. Of course, living in a modern city, students will be able to experience firsthand how Quito’s many diverse characteristics come to life in the present day.

Culture Shock & Support

It’s normal to experience a dash of culture shock when traveling overseas. As long as you don’t let your anxieties get the best of you, it won’t be long before you find yourself enamored with Quito. You can beat culture shock by looking into your program’s guidance options, connecting with your fellow students, or setting out to explore Quito, reminding yourself what this trip is all about.


Ecuador is home to many religions, with Quito home to a large Catholic population. During the course of your program, you may encounter citywide religious celebrations around holidays like Easter and Christmas. Additionally, the cuisine is guaranteed to be a highlight of living in Ecuador’s capital -- be sure grab a bite of traditional llapingachos, also known as potato pancakes, while you’re there.

Insider Tips on Studying in Quito

While Quito isn’t immune to the usual risks of city living, it’s overall a safe place to study overseas. One pesky thing that students may encounter is altitude sickness -- living at over 9,000 feet, headaches and nausea might haunt your first few days in Quito. Hydration, sleep, and ibuprofen should help while you adjust, and you’ll feel back on top of the world in no time.

If your heart is set on Quito, then it’s time to take your first steps towards studying overseas. This section will cover programs, accommodation, and getting around Quito.

Course Types

There are many different types of programs that study abroad students elect to undertake. For direct enrollment courses, you’ll apply to a Quito institution yourself and take regular classes alongside local students. Direct exchange programs will also allow you to immerse yourself in Quito's student life, though your choices will be limited to those schools that are associated with your home institution.

Finally, through third-party providers, you can join an overseas program made for study abroad students. While you’ll admittedly miss out on some academic immersion experiences, you can always make up for it through home stays and group tours, which are typically offered by most providers.


Study abroad students in Quito typically reside in university housing. Third-party organizations will also provide their own student housing for participants. If you're hoping to fine-tune your Spanish language skills while in Quito, think about doing a homestay instead -- that way, you’ll be able to practice your Spanish and experience firsthand the local way of life.


The bus and trolley network is the main mode of transport for getting around Ecuador’s capital city, with relatively inexpensive fares. If you’re studying in Quito in late 2019 or after, then you’ll get to be one of the first to try out the city’s new metro system. For exploring beyond Quito, buses can take you into the Ecuadorian countryside or to neighboring nations like Peru.

Curious about the costs students can expect for studying overseas in Quito? See below for financial information to help you start budgeting for your trip.

Cost of Living

From transportation to food, the cost of living in Ecuador is remarkably lower than that in the U.S. One-way fares on Quito’s current bus and trolley network are around the equivalent of a U.S. quarter, and Numbeo estimates that grocery prices are about 77% lower than what you’re used to. Keep in mind, low expenses can be devious, so be sure to track your spending to ensure that you don’t accidentally go over budget.


For visas, 90 is the magic number -- foreign students in Quito under 90 days don’t need a visa, while those over will. Ecuador’s student visa process is rigorous, and, when applying, you’ll need to submit a completed background check, proof of your acceptance at a Quito institution, and evidence of sufficient funds to support your stay. Additionally, there’s also a small visa fee.

Can You Work While Studying In Quito?

If you were hoping to take on a side hustle while studying in Quito, you’ll have to go the visa route. It’s possible to intern in Quito or, for graduate students, even work in your desired industry. Keep in mind, almost all opportunities will require strong Spanish skills to be successful in the workplace.


To help alleviate some of the financial burdens that come with studying overseas, explore the following scholarships available to Quito-bound students:

  • IES Abroad: Offering programs around the world, IES has scholarship opportunities for all participants, including those headed to Quito. Examine their need-based awards, donor-funded grants, and more to help fund your trip with them.
  • HECUA: HECUA also has a number of scholarships to choose from. Students that participate in their community internship program in Ecuador have an exclusive opportunity they can apply to.
  • Other Scholarships: That’s just a sample of what’s out there -- discover additional scholarships for studying overseas in Quito here.

Study Abroad Programs in Quito

Displaying 1 - 15 of 23 programs
IES Abroad
IES Abroad Quito – Area Studies & Language
9.67 •9 reviews

If you’re interested in improving your Spanish language skills, this...

IES Abroad
IES Abroad Quito Summer – Environmental Studies
9.75 •4 reviews

Based in Quito and featuring three weeks of field study in the...

IES Abroad
IES Abroad Quito Direct Enrollment – Universidad San Francisco de Quito
10 •2 reviews

While in Quito, you will directly enroll at the Universidad San...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation
9.47 •19 reviews

Ecuador is home to more than 1,600 species of birds and 10 percent of...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT Ecuador: Development, Politics, and Languages
9.5 •6 reviews

Study Ecuador's development processes while considering the...

Pacific Discovery
South America Semester – Cultural Immersion, Service Learning, Adventure
Multiple Countries
10 •7 reviews

Who do you want to be in the world? Join us for an insightful...

CIS Abroad
CIS Abroad - Semester in Ecuador - Universidad San Francisco de Quito
10 •1 review

Spend a semester or year studying alongside local students at Ecuador...

SIT Study Abroad
IHP: Food Systems: Agriculture, Sustainability, and Justice
Multiple Countries
10 •1 review

Study how the dynamics of food production, distribution, and...

CIS Abroad
CIS Abroad - Summer in Ecuador
9 •1 review

On our Summer in Ecuador program, you’ll live 9,000 feet above sea...

Living and Learning International
Ecuador Study Abroad Semester - Fall and Spring
9.81 •26 reviews

Living and Learning is an academically excellent semester abroad where...

BCA Study Abroad
BCA Study Abroad: Quito, Ecuador
10 •8 reviews

The BCA Quito program allows you to take courses at the Universidad...

HECUA: Social & Political Transformation in Ecuador
9.6 •5 reviews

HECUA offers students the chance to study abroad next J-Term in...

HECUA: Study and Intern in Ecuador
9 •4 reviews

HECUA offers a study abroad program that combines 20 hr/week community...

West Virginia University
Ecuador: Exploring Rural Community & Culture Through Service Learning with WVU

Students will travel to the city of Quito, the town of San Miguel de...

CCIS Study Abroad
CCIS Study Abroad in Ecuador

Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) is a four-year liberal arts...

What People Are Saying

I love my program. I didn't know what to expect when going to Ecuador, but I was nervous about taking such a big step. The Living and Learning International staff met me where I was, supported me...

A friend and I sitting at el Lago Quilotoa

Truly an exceptional job building community and encouraging personal development. I felt very invested in, from the other students and the younger staff all the way up to the directors and top leaders...

Students walk a street with old buildings and mountains in the background.

My experience was really great. They do a great job of helping us to see Ecuador. We traveled around a lot to different places like Baños, the jungle, Peru, Macchu Piccchu, and a place where we got to...

This was in Peru. When we went by the shops the ladies brought us in and dressed us up to take photos

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