Study Abroad in Quito, Ecuador

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Quito is the capital city in Ecuador. Founded in 1535, Quito was the first city ever to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is recognized by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of the top 20 destinations to visit in the world for 2013! Set high in the Andes Mountains, Quito is one of the highest capital cities in the world in terms of altitude. But it is Quito's rich colonial history and its ties to the orient that makes it an interesting city culturally.

Early in the 15th century, several tribes lived in what is now present-day Quito. Among them were the Quitus, from whom Quito derives its name. Quito is divided into an "old" section and a "new" section based on its colonial ties to Spain and to the indigenous groups of Ecuador. This allows visitors to experience both the wonders of the colonial past and the promise of a future rich in government and commerce.

Students wishing to take courses that focus on Spanish language, history, culture, or environmental studies might choose to study abroad in Quito. Its prime geographic location, history to the Inca tribes, food and nightlife make this a popular location for students to study abroad.

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Does studying abroad sound fabulous but expensive? While it is true, studying abroad can mean added costs, there are still a variety of ways to offset the extra expenses. If you're not up for opening a lemonade stand, I suggest checking out the following scholarships.

Culture and Immersion

Ecuador's unique colonial history means that studying abroad in Quito will give you a unique cultural experience unlike anything you have ever dreamed of. With towering cathedrals, market places, many of the original structures here are more and 500 years old and are still largely intact. Consider visiting the Metropolitan Cathedral or Basilica del Voto Nacional situated on Independence Plaza where you can also see a number of the government buildings, or have a walk around the Quito Botanical Gardens. Also don't miss the church of La Compañía is a stunning display of Jesuit wealth, as nearly the entire inside of the church is plated in gold.

Like many South American cultures, the people in Quito have a very close bond with each other and with the region. Family is extremely important and living with a family is a particularly great way to get acquainted with the local culture and way of life. Many students find this such an enriching and rewarding experience that they keep in touch for their host families for years after spending just a few short months with them.

Affordability

Study abroad programs vary in cost depending on which school or company you go through but generally range from $10,000 to $15,000. Ask your university whether scholarships you receive for each semester can be used towards your study abroad expenses. Also, some schools will offer scholarships for study abroad students check to see what is offered by your host university as well. It is important to see what is included in your program. Many programs will offer orientations, social adjustment programs, and excursions so be sure to see what yours is offering.

Living in Quito is relatively inexpensive as long as you are not picky about buying brand names in terms of clothing, food, and other products. Local fruits and vegetables are very inexpensive and a there are various markets around the city where you can do shopping.

For travel around the city, taxis are relatively cheap more recommended for travel around the city, especially at night. Check with your university or study abroad program for recommendations about local buses in your area but generally taxis are safer.

Culture Shock and Support System

Traveling to a new place always requires some form of cultural adjustment. Food in Ecuador might be a little different than what you are used to in America (expect to find guinea pig on the menu!) and families always eat together. It is also customary in Ecuador to greet people with a kiss on the cheek so don't be alarmed if this happens often. The main thing to get used to will probably be the closeness of the culture but you will experience a little less of this in the capital city of Quito than in some of the smaller towns.

Participating in an activity that you enjoyed at home such as volunteer work or joining a sports team might help make you feel a little less like a stranger in your host city. The most important thing to remember is that things are going to be different and it might seem scary, but remember that is why you wanted to go abroad! Just take a deep breath and enjoy the experience of a lifetime.

Contributed by Jessica Scarfuto

Showing 24 Programs

Ecuador

IES Abroad
If you’re interested in improving your Spanish language skills, this program offers you the opportunity to rapidly improve yo...

Ecuador

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IES Abroad
Based in Quito and featuring three weeks of field study in the Galápagos Islands, this program allows you to study issues of...

Ecuador

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IES Abroad
While in Quito, you will directly enroll at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) and take all of your courses at the...

Ecuador

HECUA
HECUA offers a study abroad program that combines 20 hr/week community-based internships, small seminar-style discussion, and...

Ecuador

Yanapuma Foundation and Spanish School
This is a 20-hour per week course of intensive Spanish study at beginner and intermediate levels. The course runs in both our...

Ecuador

Yanapuma Foundation and Spanish School
Yanapuma Foundation and Spanish School offers a huge range of options for volunteering, learning Spanish, and traveling in Ec...

Ecuador

Yanapuma Foundation and Spanish School
The Volunteer Quito and Volunteer Cuenca program is a one-month program of Spanish classes and volunteering. Three hours of S...

Ecuador

Athena Study Abroad
Quito, Ecuador is located in the upper region of South America, close to Columbia. It is a remarkable city that infuses South...

Ecuador

API
API students selecting Quito as their study abroad destination will complete their coursework at the Universidad San Francisc...

Ecuador

API
API High School invites high school students (ages 16-18) to spend next summer on the Service Program in Ecuador: Conservatio...

Ecuador

SIT Study Abroad
Ecuador is home to more than 1,600 species of birds and 10 percent of the world’s known vascular plant species. Students on S...

Ecuador

SIT Study Abroad
Study Ecuador's development processes while considering the relationship between power and discourse as the country's multili...

Ecuador

CISabroad
Study in Ecuador at Universidad San Francisco de Quito with CISabroad! A small country with enormous biodiversity, Ecuador is...

Ecuador

BCA Study Abroad
The capital of Ecuador, Quito (full name San Francisco de Quito) lies at 9,000 feet above sea level in a high valley at the b...

Venezuela

COINED International
With glaciers on one side and Caribbean beaches on the other, not to mention grassy plains, snowy peaks, deserts, salt flats...