• Ecuador
    • Quito
    • Galapagos
Fall, Spring
Subject Areas
Biology Botany Conservation and Preservation Natural Sciences

Program Details

Program Type
Degree Level
Host Family


Starting Price
What's Included
Some Activities Airport Transfers Classes Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Accommodation Some Activities Airfare Meals SIM cards Visa
Jan 24, 2022
Jan 13, 2022
7 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Ecuador is home to more than 1,600 species of birds and 10 percent of the world’s known vascular plant species. Students on SIT's Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation program have the opportunity to interact with community members and local stakeholders who are grappling with conservation strategies within the context of heightened political, economic, and social pressures provide valuable context.

The program base is historic Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Educational excursions take students to the high sierras of the Andes, the epiphyte-rich cloud forest, the rugged snow-line páramo, and the vast rainforest of the Ecuadorian Amazon. A guided, weeklong visit to the extraordinary Galápagos Islands provides access to plant and animal species found nowhere else on earth.

Video and Photos


SIT Robert Kantor Memorial Scholarship

Each year one student will be granted $10,000 in scholarship aid to study abroad with a SIT program. Funded by individual donors and foundations, the requirements are tight: seeking first-generation college students who've never traveled abroad before, currently attend an HBCU, and demonstrate strong financial need.


Program Reviews

4.86 Rating
based on 22 reviews
  • 5 rating 86.36%
  • 4 rating 13.64%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Academics 4.45
  • Support 4.8
  • Fun 4.7
  • Housing 4.6
  • Safety 4.4
Showing 1 - 8 of 22 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

3 Months of Gaining Independence while Adventuring throughout Ecuador's Unique Ecosystems

I loved the experiential learning that this program offered. With a greater independence in our projects, I became a lot more confident as a student and a scientist. The academic rigor of this program made it all the more rewarding. The leaders of our program, Xavier, Ana María, and Diana, were all very knowledgeable and available whenever assistance was needed. As a part of our courses, we had the opportunity to travel all throughout Ecuador - the Andes Mountains, the Cloud Forest, the Amazon, and the Galapagos. Another irreplaceable outcome from this program was the friends for life that I made.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Snorkeling in the Galapagos with sea lions and sea turtles!
25 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An Unforgettable Adventure

This program was an amazing experience! We travelled to beautiful sites and learned about so many amazing plants and animals in situ. I was challenged academically and I gained a lot confidence in myself. The academic directors were very knowledgeable and experienced, and I was encouraged to ask questions about anything I was interested in. The program is divided between excursions to field sites, where most of the ecology teaching/learning takes place, and time in the city, where we took Spanish classes and had various other lectures. We were given many opportunities to practice field techniques, and the various assignments throughout the semester helped prepare me for the Independent Study Project, which was the most challenging and rewarding academic experience I've ever had.

Most of my criticisms have to due with changes that were made to the program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This included cancelling the homestay element and housing the entire group of students in a hostel in a small town that was very far from Quito. We were able to make our own fun, but there was no social scene near where we were housed. Additionally, there were very few programmed activities aside from the field excursions.

Overall, I would recommend this program to anyone who is interested in studying ecology in the field and improving their Spanish - there were ample opportunities to do both!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We got snorkel off the boat every day we stayed on the Nemo III in the Galápagos! I had never been snorkeling, so the entire experience - wetsuits and all - was astonishing. My favorite part was getting surprised by a group of sea lions who swam up to us and played with us underwater! It was one of my very favorite parts of the entire trip!
25 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An Unbelievable Opportunity

This program is very different from a lot of study abroad experiences. For one, you get to explore every ecosystem of Ecuador: from the dry forest to the cloud forest to the Amazon to the Galapagos. You get to see first hands the characteristics of these different natural places, along with the history and culture of the people that live within them. During this program, I also gained a large sense of self respect and self sufficiency. I learned to be level-headed and make solid decisions quickly and effectively. There were so many opportunities to work my peers and improve my ability to write scientific reports and communicate with those around me. I also met so many incredible people and had the opportunity to practice my Spanish speaking and comprehension.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
During the Amazon excursions, we went boating late at night on this huge, beautiful lagoon to find caimans. We were able to find out that was nearly 15 feet long.
29 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Exploring Ecuador Through Fieldwork, Travel, and Spanish Immersion

This was an incredible semester experience that allowed me to pursue my academic interests (biology/environmental science/animal behavior), improve my Spanish skills, learn a lot about a new culture, experience places and things I would never have been able to as a tourist, and make some life-long friends. The excursions included so much more than I imagined and I really enjoyed the hands-on learning approach. The program staff was fantastic and really prioritized our understanding. All of the students in the program were extremely passionate people who took the experience seriously and worked hard.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Every student came into this program from a different background. Although the majority of students had studied biology/environmental science at their home institutions, there were others who had studied music/English/etc. Everyone's Spanish skills were also very different and everyone improved so much. There was also a wide diversity of experience as it related to research and fieldwork. All this being said, don't let your experiences prior to going abroad make you feel like this won't be a good fit.
38 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Great opportunity for travel, field learning, and research

This study abroad provided valuable learning in the field, as well as experience in research and academic writing. The adventurous excursions to observe plants, animals, adaptations and symbiotic relationships, environmental impact and conservation efforts, field research methods, and much much more resulted in a rewarding and "once in a lifetime" experience, while being interspersed with regular class time and assignments to improve scientific writing, spanish language skills, and general ecological knowledge. This mix made for a semester full of flexibility, rigor, fun, and lots of new things. The homestay provided additional experience with the culture and the language. All together, this program created a study abroad that will benefit students well beyond the end of the semester. I thoroughly enjoyed my SIT Ecuador: comparative ecology and conservation semester and will never forget the lasting friendships and connections that were formed during the semester.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Too many to count! The Galapagos was definitely a highlight - seeing iguanas, tortoises, sea trutles, sharks, rays, eels, penguins, finches, and much much more!
35 people found this review helpful.
Studying the Moth Family Saturniidae
Yes, I recommend this program

Exciting, Adventurous and Career-Defining Equatorial Experience

Doing this program was one of the best decisions I ever made! It was academically challenging, and each part of the program was engineered to push students to their highest potential. I walked away with confidence in the language, research development, and new interests. The professors and fellow students were incredibly inspiring, and it was hard to leave when the program ended. I will continue to search for academic environments like what I found in this program, and will remember my time on this program for the rest of my life! I would highly suggest this program go any hard worker environmental student searching for the tools needed to make positive change in the world.

37 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The experience of a lifetime

The professors in this program were incredible. They were so enthusiastic that it was contagious. They are so caring too and love what they do and are good at it! They also tailor things to the group of students they have e.g. spanish intensity and topcis of interest. The excursions were out of this world, places you've only dreamed of going/ have only seen on nature documentaries. Some examples are the galapagos, cloud forest, Yunguilla, Páramo, etc. I can't speak for eeveryone else, but my personal host family was so sweet and I had so much fun with them. Overall this program is rich in experience if that is what you are looking for. Forget sitting in the classroom every day in your typical mundane college experience. This is an experience that will change you, your perspectives, and you will never forget it.

What would you improve about this program?
packing list, non-traditional gender and sexuality considerations
40 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Above-and-beyond experience in Ecuador!

The program absolutely lived up to the expectations of being immersed in Ecuador's amazing biodiversity and complex conservation challenges. I learned so much through the experiential, comparative approach of the program. Furthermore, the opportunity to perform independent real-world field research was invaluable and allowed me to develop practical skills for my future. The Galapagos alone makes this program worth the value, and it is so much more beyond that! Visiting the paramo, cloud forest, Amazon, and other ecosystems gives a comprehensive view of research and conservation methods. The program staff is passionate about what they do and very helpful throughout the course of the program. I would absolutely recommend this program to anyone passionate about ecology, conservation, and Spanish! I would do it all again in a heartbeat.

36 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers