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  • Locations: Quito, Ecuador
  • Program Terms: Academic Year, Fall, Spring
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: BCA Study Abroad 
  • Restrictions: None
Fact Sheet:
Language of instruction: Spanish Language prerequisite: Fall - 3 semesters of Spanish / Spring - 4 semesters of Spanish
Housing options: Host family Minimum GPA: 2.6
Class eligibility: Junior, Senior, Sophomore Number of credits: 12-16
Internships: Yes Service learning: Yes
Volunteer: Yes
Program Description:

About Quito
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 base of Mount Pichincha. With a climate referred to as “eternal spring,” Quito is a city of sun and sky and is surrounded by mountains and three snow-capped volcanoes. 

Life in Quito offers a mix of Spanish and indigenous traditions with modern international influences providing a rich and multifaceted backdrop for the study of historical Ecuador.  An ever-growing city of around 2 million people, Quito’s neighborhoods retain their small city atmosphere. As one of the most cultural cities in the world, Quito has plenty to offer including a beautiful historical center, dozens of museums, theater, symphonic concerts, multi-screen movie centers, state-of-the-art shopping centers, numerous parks and recreations centers and food of all kinds.

Quito is also a city of contrasts, a product of numerous cultural influences and stratified economic conditions. Students will witness such diversity through the disparity between colonial and modern architecture and rich and poor neighborhoods.

The University of San Francisco Quito (USFQ) is a private, liberal arts university ranked in the top three of Ecuadorian universities by the Ecuadorian Council of Evaluation and Accreditation of High Education. While most of the professors are Ecuadorian, instructors come from all over the world including the United States, Europe, Asia and other countries in Latin America. Nearly 90 percent of the faculty have doctoral degrees and have studied and/or worked outside of Ecuador.

USFQ is divided into 16 academic colleges and institutes spread across three campuses across Ecuador (Cumbayá-Quito, Tiputini Biodiversity Station, and the Galápagos Islands).

As a BCA Quito student, you will have the opportunity to the Spanish language and enroll in a wide variety of courses at USFQ, which offers courses including but not limited to: business, economics, marketing, interior design, biology, environmental science, education, international relations, psychology, digital animation, communications, music, physics, chemistry, math and engineering. To learn more about course offerings, visit our Course Database and review a list of Recommended Courses chosen by the BCA Resident Director. In addition to courses at the University, all BCA Quito students complete a BCA Signature Coursewhich focuses on language and culture.

Please note: If you plan on enrolling in regular courses at USFQ, inlcuding major or elective courses, we require that you have four semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent). These courses are intended for native Spanish speakers, so they require a higher proficiency in the language. If you plan on focusing your studies abroad solely on Spanish language courses, you can attend this program after completing two semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent).

Student Life
Quito is a vibrant setting for BCA students.  The university offers a balance of strong academics and social activities.  You will live with a host family and interact with professors and Ecuadorian students at the university.  Many BCA students also participate in internships and/or volunteer at a local organization. The BCA Quito director helps arrange these experiences for students. Volunteer opportunities include the following:

day care centers
schools for disabled children
teaching English as a second language in local schools
working in a variety of non-profit organizations

On the third day of your stay in Quito, you will move into the home of your host family. Host families range from middle to upper-middle class, with different resources available. While all families provide breakfast and dinner, a private room and laundry services, many also have Internet in the house or even a maid who does the cooking and cleaning. You will receive a lunch allowance each month, since you will not normally be home at that time. Some students prefer to make their own box lunch or purchase food at the many eateries near the university.

Educational Excursions
Your journey to the “land closest to the sun” will take you to the country’s diverse geographical regions, including:

Galapagos Islands:A five-day excursion to observe the amazing wildlife, learn about the islands’ natural and cultural history, and meet the people who live there.
Amazon: Journey to the Amazon to experience its tremendous biodiversity, witness the impacts of oil extraction, and visit indigenous communities struggling to maintain their cultural identity and ancestral land rights.
Otavalo: A visit to the indigenous town of Otavalo and its world-renowned artisan market.
Various day trips: Sites such as the Quito Historical Center, the cloud forest and a hike around a volcanic lake.
Papallacta Hot Springs: Hot springs in the Andes (over 11,000 feet).

Language Pre-Requisite
  • Completion of three semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) is required for students studying abroad in the fall semester.
  • Completion of four semesters of college-level Spanish (or equivalent) is required for students studying abroad in the spring semester.
  • The language requirement is lower for the fall semester, because students are required to participate in BCA’s pre-semester intensive, 4-credit language courseprior to starting classes.