- Develop meaningful connections with indigenous communities during the BCA excursion to the Amazon and learn directly from them about the issues that impact their lives and community, from matters of environmental justice to the tension between modernization and traditional practices.
- Get involved in the Quito community by interning or volunteering at a variety of agencies, non-profits or foundations that work with different communities in Quito. Your Resident Director can connect you to community partners where you can learn about their mission and work and the ways you can support and learn from them during your time abroad.
- Live with an Ecuadorian family to learn about local customs, traditions and food, reflect on the socio-economic diversity of Ecuador, and develop your Spanish-language proficiency.
Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) hosts approximately 6,000 students, including 1,000 international students, across its various campuses. USFQ is ranked in the top three universities in Ecuador and offers areas of study across a wide array of academic disciplines making it a perfect location to fulfill major or general education requirements. You can also apply for the Latitude Zero: Ecuador Research Initiative (LOERI) which pairs you with a USFQ faculty member completing research in their field. Or, you can challenge yourself and connect to the community through an internship in education, social sciences or health professions.
There are many ways for you to become involved in the community and to learn about Ecuadorian culture and traditions from local people. You can join the university’s Ecua-buddies program where you are matched with an Ecuadorian student and encouraged to do fun activities together. Living with a host family gives you the chance learn about holiday celebrations, family customs and tasty traditional dishes! If you’re interested in volunteering, there are placements available with local non-profit organizations such as a medical clinic, refugee services agency or an agency working on development through sport.
Cultural Activities & Excursions
Your Resident Director will guide you throughout the semester, helping you understand and process your experiences. Together you will traverse the historical center of Quito, visit a cloud forest, hike around volcanic lakes, and visit the renowned Galapagos Islands all while exploring how your visits and presence impacts the local culture and environment. The BCA signature excursion varies by term, but in the past has been a multi-day visit to the Ecuadorian Amazon Basin to meet and learn about indigenous communities, participate in a homestay, and learn about the contemporary issues that threaten their culture and way of life.
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. Quito is home to a beautiful historical center, dozens of museums, theater, symphonic concerts, 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.
Program Quick Facts
Fall Semester: April 1
Spring Semester: October 15
Fall: 3 semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent
Language of Instruction:
Spring: 4 semesters of college-level Spanish or equivalent
Universidad de San Francisco de Quito
Fall Semester: Late July – Mid-December
Other Program Opportunities:
Spring Semester: Early January – Mid-May
Internships and volunteer placements available