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Ecuador Semester


Earlham’s Ecuador Program is designed for students who want to develop and increase their ability to speak, write, read and think in Spanish language while studying the history, culture, arts and literature of the Andean region, particularly Ecuador.

Program Location

The program will be based in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. At an altitude of 9,350 feet, Quito is the highest official capital city in the world, situated in the northern highlands of Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin. As many Latin American cities with a colonial past, the complex history of the Indigenous, Mestizo, European and Afro descendants are expressed through the architecture, music, politics and cultural activities of the city. The latest census showed that the population of Quito is approximately 1,600,000, the second most populous city in Ecuador after Guayaquil. The historic center of Quito has one of the largest, least-altered and best-preserved historic centers in the Americas with over 130 monumental buildings and was declared in 1978 as one of the first World Cultural Heritage sites. There are over 20 universities, making Quito a vibrant, youthful college city. Just outside of Quito is what is known as the Mitad del Mundo, or Center of the World. At 00 00'00", this is a location where one can stand in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres at the same time!

Living Arrangements

Students will live and eat all meals with Ecuadorian families in Quito throughout the program. Living with host families enhances the language acquisition process and reinforces the cultural immersion experience.


Click here to apply online for the Ecuador Program.


Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador

Students will be enrolled in the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, a prestigious private university located in the heart of the cultural center of Quito, within walking distance of the Casa de la Cultura and Parque el Ejido, where free cultural activities such as film festivals, concerts, theater and literary symposiums take place daily. At the University, students will be enrolled in Facultad de Comunicación Lingüística y Literatura Escuela de Lenguas, as well as the facultad de Ciencias Humanas. Students will have access to all university facilities.

Courses and Credits

Students will earn a total of 18 semester credits for the successful completion of the program. All students will be full-time participants in all of the courses that are offered and all students will receive grades for each course. Courses will be taught in Spanish. Grades will be sent to the Earlham Registrar and will be included in the student's GPA.

Students will be evaluated by the School of Language at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador and placed into an appropriate language course for their level of proficiency in Spanish. All students will take an Andean Travel Narrative Course with Rodolfo Guzmán, the Faculty Leader of this program. Students will also participate in the development of a media project that includes a required internship, field study or ethnographic project. Students who demonstrate superior language proficiency may be allowed to take courses in literature, history, politics, art, music and humanities in general at the University. Students who enroll in an art or music class will fulfill the Earlham College A-HT General Education requirement. Courses that may fulfill other Gen Ed requirements must be petitioned prior to the program.

Program Excursions

There will be several educational excursions to nearby locations as well as a weeklong group travel experience. For the duration of the program, students will be based in Quito. During the orientation week in Quito, students will have the opportunit to explore the city and familiarize themselves with the distinctive historical districts, landmarks, transportation systems and cultural centers. During the semester, various cultural excursions are planned that focus on anthropological, political and social topics such as visits to eco-sustainability centers, Afro-Ecuadorian communities, and important urban centers outside of Quito. Students may travel to cities and places such as Cuenca and the Southern Highlands, Baños de Agua Santa (Thermal Waters), the Pululahua Geobotanical Reserve and Otavalo. Some excursions will be day trips and others will require overnight stays. The program includes a week in Bahía de Caráquez, a coastal city in the Manabi province, where students will participate in workshops and classes with La Ponderosa Media Project in filmmaking and anthropology of food.

Pre-Departure Course and Post-Return Course

Students accepted to the Ecuador Program are required to participate in Cross-Cultural Explorations I (1 credit) prior to departure and Cross-Cultural Explorations II (1 credit) after they return. Pre-departure sessions are designed to prepare students for the cross-cultural experience and will include readings, activities, films, lectures, and discussions with former participants of the program. A weekend retreat is part of this course. Students and parents will receive a Handbook of important information prior to the program. Following return to campus, students will participate in a 7-week course that will guide them in processing, analyzing and building upon their off-campus experience. Credit for Cross-Cultural Explorations I is dependent upon successful completion of the semester program.

Academic Programs



The cost of the program is equivalent to one semester of on-campus tuition, room, board and fees. Program charges cover academic and educational costs, room, board, cultural events, and required group excursions.

A $350 deposit is required after acceptance to the program, which is part of the total program cost. Students on financial aid are eligible to apply their aid to one Earlham or Earlham-approved off-campus program during their college career.

Additional Costs

Students will need to plan for additional money to cover round-trip airfare, passport and visa fees, books, cell phones, health costs, personal expenses, and costs for the independent travel period during break.


Students are responsible for arranging their own flights to and from Ecuador. Information on travel options will also be available during orientation.


Undergraduate students of all academic backgrounds and majors in good standing with the College are encouraged to apply. Students must complete at least Spanish 102 prior to the program. Selection for the program will be conducted by a student and faculty committee.

Program Dates

The tentative dates of the program are August 5 - December 14. Students who must return to Earlham prior to the end of classes at the Pontificia Universidad Católica will make arrangements with Rodolfo and the University at the beginning of the semester.


Students may pick up applications in the International Programs Office (IPO) in 131 Landrum Bolling Center or apply online at:

Program Policies

Policies for all Earlham and Earlham-approved off-campus study opportunities can be found here.

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