Service Learning in Ecuador

  • New Offering icon

Expand your horizons while lending a hand.

Engage in a mutually-beneficial service project alongside locals to learn more about yourself, the local community, Ecuador, and the world and your place in it. This service learning program will place you in a community-based project that addresses a local need or issue. You’ll work alongside locals while also being encouraged to think critically and reflect through online service learning coursework. Of course it’s not all work and no play! You’ll also participate in a range of social and cultural activities, tours, and trips organized by our wonderful on-site staff. Ecuador may seem small, but it packs so much in that you’ll still have to prioritize!


What to Expect:

  • Language: English and Spanish
  • Average Courseload: 3-4 U.S. credits (100-140 service hours)
  • GPA Requirement: 2.5
  • Visa Requirements: NONE Required!

Highlights:

  • Service placements for all levels of Spanish speakers
  • Form relationships with local communities through service projects
  • Incredible weekend excursions and on-site support included
  • 3-4 credits available (100-140 service hours)
  • Online service learning course available for credit

Internship Placements

Environment & Sustainability internships available in Ecuador

Below are a few sample Environment & Sustainability placements undertaken by past participants. There are many more possibilities, as each placement is customized. Contact an advisor to learn more!

Other countries with Environment & Sustainability internships
<h4>Production Intern at Organic/Biodynamic Farm</h4>

Production Intern at Organic/Biodynamic Farm

Work the land at an organic farm that is a regional benchmark for sustainable and profitable, responsible production. You’ll learn about reforestation, permaculture, and community organization as you meet volunteers and interns from the whole world. Live and work with amazing views and weather, where the animals live free. Responsibilities include supporting the farm store, permaculture gardening, and other various farm tasks.

<h4>Intern at Sustainable Cloud Forest Community</h4>

Intern at Sustainable Cloud Forest Community

Learn about sustainable economic alternatives and community tourism with this internship that can have a variety of hands-on responsibilities. Depending on organizational needs and skill fit, interns may work on environmental education, teaching English, forest research (non-timber resource research, like orchids, bromeliads, and medicinal plants), organic gardening (planting, weeding, harvest and post-harvest, bed preparation, maintenance), family farms, and dairy and jam processing.

Human Rights & Welfare internships available in Ecuador

Below are a few sample Human Rights & Welfare placements undertaken by past participants. There are many more possibilities, as each placement is customized. Contact an advisor to learn more!

Other countries with Human Rights & Welfare internships
<h4>Intern at Nonprofit Civil Society Organization</h4>

Intern at Nonprofit Civil Society Organization

Gain experience at a local organization that works to promote, defend, and restore human rights and nature. While shadowing staff, you’ll learn about administrative and planning processes and support daily functions of the organization. After a few weeks, you’ll work in the field supporting outside workshops. Over time, you’ll gain experience with long-term goal development and implementation.

Public Health & Well-being internships available in Ecuador

Below are a few sample Public Health & Well-being placements undertaken by past participants. There are many more possibilities, as each placement is customized. Contact an advisor to learn more!

Other countries with Public Health & Well-being internships
<h4>Education Intern at Rural Public School</h4>

Education Intern at Rural Public School

Work with the kids of a rural public school to teach them about hygiene, healthy habits, nutrition, and other themes through demonstrations, role plays, and generally interactive instructional methods. You may also help other teachers in preparing and delivering their lessons, as well as classroom management and administrative tasks.

Women’s Empowerment internships available in Ecuador

Below are a few sample Women’s Empowerment placements undertaken by past participants. There are many more possibilities, as each placement is customized. Contact an advisor to learn more!

Other countries with Women’s Empowerment internships
<h4>Intern at Human Trafficking Support Organization</h4>

Intern at Human Trafficking Support Organization

Learn about localized response and prevention efforts for adolescent victims of sex trafficking while you provide specific forms of support. While the adolescents are at the healing home, they are provided psychological support (individual and in groups), social support (focused on education, health, and societal reintegration), and legal support as they recover. Interns will help support occupational workshops, equine therapy, educational activities, dance therapy, arts, and psychological support sessions.

Program Details

Plymouth State University

A respected New Hampshire university, Plymouth State University is CIS Abroad’s accrediting partner for internship and service learning programs. Plymouth State University is a NEASC-accredited institution with over 20 years of experience awarding internship credit both domestically and internationally. Plymouth State University has been nationally recognized for its commitment to the environment and for innovative programs that are making an impact, both regionally and globally.

Participants will be enrolled in an online Global Service Learning for Credit program in partnership with Plymouth State University.

Course Description

Global, community-based learning combines community service outside the U.S. with academic instruction, focusing on critical, reflective thinking and personal and civic responsibility. In this interdisciplinary course, the student will collaborate with a community partner abroad to complete a signature service project that addresses a significant problem, issue, or question as identified by the local host community.

Prerequisites: Minimum of 60 credit hours completed (generally sophomore status)

Syllabus – IS4220 Signature Project: Global Community-Based Learning

HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR COURSES

This one is super easy – there’s just one course! Students will collaborate with a community partner abroad to complete a signature service project that addresses a significant problem, issue, or question as identified by the local host community.

To earn service learning credit from Plymouth State, students MUST do a minimum of 100 service hours (3 credit) or 140 service hours (4 credit). Students MUST be enrolled in the online PSU course in order to do the service learning placement.

COURSE APPROVAL

Make sure to talk with your home university about course and service learning credit approval. Again, to earn service learning credit from PSU, students must do a minimum of 100 service hours. Junior status is also required for this program.

GPA REQUIREMENTS

If your GPA is lower than the requirement listed at the top of this page, don’t despair! Get in touch to let us know your situation. In many cases, you can submit additional application materials to make your case for acceptance.

Prerequisites: Minimum of 60 credit hours completed (generally sophomore status)

Why Life in Quito

From lively indigenous festivals to lovely outdoor cafés in tranquil parks, Quito is a city of wonderful contrasts. It has a mixed history of ancient empires and colonialism. This history is visible in the ruins that dot the landscape and in the incredible Spanish-style churches and leafy plazas. UNESCO named the entire downtown a World Heritage site. They described Quito as having “the best-preserved, least-altered historic center in Latin America.”

Quito comprises several distinct neighborhoods. You’ll love the historic downtown with its colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and street vendors selling everything you can possibly imagine. Equally fun is the Mariscal Sucre, the heart of the traveler scene in Quito. It’s rife with international restaurants, travel agencies, and hostels, and has a very lively dance scene. In other neighborhoods, you can visit an incredible museum that pays tribute to Oswaldo Guayasamin (Quito’s favorite artist), independent cinemas, and bohemian enclaves. If music is your passion, you can tap your feet to live traditional Andean tunes, pulsating salsa, and cumbia. Lastly, you can get lost for hours in the local parks and craft markets set amidst colonial grandeur. Most importantly, it’s all easily accessible by bus, taxi, or foot.

Volcanoes and the impressive Andes mountains surround Quito. Every day, you’ll glimpse stunning views of the Pichincha Valley and the snow-capped peaks of Cotopaxi, an active volcano. At the same time, you can access other amazing opportunities for exploration from the highest capital in the world. Ecuador is packed with adventure and amazing biodiversity, from the Amazonian jungle to crater lakes to the Galapagos Islands. Getting to these locations is easy and quick. Furthermore, you can be on the beach in the morning, Quito in the afternoon, and the Amazon jungle at night, all in the same day!

Live La Vida Local

  • Cooking classes

    Learn how to prepare the local cuisine and surprise your family when you go back home!

  • Metropolitan Park

    Walk through the woods in the middle of the city of Quito.

  • Music concerts at local restaurants / bars

    Enjoy jazz, Blues, Salsa, in a cozy environment while eating a good meal.

  • Dance classes

    Becoming a great salsa dancer isn’t easy...it takes practice!

  • Soccer games

    We love soccer and you will have plenty of opportunities to see a game.

  • Movie theater

    Tuesdays are the best days since it’s two for the price of one!

Homestay in Quito

Location

Truly immerse yourself in Ecuadorian culture with a homestay in Quito. Participants typically say that living with a local family was their favorite part of their experience abroad. Your host family will treat you like a member of the family – and even do your laundry for you every week! This safe, comfortable, secure home will help you integrate into your life abroad.

The photos are of participants Rebecca and Victoria with their host families. Look at those smiling faces!

Meals

Your host family will prepare breakfast and dinner for you, allowing you to get to know (and love) Quiteño cooking!

Inclusions and Amenities

  • BathroomShared
  • Bed linens
  • Laundry
  • MealsHomestay

What's Included

Inclusions

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

  • Service Learning course fee – Plymouth State University
  • Service learning placement and supervision
  • Housing
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • Pre-departure and onsite orientation
  • One excursion
  • Financial aid counseling
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • Airport pickup service
  • On-site support
  • La Vida Local cultural program

Program Excursions

While participating on a CIS Abroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.
Pichincha Volcano (by cable car)

Pichincha Volcano (by cable car)

Take a cable car 12,943 feet up to enjoy a magnificent view of Quito. You can walk through the paramo (high mountain vegetation), where there’s a cool but enjoyable breeze.

Otavalo Indigenous Market and Cuicocha Lake

Otavalo Indigenous Market and Cuicocha Lake

Visit one of the biggest and most colorful indigenous markets in Latin America, where you can buy traditional trinkets and eat delicious local food. Plus, take a boat ride in Cuicocha Lake, which is at the foot of a volcano.

Quilotoa Volcano

Quilotoa Volcano

Hike down to the historic crater lake and ride donkeys back up to the top, while admiring the spectacular view!

Site Director

Diana Balarezo
Travel Tip:

Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and home to 14 different indigenous nationalities. Be prepared to experience new landscapes, aromas, tastes, sounds and people. Respect the places and the people you will be with and never stop learning!

Travel Tip:

Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world and home to 14 different indigenous nationalities. Be prepared to experience new landscapes, aromas, tastes, sounds and people. Respect the places and the people you will be with and never stop learning!

About:

Diana Balarezo is a trilingual (Spanish, English and French) Ecuadorian that has worked in the tourism industry for many years. An active volunteer of the United Nations World Tourism Organization, she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Tourism Development and Hospitality and a Master’s degree in Social and Environmental studies. Diana was the Ecuador national coordinator of a volunteers’ non-profit organization with more than eighty member countries, as well as the US market leader of the biggest tourism company in Ecuador. She lived in the US as a student and after, as a restaurant manager at a Ski Resort in Idaho, where she learned to snowboard and still misses it. She has traveled extensively around Ecuador, backpacked in Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Guatemala and Mexico. She has camped in some National Reserves in the US and Canada and has visited Spain, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria, among others. Diane’s hobbies include sports such as trail running and mountain biking, as well as watching movies and reading a nice book.

Your Support Staff

Global Advising Team
Travel Tip:

We love what we do and want to talk to you! The Global Advising Center is here to help you decide on a program, and complete the Online Application. From the moment you first hear from us—be it through a text, phone call, email or personal visit—you will find that our passion for international education is contagious. We’re ready to launch you abroad.

Michelle Everard
Travel Tip:

Journal, journal, journal! Write down the little things, the strange details & whatever made you laugh. It’s the little things that make a trip amazing and are easily the most forgotten.

Alexandra Woolner
Travel Tip:

Expect the unexpected! Sometimes culture shock is stronger in countries where you expect things to be more similar to your home country and environment. Traveling abroad is an excellent way to learn more about your own culture, habits, style, and adaptability.

Add-Ons

One-Week Workshop at the Amazonian Wildlife Rescue Center

Want to cuddle and nurse animals back to health during your time in Ecuador? Great news! You can add on an intensive workshop at an Amazonian Wildlife Rescue Center, and get the opportunity to cuddle all the animals you want. The best part? There’s no additional cost!

Cuddling Animals at The Amazonian Wildlife Rescue Center

Let’s cut to the chase. We know you’re down for cuddling animals in Ecuador, but WHERE will you get to do it? At the Amazonian Wildlife Rescue Center of course!

The main objective of the center is to rescue and take care of animals that have been victims of hunting or illegal trafficking and to return them to their natural environment, if possible.

Located only four and a half hours from Quito (where most of you will do your internships), and 10 minutes away from the closest city, the Rescue Center is fully immersed in the huge biodiversity of the Amazon!

But don’t worry, you’ll still be close to shops and restaurants when you have free time.

What’s Included in this FREE Workshop Add-on?

  • A week before your internship spent cuddling animals in Ecuador (did we mention the animal cuddling??)
  • Introduction to operant conditioning in wildlife
  • Tools used for conditioning
  • Training of wild specimens for veterinary practices without stressing animals
  • Handling and rehabilitation of raptors, mammals, reptiles (plus newborn animal management and care) Yes, you read that right, animal BABIES!!

Dates & Prices

ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Application Deadline: Feb 1
  • Arrival: May 29
  • Departure: July 25
  • Price: $5,690
  • Application Deadline:
    EXTENDED!Mar 15
    Mar 1
  • Arrival: June 12
  • Departure: August 8
  • Price: $5,690
  • Application Deadline: Apr 1
  • Arrival: June 26
  • Departure: August 22
  • Price: $5,690
  • Application Deadline: Feb 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: May 29 (Estimated)
  • Departure: July 25 (Estimated)
  • Price: $5,690 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Mar 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: June 12 (Estimated)
  • Departure: August 8 (Estimated)
  • Price: $5,690 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Apr 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: June 26 (Estimated)
  • Departure: August 22 (Estimated)
  • Price: $5,690 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

CIS Abroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.