An incredible experience spending time with the people and plants of Ecuador September 15, 2023

By (Environmental Studies, Brandeis University) - abroad from 06/03/2023 to 07/22/2023 with

IES Abroad: Quito - IES Abroad in Quito

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was absolutely worthwhile -- I learned to guide my own experiences and practice trying new things in a completely new environment.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The field trips in relation to the classes were with the professors as well as tour guides, making them super informative while also fun.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Healthcare was easily accessible at the mall connected to the university. It was easy to get a walk-in appointment. My only drawback is I went for a sore throat, and at the appt. the Dr. did not take any strep/flu/covid tests, but instead took a picture of the back of my throat to show me and diagnosed me with a standard cold. He was probably right, but I'm used to precautionary tests being taken at home. I was also prescribed high strength ibuprofen and a decongestant at the appt., which I was told I "must" take by the doctor. It felt a bit misleading because I didn't have a fever or any congestion, which I would expect these to treat. And being experienced with the OTC versions of these meds, I thought it was a bit off-base to say that I needed to take them in order to get better. This also could have been a translation issue or cultural misunderstanding, as I chose to go by myself to the appt. At one point, our abroad group had multiple individuals sick, and so IES arranged for a doctor to come to the classroom and check up on all of us before our weekend away trip, which was a quick and easy experience.

* Safety:

We were cautious in public with holding our phones in our hands and putting our bags on our fronts. However, no one in our group experienced any pick-pocketing, and I generally felt quite safe walking around. I'm a female-presenting student, and I typically walked with others when I could, avoiding walking at night in certain parts of the city or alone.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

My experience was that my host family made all my meals, including packing a lunch for me to bring to school if I requested. Often our group would go out for food together for fun, and the food was relatively cheap (maybe ~10 for lunch, ~15 for dinner).

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? ~$100-150, including souveniers and outings (ex. movies, dinners, drinks)
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? If you can eat at home, do! And when going out, consider how much you are willing to spend for the day/ in the context of the week. It can be easy especially at the beginning of the program to want to buy/try everything, but remember there will be more cool things to buy/experience later in the trip and you'll have plenty of time to do so.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The host families
  • The fieldtrips
  • The structure of the program
* What could be improved?
  • Shorter class blocks (< 3 hours)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew that I would have time to go out with friends and should pack some casual/fun clothes.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Ecuadorian Ecosystems

Course Department: ENVS
Instructor: Dr. Gonzalo Rivas-Torres
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Prof. Rivas-Torres is extremely well-versed in the subject and made class interesting and fun. The field trips were incredible as well.
Credit Transfer Issues: