Ecuador: the semester abroad that no one else will ever even compare to having. Past Review

By (Spanish Language Teacher Education., Hope College) for

IES Abroad: Quito - IES Abroad in Quito

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was absolutely worthwhile and I wouldn't change any experience, good or bad, for the world. I could tell you everything I learned from it but each person has a different experience and learns something new about themselves. Don't hesitate to take risks and go out of your comfort zone because those moments are the most worthwhile.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: La Universidad de San Francisco
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 workload was a lot less and the professors grade exchange students very easily; in other words they realized my Spanish would not be perfect so did not penalize me for that and more often than not just gave me full credit if I did the work.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Strengths: the program leaders were phenomenal and were always willing and available to help us. I really liked the program size because it was small enough where we all got to know each other very well and always hung out.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I did not buy anything to settle in. Neighborhood safety wasn't the greatest, but that is just the way Quito is. IES place me with a family and they did a fabulous job of matching me! I was treated just like a family member (a sister and a daughter) and cannot wait to go back to visit them some day.

* Food:

You have to get used to the diet: breakfast, a big lunch, and a very small snack/dinner; you will eat a lot of rice, potatoes, and eggs; be careful of eating on the streets; and if you love fruit then you are in for a superb treat!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Both of the field trips with the program were phenomenal because we saw two different climates and cultures of Ecuador. They both included incredible activities, like shooting blow darts in the Jungle or swimming with dolphins in the Galapagos, that I feel like are rare opportunities and not offered by many other programs.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Quito is not a very safe city (and neither is Guayaquil) but outside of Quito I hardly felt like I was in danger. The program does an excellent job of making you aware of all the risks and dangers, and preps you on how to handle those situations. As long as you are street-smart and always aware of your surroundings, you can avoid serious danger. The healthcare is interesting because you will always have to visit a doctor and get a prescription if you want any meds. They are not very hasty in their healthcare system so unless you are dying, be prepared to wait a little. You are basically guaranteed to get sick in Ecuador from the bacteria in the food, but host families are extremely helpful for a quick recovery and it's usually nothing serious.

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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? No more than $20. Food and day-time transportation are very inexpensive: buses are $0.25 for each ride, food is no more than $5 for a large and nicer meal, taxis were the most expensive part of my weeks.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? It is very expensive to travel outside of the country, so I never took that opportunity.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 300
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I practiced language with my host family, students and professors at the university, all the locals, and other foreign exchange students. Basically I had to use Spanish every single day to survive. The only people who spoke English were students.

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

  • Local Students

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program is great for people who love traveling and adventure! You need to have an open mind here. And it's an excellent opportunity to really perfect your Spanish because you can hardly get by with English. My favorite part of this program was my host family because I got to spend so much time with them and I felt absolutely loved by them.