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This small South American country offers a diversity of wonders. With indigenous villages, picturesque cities, Amazonian rainforests, and the breathtaking heights of the Andes – Ecuador packs a punch!



Imbabura is in the northern sierra of Ecuador and is renowned for its scenic mountains, overflowing waterfalls, sacred sites, and culturally diverse communities. The region’s capital city of Ibarra is ringed by the Andean mountains and combines modernity with a legacy of colonial architecture. El Valle de Chota, a prominent Afro-Ecuadorian community, welcomes visitors year round to its many festivities and cultural activities. The nearby city of Otavalo is famous for its entrepreneurs and and colorful artisan market.


Cañar & Azuay

Cañar and Azuay are two provinces in the southern sierra of Ecuador, each offering a distinct look at Ecuador’s history and people. You’ll find evidence of the region’s Incan and pre-Incan cultures and Spain’s colonial influence. The people of this region maintain a strong indigenous identity, even as they experience large-scale migration to the US and Europe. Many foreigners from these same countries have come to live in this region of Ecuador, making Cañar and Azuay a fascinating place to learn about and partake in the region’s history of cultural exchange.



Ecuadorians place great emphasis on family. More than likely you’ll be welcomed not just into one home, but into a community of many extended relatives living close by. Frequent religious and secular festivals provide opportunities for family gatherings with music, dancing, and special foods. Ecuador’s diverse population means that Fellows have the chance to live with families of indigenous, mestizo, or Afro-Ecuadorian descent, and might even learn the indigenous Kichwa language in addition to Spanish. Fellow homestays range from rural to urban and most houses have electricity and running water.

The Apprenticeships

Work alongside members of your community on projects that make a responsible impact. Ecuador offers the opportunity to learn from real world experience in a variety of different apprenticeship sectors.


Work on an organic farm that teaches sustainable farming, plant and harvest crops, or support agricultural co-ops and farmers markets.


Assist in teaching any level from pre-school to high school students, develop enrichment programs, or tutor locals in English or computer skills.

Environmental Conservation

Support convervation efforts by working with a wildlife refuge, a sustainable farming NGO, or local government groups for safe water and recycling.


Learn new skills and business practices by working with local artisans producing weavings, jewelry, leather goods, and sculptures.


Assist local organizations providing support and physical therapy to populations including children with neurological difficulties, the elderly, and people with disabilities.


Work with a local newspaper, radio station or magazine to cover important issues and spread awareness of indigenous culture.

Social Work

Work alongside the local government to provide support to your community's vulnerable populations including children, the elderly, and the disabled.

Women & Girls Empowerment

Provide support a women's shelter or work with organizations developing girls' leadership and women's financial independence.



Ecuadorian cuisine varies with each of its distinct regions, but common ingredients include rice, potatoes, meat, and veggies. And don’t forget the fruit! Ecuadorian markets are absolutely overflowing with delicious fresh fruits. Be sure to also try local favorites like cuy (roasted guinea pig) and patacones (twice-fried plantain patties with queso fresco).



There are daily opportunities to immerse in Ecuadorian culture. Play pick up futbol with the local kids, take lessons in one of the many styles of Ecuadorian dance, explore the local nature, or just take advantage of the slower pace of “Ecua-time” to truly connect with those around you.



Ecuador loves to celebrate! For Dia de los Difuntos head to the cemetery with your host family to remember the deceased and enjoy colada morada (a thick purple drink) and guaguas de pan (sweet bread babies). Around Christmas you could find yourself in a nativity costume for your town’s parade. And come Carnival, get ready for a week long water-fight filled with spray foam, water balloons, and colored flour.