Ecuador map

Language Spoken:

Spanish, Kichwa

Time Zone:

UTC -5 hours

Currency:

US Dollar

Apprenticeships:

Agriculture, Education, Environmental Conservation, Social Enterprise, Social Work,

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Ecuador

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!

Erica Lin (Ecuador '15, Binghamton University)

Erica Lin (Ecuador '15, Binghamton University)

The regions

Imbabura

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.

Climate:

Temperatures average between 55-65°F or 12-18°C year-round.

Local Industries:

Agriculture, handicrafts, tourism

Transportation:

Buses and shared taxis

Imbabura, Ecuador map

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.

Climate

Temperatures average between 60-80°F, 15-27°C. High exposure to sun at high altitudes.

Local Industries

Agriculture, handicrafts, tourism

Transportation:

Buses and shared taxis

Canar & Azuay, Ecuador map

Your Experience

The Homestay

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.

Elizabeth with Host Dad in Ecuador

The Apprenticeship

Environmental Conservation

Support conservation efforts at an ecological park or at an exotic animal rescue shelter.

Social Enterprise

Work with artisan associations to promote their wares, help produce a radio show featuring indigenous voices, or work at the local newspaper.

Education

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

Agriculture

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

Social Work

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

Photo by: Anna del Savio, Ecuador '16, The New School

Photo by: Anna del Savio, Ecuador '16, The New School

The Culture

Cuisine

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).

Ecuador Cuisine

Experiences

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.

Querra playing soccer

Celebrations

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.

Dia de los Difuntos
Photo by: Alcyone Magana, Ecuador '15, Watson University

Photo by: Alcyone Magana, Ecuador '15, Watson University

Anna del Savio headshot small circle

Anna worked alongside members of her community to make an impact.

See Anna's story

“I work with a group of indigenous artisans, making fair trade jewelry, drinking tea together and chatting in Spanish."