Discover Ecuador’s ethnic and ecological diversity with the Center for Interamerican Studies (CEDEI) in Cuenca. CEDEI’s Semester in the Andes program combines quality academic content with an extended intercultural and language experience. Explore Cuenca’s cobblestone streets and urban rivers and parks while participating actively in the local life of the city and living with a carefully-selected host family. Living in Cuenca is a combination of traditional cultures and modern international amenities - although the vibrant city has attracted many travelers and foreigners over the last decade, Cuenca remains a traditional Ecuadorean city. Visit museums, national parks and Incan ruins, gain skills in Latin dance rhythms and traditional cooking and explore your creative side in craft workshops – all part of the Semester in the Andes program! 

Integrated into the program are visits to indigenous villages, sandy beaches and snow-capped mountain ranges, along with travel to some of South America’s must-see sites, including Machu Picchu, the Galápagos Islands and the Amazon Rainforest. The following travel is included in the program: 

The program beings with an included 7-day orientation trip. Students will arrive in Quito and meet CEDEI program staff at the airport, then spend the next week visiting sites around the capital of Quito, the market town Otavalo, the Amazon Rainforest and the indigenous villages of Salasca and Patate, before making their way to Cuenca to start the academic semester. 

Weekend excursions during the semester include visitis for the Ingapirca Archaeological site, El Cajas National Park, and various nearby towns including Saraguro, Gualaceo and Chordeleg and Giron and Tarqui. A visit to the location of Universidad Casa Grande's sister campus and Ecuador's largest city, Guayaquil, is also included. 

During the semester mid-term break, students will visist the Galápagos Islands on a 5-day excursion. The Galápagos Islands are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to the famous Galápagos Turtles, as well as land and marine iguanas, reef sharks, penguins and playful sea lions. It is also known as the best spot for diving in Ecuador. Galapagos, with its extensive variety of species, inspired some of the earliest notions of evolution from the famous naturalist and explorer Charles Darwin.

As a final trip, students have the unique opportunity to travel to Peru for 7 days. This trip will introduce students to the bustling city of Lima, the ancient capital of the Inca, Cuzco, and the “Lost City” of the Inca, Machu Picchu. The seven-day study tour in Perú includes airfare, guided tours of Cusco and Machu Picchu, visits to other archaeological sites of great historical importance, entrance fees, transportation in Perú, a farewell dinner where students can taste flavors from the four different regions of Perú, and a tour of Lima. Students will depart the program from Lima's airport. 

Program Website

Course Description

CEDEI operates on the Northern Hemisphere academic calendar (starting in August and ending in May). The Semester in the Andes program is open to students from a wide range of majors, with or without previous Spanish knowledge.

Each semester is divided into two academic terms. In the first term, students take intensive Spanish courses. In the second term, students can choose to continue with language courses, participate in an internship or service learning project, and/or take regular university courses taught in Spanish or English.

Regular university courses include subjects such as art, business, communications, education, environmental studies, health, political science, anthropology, sociology, Quechua (an indigenous language), Spanish and Portuguese. 

To find courses to visit the CEDEI course catalog. Choose the subject(s) you are interested in from the list on the left side of the page. Each course has a description and a link to a complete syllabus. The language of instruction (English or Spanish) is also noted. The number in parenthesis (i.e. 3c) refers to the number of U.S. credits the course is worth. Students enroll in a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 18 credits. 

Website for Course Availability

ISEP STUDENT SERVICES OFFICER Kira Hakanson 703-504-9991 | Thanks for your interest in ISEP Study Abroad! I’m your Student Services Officer and main point of contact here at ISEP. As you search for programs, I'll be available to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to contact me at any point in your search process for help, tips or advice.

Universidad Casa Grande

ISEP students can choose between two unique experiences in Ecuador! Take classes alongside local students in the Study in Ecuador ISEP Exchange program at Universidad Casa Grande in coastal Guayaquil,...

Walk Score®: 61


(in English)

*This program is OK for Sophomores

Fields of Study

  • Area Studies

    Ethnic, Cultural Minority, Gender, and Group Studies, Other

  • Business:

    International Business/Trade/Commerce Marketing

  • Communication

    Mass Communication/Media Studies

  • Education:

    Health Teacher Education Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language

  • Foreign Languages and Literatures

    Spanish Language and Literature

  • Natural Resources/Conservation

    Environmental Science

  • Social Sciences:

    Political Science and Government Sociology

  • Visual and Performing Arts:

    Art Studies Musicology and Ethnomusicology Painting

Academic Requirements

  • U.S. GPA: 2.75 or higher
    *accepts lower GPA with explanation

(in Spanish)

*This program is OK for Sophomores

Fields of Study

  • Business

  • Education Recommended!

  • Foreign Languages and Literatures Recommended!

    Spanish Language and Literature

  • International/Global Studies

  • Visual and Performing Arts

Academic Requirements

  • U.S. GPA: 2.75 or higher
  • LPR Required
  • LPR Writing Score: B1 - Intermediate High
  • LPR Reading Score: B1 - Intermediate High
  • LPR Listening Score: B1 - Intermediate High
  • LPR Speaking Score: B1 - Intermediate High
LPR = ISEP Language Proficiency Report

Other Academic Conditions

Students need to be at least at the intermediate level of Spanish to participate in an internship or service learning course, or take regular university courses taught in Spanish. 

No Spanish language background is required to apply, although students will be asked to complete a Spanish language evaluation as part of the application process. Students with no background in Spanish should contact your ISEP Student Advisor to have an evaluation completed for them at the <A1 level. Students with no Spanish language background will take beginner Spanish language courses and courses taught in English. 

Semester & Prices

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Universidad Casa Grande

Cuenca, Ecuador



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ISEP Application Fee US$100

ISEP Acceptance Fee US$425


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