PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS 

• Take in the beauty of Ecuador, known for its rich biodiversity and mesmerizing landscapes composed of volcanoes, beaches, rainforests, and mountains. 

• This program offers the best of both worlds: quality academic content and unforgettable travel and intercultural experiences throughout the Andean mountains, cities, and cultural heritage sites of Ecuador.  

• Contribute to the local community through hands-on internship and service-learning opportunities to complement experiential coursework. 

LIFE ABROAD  

Experience the laid-back and historic culture of Cuenca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site filled with stunning cathedrals, rotundas, and luscious green parks.  Visit local indigenous villages, sandy beaches, and snow-capped mountain ranges, and some of South America’s must-see sites: Machu Picchu, the Galápagos Islands, and the Amazon Rainforest! 

LIVE 

Embrace the Ecuadorian way of life by living in a homestay that is a 10-15 minute bus or tram ride from campus. Enhance language proficiency in Spanish by practicing with a host family, or match with a family that knows some English (depending on your language experience). 

DINE 

Enjoy traditional dishes prepared by host families including locro de papa (potato stew), cuy asado (roasted guinea pig), and llapingachos (fried potato pancakes).  Three meals a day are provided seven days a week throughout the program.  

EXPERIENCE 

Experience Ecuadorian culture through included cultural activities such as dance classes, cooking classes, and pottery classes.  Stroll through the quaint colonial streets of Cuenca while enjoying the beautiful weather and archeological sites all around. 

EXPLORE 

Explore Ecuador’s four regions: Coast, Highlands, Amazon, and Insular Region during included overnight trips and cultural excursions! Dive into life in Latin America with a seven-day orientation starting in Quito followed by three nights in the Ecuadorian jungle. Maximize travel opportunities in Latin America with included visits to the Galápagos Islands and a seven-day tour exploring archeological sites in Peru including the majestic Machu Picchu. 

INTERNSHIP & SERVICE-LEARNING 

During the second half of the term, gain hands-on experience with local communities through service-learning or internship opportunities that complement coursework.  Enhance professional skills through internship placements at a local business or community-based organization for 30 hours per week. Alternatively, connect with locals through service-learning opportunities by doing 40 hours of community service per week. Take an in-depth look at prominent societal issues through a new cultural lens by taking a problem-based learning approach to better understand the impact of international service-learning.  

What We Love About Studying in the Andes 

This program offers ample opportunities to connect with the local community through hands-on service-learning and internships. Plus, experiential learning goes way beyond the classroom with organized visits throughout Ecuador and Latin America! 

See budget and estimated expenses 

Program Website

Course Description

This travel-study program offers the best of both worlds: quality academic content and unforgettable intercultural experiences throughout the Andean mountains. Integrated into the academic 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.  

Each semester is broken into two sessions. The first session focuses on intensive language and culture classes. The second session allows students to choose from an internship or service-learning project and/or enrolling in regular university classes including art, business, communications, education, environmental studies, health, music, political science, anthropology, sociology, Quichua (an indigenous language), Spanish, and Portuguese. 

The chart below highlights some of the classes students have taken in the past to get you started on your planning for this incredible opportunity to explore the Andean mountains, cities, and cultural heritage sites of Ecuador. 

Credits Earned 

Students who complete the program in good standing can expect to take 5-6 classes between both sessions with a semester which ISEP recommends is the equivalent of 15-18 U.S. Credit Hours. Each course is usually worth 3 credits. 

If you use financial aid, please speak with a qualified financial aid advisor to understand your academic obligations and the requirements for using financial aid. 

Sample Classes Available: 

 
 
 
 
 
 

Spanish & Quichua 

 
 
 
 

Natural Resources, Conservation, Sustainability 

 
 
 
 

Business 

 
 
 
 

Area Studies 

 
 
 
 

Beginning Spanish I-II 

 
 

Environmental Studies of the Andes 

 
 

International Business 

 
 

Andean Musical Culture 

 
 
 
 

Intro to Quichua 

 
 

Geography of Latin America 

 
 

Spanish for Business 

 
 

Latin American Art 

 
 
 
 

Intermediate Spanish I & II 

 
 

Management of Captive Animals 

 
 

Strategic Management & Policy 

 
 

Race & Ethnicity in the Andes 

 
 
 
 

Advanced Spanish Grammar 

 
 

Tropical Ecology 

 
 

Managing Across Cultures 

 
 

Cultural Anthropology 

 
 
 
 

Advanced Spanish Conversation 

 
 

Conservation Biology 

 
 

International Marketing 

 
 

Political Economy of Latin America 

 
 
 
 

Advanced Spanish Writing 

 
 

World Geography 

 
 

Global Marketing & Communication 

 
 

Health Issues in Developing Countries

 

For detailed instructions on how to search for all available courses, please click on the "other academic conditions" dropdown link below.

Website for Course Availability

ISEP STUDENT SERVICES OFFICER Kira Hakanson 703-504-9991 | KHakanson@isep.org 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.

Academics

Undergraduate
(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 Recommended!

    Spanish Language and Literature

  • Natural Resources/Conservation Recommended!

    Environmental Science

  • Social Sciences: Recommended!

    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

Special Application Instructions

Students are required to submit an internal application following their placement which is required of the host institution. Instructions will be sent by the ISEP Host Coordinator by email.

Passport: All students must have a valid passport to participate in this program. If you do not have a valid passport, we suggest you start the application process as soon as possible. 

Visa/Residence Permit: Students do not have to apply for a visa prior to departure. Students will obtain a tourist visa upon entry into Ecuador (valid for 90 days). Students will need to apply for an extension of the tourist visa before the end of the first 90-day period. This process will be done once in Cuenca and CEDEI will provide further details to the students upon their arrival. The visa extension fee is approximately $150 USD. For more information on the process, please review the ISEP Country Handbook.

Undergraduate
(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

Special Application Instructions

Students are required to submit an internal application following their placement which is required of the host institution. Instructions will be sent by the ISEP Host Coordinator by email.

Passport: All students must have a valid passport to participate in this program. If you do not have a valid passport, we suggest you start the application process as soon as possible. 

Visa/Residence Permit: Students do not have to apply for a visa prior to departure. Students will obtain a tourist visa upon entry into Ecuador (valid for 90 days). Students will need to apply for an extension of the tourist visa before the end of the first 90-day period. This process will be done once in Cuenca and CEDEI will provide further details to the students upon their arrival. The visa extension fee is approximately $150 USD. For more information on the process, please review the ISEP Country Handbook.

Other Academic Conditions

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

Students arrive: Third week of January, Last week of August

Classes start: Last week of January, First week of September

Classes end: Last week of April, Second week of December

Exams (Midterm & Final): Early March/Late April, Mid October/Early December

 

Program Itinerary:

The Semester in the Andes program is structured for students to explore Ecuador through the following excursions:

- The program begins 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 visits to 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 visit 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. Galápagos, 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 Peru includes airfare, guided tours of Cusco and Machu Picchu, visits to other archaeological sites of great historical importance, entrance fees, transportation in Peru, a farewell dinner where students can taste flavors from the four different regions of Peru, and a tour of Lima. Students will depart the program from Lima's airport.  

How to find courses:

Each semester is divided into two academic sessions. In the first session, students take intensive Spanish courses. In the second session, 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, Quichua (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.  

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 (based on your filters)

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