Ecuador’s rich biodiverse Amazon Rainforest, stunning Andes Mountains, sun-drenched-beaches, volcanic islands, breathtaking colonial centers and indigenous villages are all packed full of culture. Ecuador’s small size allows you to visit several of the country’s dazzling array of wonders. Ecuador is also a great place to strengthen and develop your Spanish language skills, as it is known for a soft and clear accent that is easy for visitors to understand and has earned Ecuador the title of "the best country in Latin American to learn Spanish."

Languages Spoken:

Quechua, Spanish

Education System

HIGHER EDUCATION

The higher education system in Ecuador has two types of institutions: public and private.

There are three levels of higher education: associate degrees (technical Schools like community colleges); bachelor’s degrees and engineering degrees (universities and polytechnic institutions); and graduate schools (universities and polytechnic institutions). Graduate schools offer three kinds of titles: specialization; master and Ph.D. Due to new academic official rules, the academic period has two regular semesters and one intensive semester, starting in February and finishing in December.

The grade system ranges from zero (lowest) to 10 (highest). The common grade for passing a course is seven.

The instructional strategies are also changing. Lectures are still a principal method of teaching at certain institutions, but in others, there are more active and significant ways for learning. The ultimate accreditation process establishes four levels of academic qualifications for Ecuadorian universities: A, B, C, D. "A" is the highest level and "D" is the lowest. The largest university in Ecuador, by enrollment, has 80,000 students (Universidad de Guayaquil).

Visa and Residency

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Foreign Affairs is currently revising the requirements for the visa application. We will update this page as soon as the new regulations are fully established. In the interim please contact your host ISEP Coordinator in Ecuador or ISEP Program Manager for the Americas Alexandra Kahn-Johnston (akahn@isep.org) with any questions.

Culture

COMMUNICATION STYLE

Ecuadorians like to get close to communicate. They use their hands a lot during conversations, which tend to be louder than the North American and European cultures.

There are significant conversational differences between people from the Coast and from the Sierra (highlands). In cities at higher altitudes, people value tradition and formality. In the tropical and beachfront cities, voice inflection reveals more emotion and a fast-paced way of life.

GREETINGS

Ecuador is an affective society. In social scenery, a kiss in the right chick is appropriate between women, and also between men and women. In a professional ambiance, handshakes and greetings for the time of the day: "buenos días" (good morning), "buenas tardes" (good afternoon), or "buenas noches" (good evening).

FOOD

Ecuador is known for its exquisite exotic fruits, fish, seafood and countless varieties of Andean potatoes. The cuisine varies depending on the region; however, most meals include starch. It is possible to have several varieties of starch in one meal, such as green plantain, rice, corn, yucca, potato and pasta. Green plantains (a cousin to the sweet banana) are also popular throughout Ecuador and are prepared in a variety of ways. They tend to be firmer and lower in sugar than sweet bananas.

Since Guayaquil is on the coast, there is a great variety of seafood, especially shrimp. Beans and corn are staples in the Ecuadorian diet.

Lunch (almuerzo) is the main meal of the day. A typical almuerzo usually takes place between 1and 3 p.m. It consists of soup as a first course, followed by rice and beans with meat, chicken or fish. Most dishes in Ecuador are complemented by a traditional hot sauce known as ají. Similar to Tabasco sauce, you will find ají in almost all restaurants and in your family home. It’s a good idea to taste it before spreading it all over your meal as each will have its own intensity of spiciness.

FAMILY

The Ecuadorian family is the most important unit in the country. Ecuadorians have a large circle of relatives, who are extended through 'compadrazgo.' Relationships are generally strong in family life.

Daily Life

COMMUNICATION STYLE

Ecuadorians like to get close to communicate. They use their hands a lot during conversations, which tend to be louder than the North American and European cultures.

There are significant conversational differences between people from the Coast and from the Sierra (highlands). In cities at higher altitudes, people value tradition and formality. In the tropical and beachfront cities, voice inflection reveals more emotion and a fast-paced way of life.

GREETINGS

Ecuador is an affective society. In social scenery, a kiss in the right chick is appropriate between women, and also between men and women. In a professional ambiance, handshakes and greetings for the time of the day: "buenos días" (good morning), "buenas tardes" (good afternoon), or "buenas noches" (good evening).

FOOD

Ecuador is known for its exquisite exotic fruits, fish, seafood and countless varieties of Andean potatoes. The cuisine varies depending on the region; however, most meals include starch. It is possible to have several varieties of starch in one meal, such as green plantain, rice, corn, yucca, potato and pasta. Green plantains (a cousin to the sweet banana) are also popular throughout Ecuador and are prepared in a variety of ways. They tend to be firmer and lower in sugar than sweet bananas.

Since Guayaquil is on the coast, there is a great variety of seafood, especially shrimp. Beans and corn are staples in the Ecuadorian diet.

Lunch (almuerzo) is the main meal of the day. A typical almuerzo usually takes place between 1and 3 p.m. It consists of soup as a first course, followed by rice and beans with meat, chicken or fish. Most dishes in Ecuador are complemented by a traditional hot sauce known as ají. Similar to Tabasco sauce, you will find ají in almost all restaurants and in your family home. It’s a good idea to taste it before spreading it all over your meal as each will have its own intensity of spiciness.

FAMILY

The Ecuadorian family is the most important unit in the country. Ecuadorians have a large circle of relatives, who are extended through 'compadrazgo.' Relationships are generally strong in family life.

Health and Safety

https://www.isepstudyabroad.org/guides-and-tips/health-safety

Currency

CURRENCY

Since September 2000, the U.S. dollar is the official currency of Ecuador. While every U.S. dollar can be used in Ecuador, the contrary is not necessarily true. Local coins stamped in Ecuador (1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents) are not accepted abroad.

While credit cards are not as common throughout the country as might be in other places, they are becoming more common. Credit cards will normally be accepted in hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and other establishments in large cities. Be sure to travel with cash if you are going to smaller towns.

The most common cards are Visa and MasterCard. Be aware of your ATM or credit card company’s policy for use in a foreign country as they might charge an extra fee for charges or withdrawals made in foreign currency. Also, if you are going to use your credit or debit card, be sure to inform your local bank before leaving in order to not be locked out of your account. Almost all major banks in the country will have an ATM which will accept cards issued from banks outside Ecuador.

{{articleTitle}}

More Topics in Visa and Residency