-Sophomore, Junior, or first semester Senior standing
-2.5 GPA or above
-Minimum of 2 semesters of college-level spanish
Fall semester: Early August to late December
Spring semester: Early January to mid May
Language of Instruction:
University San Francisco, Quito
High in the Andes and with a spring-like climate throughout the year, Quito, Ecuador, is one of the most beautiful cities in South America. In 1978, UNESCO designated Quito as a world cultural heritage site, ensuring the preservation of some of the most impressive architecture in Latin America. With a geography that encompasses tropical Pacific beaches, Andean mountain villages and Amazonian rainforests, Ecuador provides a dynamic setting for studying the challenges of a small, developing nation.
Quito is the capital city of Ecuador. It is located in northern Ecuador in the Guayllabamba river basin on the eastern slopes of an active volcano in the Andes Mountains. With an estimated population of about 2.1 million people, Quito is the second most populous city in Ecuador. The city's elevation is, on average, about 9,200 feet, making it the second highest capital city in the world. Quito is located about 15 miles south of the equator. Due to its high altitude and position on the equator, Quito has a constant, mild to cool climate year round. The typical high temperature at noon is 26°C (78ºF) and the typical night-time low is 7°C (55ºF). The city experiences only two seasons: dry and wet. The dry season, June through September, is referred to as summer; the wet season, October through May, is referred to as winter.
The northern part of Quito is the site of the main business district as well as upper-middle-class neighborhoods and a substantial number of buildings. It is also where the international airport and major recreational areas are located. There are many parks around Quito such as Parque Metropolitano known for being the largest urban park in South America. The park is suited for mountain biking, walking, or running. Most of it is eucalyptus forest with trails, but there also are numerous sculptures on display. The park has four sites that can be used for picnics or barbecues, and the eastern section has great views of the volcanoes and river basin. La Carolina park is in the middle of Quito's business and shopping district where it is common to find natives playing soccer, basketball, and an Ecuadorean variation of volleyball. The southern part of the park has a small pond where paddle boats can be rented, and a skatepark for bicyclists and skateboarders. Artists are known to perform on weekends at the park. El Ejido is situated between the old part of the city and the modern section. This park is known for handicrafts available for sale every weekend. Old Town is also a popular spot with cobble stone streets and baroque churches.
University San Francisco Quito (USFQ), like Ecuador, is a unique and quite amazing place. Its founders revolutionized education in 1988 when they established the first private university in Ecuador. To this day USFQ is seen as the standard of excellence in Ecuadorian higher education.
USFQ's Cumbayá Campus, just outside Quito, is home to 13 colleges and the main administrative headquarters.
USFQ also regularly hosts world summits and conferences on cutting edge themes such as the brain, evolution, physics, architecture and medicine. They are attended by world-renown scientists and Nobel Prize winners.
Program in Brief:
Students are enrolled in at least four classes at USFQ. All courses are taught in Spanish. If you do not meet the university’s required level of Spanish language proficiency, you must enroll in an appropriate Spanish language course. You are strongly encouraged to review registration options with an academic advisor at your home institution to insure your selections are compatible with requirements for credit and graduation.
Academic Program & Areas of Study:
Independent research areas are available in Applied Ecology, International Relations,
Architecture, Journalism, Anthropology, Latin American Studies,
Education, Political Studies,
Environment and Ecotourism, Sociology,
Health Sciences, Spanish,
History, Theater, and Dance.
The university offers many study trips throughout the year. To deepen your understanding of topics covered in the core courses, you will travel to various locations in Ecuador. Destinations may change from semester to semester, but past excursions have included:
A Rural Experience
Visit the farming area of Cotacachi to learn more about the different ecosystems and agricultural practices in the Andean mountain region and participate in local development projects carried out by the campesinos.
Beginning in Coca, a small town in the Ecuadorian Amazon jungle, the trip continues by motorboat down a tributary of the Amazon River and finally by canoe to a jungle lodge. Native guides teach you about the ways indigenous people use different plants for everyday survival and medicinal purposes.
Quito’s Festivals (Fall semester only)
Join the Quiteneans in celebrating the founding of Quito by the Spaniards on December 6, 1534, with music, dancing and bullfights.
Visit this beautiful colonial city located south of Quito in the Andean region to see museums and nearby Inca ruins. Cuencan artisans produce some of the best jewelry, ceramics and straw weaving in Ecuador.
Housing & Meals:
Students will stay with local families in Quito. The opportunity to become a part of a family and develop a personal relationship with the individual family members is a distinct privilege. The families usually speak little or no English. Though the space and amenities of their homes may seem modest in comparison to similar American homes, many of these middle-class families will have domestic help.