Although Ecuador is only about the size of Colorado, it is one of the most ecologically diverse countries on the planet. Four eco-regions—the Amazon basin, the high Andes, the coastal plain, and the Galápagos Islands—offer a wealth of flora and fauna that attract biologists, botanists, and environmentalists from around the world. In addition to the country’s natural riches, Quito is an architectural jewel known for the warmth and hospitality of its residents.
Based in Quito and featuring three weeks of course-related excursions in the Galápagos Islands, this program allows you to study issues of environmental management and preservation, while exploring Ecuador’s rich ecology. The program is organized in cooperation with the Galápagos Academic Institute for the Arts and Sciences (GAIAS) and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ). All Environmental Studies courses are taught in English, and previous Spanish study is not required.
After you are admitted, refer to the Travel Dates section of the Predeparture Information in your MyIESabroad account before booking travel.
Our mission is simple: to provide you with the best study abroad program possible, which includes the highest quality academic and cultural experiences. We offer unique courses that explore environmental studies and Spanish language through an in-depth and hands-on approach. Our world-class professors enhance your academic experience and provide you with new perspectives each day in class.
While in Ecuador, you enroll in 3 courses for a total of 9 credits. Environmental Studies courses are taught in English, and previous Spanish study is not required. Our goal is to make sure your academic needs are met.
This is a list of potential course offerings. Final course offerings will be available during on-site registration.
This is a list of planned course offerings. A final list of course offerings will be made available to you in your MyIESabroad account.
Even though your adventure starts in Quito and the Galápagos Islands, course-related excursions take you beyond the campus to discover the cultures and traditions of your host country.
See the Field Trips tab for locations of possible course-related excursions.
We want to make sure that your greatest challenge is deciding which landmarks to see first or discovering the best café—not finding a place to live where you feel comfortable. We do our best to locate housing that is reflective of how the local students are living. Our goal is that when you leave Ecuador, it will feel like home.
Homestays - You have a private, furnished room in the home of a family or señora in Quito. Homestay hosts provide three meals daily
Part of making you feel at home in Quito and the Galápagos Islands is doing our best to help you feel safe and cared for. Whether it is an orientation program that makes you feel prepared, housing that is well-located and comfortable, or the field trips that take you to places off the beaten path—we’re all about our student services.
The program begins with a mandatory orientation that introduces you to the IES Abroad Quito staff, your fellow students, and the city of Quito. Topics include:
Additionally, CORE™, IES Abroad’s Comprehensive Orientation & Re-entry Experience, begins during orientation and continues throughout the summer with activities focusing on cultural adjustment, goal achievement, and preparing for the return home.
Even though your adventure starts in Quito and the Galápagos Islands, course-related excursions and an extra-curricular field trip take you beyond the campus to discover the cultures and traditions of your host country. Here are a few possible destinations.
4 Days | Summer
Tour the islands by boat to further your knowledge of environmental issues. Activities have included snorkeling, guided tours, and discussions on identifying Ecuador's flora and fauna.
Course-related excursions are academic trips associated with courses. They are organized to complement your courses and contribute to a general knowledge of current environmental, political, and economic issues. The cost of these course-related excursions is included in the program fee, and participation is required. Here are a few possible destinations.
Amazon Rainforest Region
4 Days | Summer
Hike the world’s largest and most biologically diverse rainforest with a local guide.
1 Day | Summer
Located 50 miles northwest of Quito, the Maquipucuna reserve is one of the earth´s top three biodiversity hot-spots. 10% of Ecuador´s plant diversity, as well as over 20% of Ecuador´s bird diversity have been registered at the Maquipucuna Reserve.
Mitad del Mundo
1 Day | Summer
Straddle the equator and enjoy views of beautiful snow-capped mountains.
1 Day | Summer
Visit an indigenous market and learn about the crafts and food being sold.
2 Days | Summer
The Polylepis Forest is a bright colored forest with about 15 evergreen tree species that are characterized by gnarled shapes. During this visit you will also have the opportunity to visit Riobamba as well as Chimborazo, an inactive volcano and the highest mountain in Ecuador.
Note: IES Abroad field trip destinations, activities, and lengths of stay may vary according to term and availability.
About the Center
IES Abroad Quito
Situated near Quito’s financial district, the IES Abroad Center is housed in a new, modern building. Features include:
Through LASPAU (Latin American Scholarship Program of American Universities), Eduardo Ortiz, a native of Quito, received a Fulbright Scholarship to obtain both his B.A. and his M.A. in Psychology at SUNY Geneseo in New York. After receiving his degrees, Eduardo returned to Quito, where he worked as Senior Official in the Ecuadorian Institute of Educational Loans and Scholarships (IECE) and as Ecuadorian Coordinator for an international educational exchange program (Canada World Youth). He also worked as Associate Professor in two leading Ecuadorian Universities (Catholic University of Ecuador and Army Polytechnic University). Eduardo also has experience as a project manager for USAID (United States Agency for International Development) in Ecuador where he managed projects in tax administration and education. Additionally, Eduardo has international consulting experience in training, organizational development, human resources management, and institutional strengthening in several International Development Agencies including IDB, the World Bank and Universalia Management Group from Canada.
IES Abroad Staff
Gladys ArgotiStudent Services Coordinator
Rene BuenoAcademic Coordinator
Juan Carlos SanchezAdministrative Support
Indira EspínStudent Affairs Coordinator in Galápagos
IES Abroad Faculty
Christopher Minster, Ph.D.
Angélica Ordóñez, Ph.D.
Diego Quiroga, Ph.D.
Ana Rodriguez, Msc.
Evelyn Rodriguez, Msc.
Gabriela Rota, Msc.
Iván Ulchúr, Ph.D.
Hugo Valdebenito, Ph.D.
María Jose Rodriguez, Msc.
Esteban Suarez, Ph.D.
Juan Aulestia, Ph.D.
Pablo Dávalos, Ph.D.