Study in Ecuador
Choose Your Program

There is a loving host family waiting for you in Ecuador! Absorb Ecuadorian culture while learning Spanish and exploring some of the most remarkable areas of this beautiful country!

PROGRAM DEPARTURE RETURN FULL TUITION
2025 Fall Year Late August Early July $14,595
  • Placement with a carefully selected host family
  • Enrollment in a local Ecuadorian high school (excluding summer programs)
  • Airport transfers
  • Domestic and international travel
  • All pre-departure and post-arrival orientations
  • Pre-program support by trained YFU staff
  • Support from a YFU Ecuador Area Representative while on the program
  • Comprehensive insurance

Ecuador’s high school system is divided into three areas: social studies, biological sciences, and mathematics. Students take 13 to 14 courses related to their career goals. Most YFU students choose social studies, but you may choose another area of specialization. Most regions in Ecuador have an extended school break during which YFU students spend their time getting volunteer experience with local organizations. Ecuadorian students usually study English, so you may make friends by having them help you with Spanish and by helping them with English!

All students applying for the year program must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation*, which usually takes place in mid-July. This orientation is a required part of the program to prepare students for their overseas experience.

*Due to COVID-19, the 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation described above may take place online, dependent upon recommended guidelines at the time of the event. YFU will continue to assess the situation as it develops.

There will also be a one-day mid-year orientation for year students and a two-day re-entry orientation for all students. All orientation costs are included in program tuition.

Another great way to meet locals is to participate in extracurricular activities and service opportunities in your local Ecuadorian community! One way students will be able to meet others in the community is through volunteering, which will help students to also learn about Ecuador’s true culture. Students usually either volunteer for a month while in school or can expect to be required to volunteer for one month during their school break.

Year program students can also participate in several educational trips and excursions during their stay at an additional cost. These trips are optional and come at an extra fee; more information on pricing and logistics will come closer to the time of the trip.

Jungle Trip: This trip will start in Quito. From there, students travel to Punta Ahuano, where they take canoes on the scenic journey to the hotel “La Casa del Suizo” on the shore of Napo River. Students will see many kinds of animals and navigate the Napo River, one of the most important rivers in the country.

Ruta De Sol Trip: On this trip, students have the opportunity to visit the main beaches of Manabí and Guayas provinces. This trip will start in Quito, going to Puerto López and visiting Playa de los Frailes, Isla de la Plata, Montañita, Salinas, and Punta Carnero and will finish with a city tour in Guayaquil and return to Quito.

Volcanic Trip: Starting at the Latitude 0º, this trip explores the highlands of Ecuador. The trip includes areas such as Cayambe, Otavalo (with its famous Indian market), San Pablo Lake and Cotacachi, the Cotopaxi National Park and Volcano, Limpiopungo Lake, Chimborazo Volcano, Riobamba, Alausi, Ingapirca, and Cuenca.

Galapagos Islands Trip: Students can opt to take an excursion to the Galapagos Islands, which is an eight-day trip that will allow you to tour the islands of Baltra, Mosquera, Fernandina, Isabela, Santiago, and Santa Cruz. Trip participants will stay aboard a yacht and in small hostels with a bilingual naturalist guiding the tour.

  • 2025 Fall Year Program: Students born February 26, 2007 – June 28, 2010.
  • Students who do not meet this age requirement or will graduate high school before the start of their program will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.

Spanish. Previous language study is not required, but students are expected to be willing and motivated to learn Spanish.

Students will be placed with families in cities such as Quito, Ambato, Cuenca, Riobamba, Latacunga, and Ibarra in the Sierra region and Santo Domingo, Machala, Portoviejo, and Manta in the Costa region.

There is a loving host family waiting for you in Ecuador! Absorb Ecuadorian culture while learning Spanish and exploring some of the most remarkable areas of this beautiful country!

PROGRAM DEPARTURE RETURN FULL TUITION
2025 Spring Semester Late January Early July $13,095
2025 Fall Semester Late August Late January $13,095
  • Placement with a carefully selected host family
  • Enrollment in a local Ecuadorian high school (excluding summer programs)
  • Airport transfers
  • Domestic and international travel
  • All pre-departure and post-arrival orientations
  • Pre-program support by trained YFU staff
  • Support from a YFU Ecuador Area Representative while on the program
  • Comprehensive insurance

Ecuador’s high school system is divided into three areas: social studies, biological sciences, and mathematics. Students take 13 to 14 courses related to their career goals. Most YFU students choose social studies, but you may choose another area of specialization. Most regions in Ecuador have an extended school break during which YFU students spend their time getting volunteer experience with local organizations. Ecuadorian students usually study English, so you may make friends by having them help you with Spanish and by helping them with English!

All students applying for the semester program must be available for a mandatory 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation*, which usually takes place in mid-July or early-mid December (for Spring programs). This orientation is a required part of the program to prepare students for their overseas experience.

*Due to COVID-19, the 3-day National Pre-Departure Orientation described above may take place online, dependent upon recommended guidelines at the time of the event. YFU will continue to assess the situation as it develops.

There will also be a one-day mid-year orientation for year students and a two-day re-entry orientation for all students. All orientation costs are included in program tuition.

Another great way to meet locals is to participate in extracurricular activities and service opportunities in your local Ecuadorian community! One way students will be able to meet others in the community is through volunteering, which will help students to also learn about Ecuador’s true culture. Students usually either volunteer for a month while in school or can expect to be required to volunteer for one month during their school break.

Semester program students will also have the option of participating in a number of educational trips and excursions during their stay, at an additional cost. In the Fall, students can participate in the Jungle Trip and the Ruta Del Sol. In the Spring, Students can join in the Ruta Del Sol, Volcanic Trip, and Galapagos Islands Trip. These trips are optional and come at an additional fee; more information on pricing and logistics to come closer to the time of the trip.

Jungle Trip: This trip will start in Quito. From there, students travel to Punta Ahuano, where they take canoes on the scenic journey to the hotel “La Casa del Suizo” on the shore of Napo River. Students will see many kinds of animals and navigate the Napo River, one of the most important rivers in the country.

Ruta De Sol Trip: On this trip, students have the opportunity to visit the main beaches of Manabí and Guayas provinces. This trip will start in Quito, going to Puerto López and visiting Playa de los Frailes, Isla de la Plata, Montañita, Salinas, and Punta Carnero and will finish with a City tour in Guayaquil and return to Quito.

Volcanic Trip: Starting at the Latitude 0º, this trip explores the highlands of Ecuador. The trip includes areas such as Cayambe, Otavalo (with its famous Indian market), San Pablo Lake and Cotacachi, the Cotopaxi National Park and Volcano, Limpiopungo Lake, Chimborazo Volcano, Riobamba, Alausi, Ingapirca, and Cuenca.

Galapagos Islands Trip: Students can opt to take an excursion to the Galapagos Islands, which is an eight-day trip that will allow you to tour the islands of Baltra, Mosquera, Fernandina, Isabela, Santiago, and Santa Cruz. Trip participants will stay aboard a yacht and in small hostels with a bilingual naturalist guiding the tour.

  • 2025 Fall Semester Program: Students born February 26, 2007 – June 28, 2010.
  • 2025 Spring Semester: Students born June 28, 2006 – November 28, 2009.
  • Students who do not meet this age requirement or will graduate high school before the start of their program will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.

Spanish. Previous language study is not required, but students are expected to be willing and motivated to learn Spanish.

Students will be placed with families in cities such as Quito, Ambato, Cuenca, Riobamba, Latacunga, and Ibarra in the Sierra region and Santo Domingo, Machala, Portoviejo, and Manta in the Costa region.

There is a loving host family waiting for you in Ecuador! Absorb Ecuadorian culture while learning Spanish and exploring some of the most remarkable areas of this beautiful country!

PROGRAM DEPARTURE RETURN FULL TUITION
2025 Summer Late June Early August $5,995
  • Placement with a carefully selected host family
  • Airport transfers
  • Domestic and international travel
  • All pre-departure and post-arrival orientations
  • Pre-program support by trained YFU staff
  • Support from a YFU Ecuador Area Representative while on the program
  • Comprehensive insurance

If ecology, biology, anthropology, or Spanish fascinates you, join other YFU participants from around the world in this five-week program in Ecuador. You’ll live with an Ecuadorian host family and enjoy getting to know the culture from an insider’s perspective. Living with a family gives you a chance to truly explore and understand another culture. You will also receive Spanish Language lessons so as to even further immerse yourself in Ecuadorian culture. These lessons are a few hours a week and are designated to each student based on their incoming level of Spanish.

Upon arrival in Ecuador, students will have a one-day orientation to help ease the adjustment to a new culture. Students will also participate in a one-day re-entry orientation before departure from Ecuador to reflect with other exchange students about their experiences. All orientation costs are included in tuition.

Day Trips: Students in the Summer program in Ecuador will get the opportunity to travel to places like the colonial section of Quito, the colorful indigenous market at Otavalo, and the equator line for an additional cost.

Explore the Rainforest: A four-day, three-night tour of the rainforest with activities that include canoeing and observing monkeys, reptiles, exotic plants, and other wildlife in the region. Students will also learn about the rainforest from trained local guides. Please note that the rainforest trip will only be offered if there are a minimum of five students on program.

Galapagos Islands Trip: Students can opt to take an excursion to the Galapagos Islands, which is a five-day trip that will allow you to tour the islands of Baltra, Mosquera, Fernandina, Isabela, Santiago, and Santa Cruz. Trip participants will stay aboard a yacht with a bilingual naturalist guiding the tour. This trip is optional and comes at an additional fee; more information on pricing and logistics will come closer to the time of the trip.

  • 2025 Summer Program: Students born January 26, 2007 – May 26, 2010.
  • Students who do not meet this age requirement or will graduate high school before the start of their program will be considered for admission on a case-by-case basis.

Spanish. Previous language study is not required, but students are expected to be willing and motivated to learn Spanish.

Students will be placed with families in Quito for the Summer program.

Study Abroad Participants
What to Expect

As a YFU exchange student in Ecuador, you will discover the rich heritage of a country home to the descendants of the great Inca Empire!

Among a population of 15 million, Ecuador’s indigenous peoples have maintained a strong cultural identity and are known for beautiful textiles and ceramics. You’ll notice the Spanish influence in Quito’s beautiful colonial churches, which have been well-preserved. Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands provide unique wildlife (including the infamous giant tortoise!). As in many Latin American countries, family bonds are strong, and members gather often to celebrate holidays and festivals such as Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Carnival, and Semana Santa. And of course, with celebration comes food! During a party or festival, you may find yourself eating a few pieces of fritada (fried pork), a plate of arroz con pollo (rice with chicken), or a serving of locro (soup with potatoes, meat and cheese).

With its beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery, amazing wildlife, and rich culture, Ecuador will undoubtedly leave you with a journey you will never forget!

YFU USA is proud to send over 200 American students on cultural exchange with a full or partial scholarship each year. Financial assistance may be in the form of a merit-based scholarship, need-based financial aid, or Legacy Grant for students who are previously involved in the YFU Community. Scholarships may vary in deadline, requirements, and eligibility. To learn more, please visit our Scholarships Page to find details on the following scholarships eligible for Ecuador:

Holcomb & Farnell Foreign Study Fund
YFU Legacy Grant
YFU Financial Aid Fund
WEH Foundation Scholarship
The YFU Americas Scholarship
Epson America, Inc. International Scholarship
Jason Pollington Latin American Scholarship
Karla Topolka Scholarship Fund
Passport to Equity
Culture Connect Scholarship

Applications for Spring/Winter programs must be submitted by October 1 for review. Summer and Fall departure program applications are due April 15.

Visa Information
Information regarding visas and other immigration processes will be provided upon enrollment.

Additional Costs
Program tuition does not include visa or visa-related fees, personal spending money, or school-related costs such as books and school trips. YFU will cover the cost of school registration and tuition fees, but students are responsible for buying textbooks, transportation to and from school, and other materials, such as uniforms. In addition to the above, there is a visa registration fee due upon arrival in Ecuador.

Important Information
Schools in Ecuador are strict regarding physical appearance. Schools will not accept students with dreadlocks, piercings, or wear ripped clothing. Male students must be prepared to keep their hair short!

Ecuador is full of fascinating culture and history — from the islands where Darwin discovered evolution to the ancient Incan civilization. Discover this rich heritage as a YFU exchange student, and you will understand Ecuadorian culture as no tourists do!

Have questions or want to learn more about YFU Study Abroad Programs?

Ecuador is amazing. I lived in a small city called Ibarra which is in the Sierra and 3 hours north of the capital Quito. During our year we went on trips to the coast, rainforest, and the Galapagos islands. When you make friends they will be friends for life! It’s amazing to see a country develop so much since the first time I arrived as an exchange student almost 10 years ago!

-Mallory