High School in Ecuador

Ecuador is home to an astounding array of wonders that include picturesque colonial towns, Amazonian rainforest, the spectacular peaks of the Andes and of course the intriguing Galápagos Islands. Want to learn more about this amazing country first hand? You can with our high school study abroad programs!

Overview

Our High School Exchange Program in Ecuador will enable you to immerse yourself in Ecuadorian culture while living with an Ecuadorian host family and sharing in their daily life. As a family member, you will participate in activities and adapt to the family rules as if they were your own. You’ll also attend the high school nearest your host family’s home.

About Ecuador

Ecuador is divided into three continental regions—the Costa (coast), Sierra (mountains), and Oriente (east)—and one insular region, the Galápagos Islands (officially Archipiélago de Colón). The continental regions extend the length of the country from north to south and are separated by the Andes Mountains.

Galápagos Islands

The Galápagos are located 1,000 km west of the Ecuadorian coast. They are noted for their association with Charles Darwin, whose observation of animals here during the voyage of the Beagle led to his formation of the theory of natural selection as a means of evolution. The islands have witnessed a large number of tourists and travelers over recent years. As a result, various hotels and restaurants are now flourishing in the area offering tour packages and cruise services. Special species that could be found here include blue footed boobies, iguanas and many more. Internal flight services from Ecuador to Galápagos are also available for tourists making it more convenient for guests from outside.

La Costa

The western coastal area of Ecuador borders the Pacific Ocean to the west, encompasses a broad coastal plain, and then rises to the foothills of the Andes Mountains to the east. It is estimated that 98% of the native forest of coastal Ecuador has been eliminated in favor of cattle ranching and other agricultural production, including banana, cacao and coffee plantations. The forest fragments that still survive are primarily found along the coastal mountain ranges of Mache-Chindul, Jama-Coaque, and Chongon-Colonche, and include tropical dry forest, tropical wet forest, tropical moist evergreen forest, premontane cloud forest, and mangrove forest. Collectively known as the Pacific Equatorial Forest, these forest remnants are considered the most endangered tropical forest in the world, and are part of the Tumbes-Choco-Magdalena biodiversity hotspot.[1] Guayaquil, located on the southern part of the coast is the biggest city in the country. On the north coast of Ecuador the port of Balao in Esmeraldas is used for oil export and the port of Manta was formerly used by the United States Air Force as a control point for narcotics traffic control until 2009.

La Sierra

The central belt of Ecuador that includes the Andes Mountains, inland from the coast; with volcanoes and mountain peaks that sport year-round snow on the equator; many areas long since deforested by agriculture; a number of cut-flower growing operations; at a certain altitude zone may be found cloud forests.

The northern Ecuadorian Andes are divided into three parallel cordilleras which run in what is similar to an S-shape from north to south: the western, central (Cordillerra Real) and eastern (Cordillera Occidental) cordilleras. The cordilleras were formed earlier in the Cenozoic era (the current geological era), as the Nazca Plate has subducted underneath the South American Plate and has raised the mountain range. In the south, the cordilleras are not well defined.

Quito, the capital city, is located in a high mountain valley on the foothills of the [[Pichincha (volcano)]. The town of [[Baños de Agua Santa] features [[hot spring]s swimming pools on the foothills of the Tungurahua in the Central Cordillera. The road from Baños to Puyo has long been known for its narrowness, curves and sheer drops (only one lane in some places, on one area, actually cut into the side of a cliff so that the cliff roofs over it). The most important east-west road across the Andes is the road from Quito to Lago Agrio, which is paved for most of its length yet is heavily traveled by tractor-trailers—and the Trans-Ecuadorian Oil Pipeline serves as the guardrail for long stretches of this road.

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Ecuador

Program Dates & Deadlines

Apply early and get a discount! Submit your application 45 days before the deadline to receive an Early Bird Discount.

These are the approximate start dates. Exact start dates will be provided closer to your arrival.

Spring

Academic Semester: Early February – Mid-June

Final Deadline to Apply: October 15th

 

Fall

Academic Semester: Early September – Late January

Academic Year: Early September – Mid-June

Final Deadline to Apply: May 1st

Program Costs

Semester

Academic Year

Costs

$8,440

$10,370

Discounts, Scholarships & Fundraising

Early Bird Discount – $250 discount if you apply 45 days prior to the application deadline

Host Family Discount – Discount of up to $1000 for families that hosted an inbound student

Area Representative Discount – Discount of up to $500 for children of ISE Area Representatives

ISE Ambassador ScholarshipDesigned for students who would like to engage deeply with their host community and reflect on their experience via blog/video contributions. 

Additional Scholarships  We gathered a list of some additional scholarships that can help finance your dream exchange

ISE Fundraising Guide –  Check out our tips and tricks for planning your very own study abroad fundraiser.

What's Included In The Program

  • Arrival Orientation
  • Comprehensive medical insurance
  • Support and supervision by local representative
  • Host family accommodation including 2 meals a day during the week, and 3 meals a day on the weekends.
  • School tuition and fees
  • Progress reports sent directly to parents
  • 24/7 emergency support
  • ISE Tote bag, luggage tag & lanyard

Additional Expenses You Might Incur

  • Personal Expenses – cell phone bills, personal spending money, travel expenses
  • Transportation to airport at conclusion of program
  • Extra School Fees – Uniform, class trips, extra curricular activities

Eligibility

  • Minimum grade of “C” in all subjects for the past year; overall “C” for past three years.
  • Agreement to attend classes and maintain passing grades in an Ecuadorian high school.
  • Maturity, flexibility and adaptability.
  • Willingness to participate in host family daily life.
  • Willingness to accept placement wherever host family and high school are located.
  • Between 15 and 18 years of age.
  • Agreement to abide by all ISE rules and regulations
  • At least basic Spanish language ability.
  • Excellent physical and mental health.
  • Complete immunization records, as outlined in the Student Application.

Academic Info

The school period in typically lasts for nine months, divided in three trimesters that generally begin in September and finish in July. Schools are either public, municipal or private. Schools with international relations are private.

The main schools in Quito (the capital of Ecuador) with international agreements are: Americano of Quito, Albert Einstein, Colegio Alemán, American Alliance, Cotopaxi Academy, among other schools. Quito has excellent primary and secondary educational institutions for your children.

Many of them offer classes in English, German and French and use the same teaching methods that are used in American and European schools.

Orientation

Upon arrival in Ecuador, you will receive a full cultural orientation. This orientation will go over your program, the local culture and the Ecuadorian way of life.

Application Process

  1. Explore our programs, options and countries to find your best match. 
  2. Complete our interest form and, if applicable, let us know who referred you to us.
  3. Schedule a meeting with one of our Travel & Study Abroad experts.
  4. Submit your application and a $200 application fee. This non-refundable fee will be applied to your overall program costs.
  5. Upon acceptance, you will be required to pay a deposit of 50% of the total program costs, up to $1500. The final payment is due several weeks before your departure. 

Parent FAQs

Moving away from your support network and into a new and unfamiliar environment can be difficult even for the most well-adjusted students. Students with pre-existing mental health conditions may find this adjustment particularly challenging, which could worsen any issues they were previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we conduct a thorough screening of all applicants to ensure they are in the right mindset to participate. While the majority of students are eligible to participate, we may not be able to accept students who have recently struggled with mental illness and/or are reliant on medication to treat mental illness in certain circumstances. Pre-existing mental health conditions include, but are not limited to:
  • Severe anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
For students prepared to take on the challenge, absolutely. It is, however, important to consider a student’s level of maturity prior to the program because it directly impacts their success.  Ideally, our programs will push students beyond their comfort zone and into what is referred to as their stretch zone. It’s in the stretch zone that learning, growth, and development - along with challenges and risk - occur.  If a student is not ready and/or willing to move beyond their comfort zone, plunging into a new and unfamiliar environment could actually have an adverse effect and place them in what is referred to as the panic zone Parents should make an honest assessment of their child’s maturity level and understand that study abroad will not fundamentally change their child’s personality or behavior when considering the program. 
While abroad, your child will be fully supported. First, they will receive a personal Program Manager to assist with everything from the initial request to your child’s departure. Then, they will be supported abroad by a dedicated Local Coordinator who will frequently check in on the student and provide monthly progress reports. Your child will have the contact information of their Local Coordinator and can contact them at any time. There is also a 24/7 emergency line managed out of ISE headquarters.
No. Visits of any kind are not allowed during our programs. If you plan to visit your child, you should plan to do so after the program has ended.
The vast majority of our participants are placed in small to medium-sized towns outside of major cities. They may not be living in the most “touristy” areas, but as long as participants are open-minded they will be treated to a truly immersive and authentic experience.

High School Program FAQs

We can’t offer any guarantees that certain classes will be offered at your host school. We can provide you with general curriculum information, but often students are not able to sign up for specific classes until after they arrive in the host country.
Upon successful completion of the program, everyone is guaranteed a Certificate of Attendance. Transcripts (i.e. grades) have to be earned. To earn the grades, you will have to excel in your classes abroad, in the language of your destination country. All of our high schools abroad are accredited institutions, therefore their grades are transferable to the United States. Please visit Scholaro for more information on translating and evaluating grades from abroad. As part of the preparation process, you have to check with your guidance counselor which classes/credits you will need to graduate or to advance to your next year of high school. Some classes, such as US History might not be offered abroad, and therefore you will have to find a way to earn those credits either before your study abroad year or after. One option to consider are Virtual High Schools, such as Franklin.
Yes, you should be able to follow along and participate in your classes. Classes like Math, Science & Physics, you will be graded on your ability to solve the problems, not on your grammar. Literature, Language & Social Science classes may be more difficult in a new language. Prior to studying abroad, there are numerous ways to prepare and improve your language skills:
  • Watch Netflix in your countries language
  • Find a language buddy
  • Study online
You will not be able to take the SATs while abroad. We highly recommend that you take the SATs prior to or after the program.
Yes! We offer a post-high school Gap Year Program. Visit our Gap Year Program page for more details.

General FAQs

ISE’s Travel & Study Abroad Program will take your academic, career, and life opportunities to new levels! College admissions and employers love compelling personal growth stories, and Travel & Study Abroad will supply you with those stories.  Some of the many benefits of participating in our programs include: Academic & Career Benefits
  • Stand out during the college admissions process
  • Develop new language skills in an immersive environment
  • Develop problem-solving skills
  • Identify interests to better select academic & career paths
  • Establish cross-cultural skills
  • Improve academic scores
Personal Benefits
  • Improve personal organization and time management skills
  • Develop a sense of adaptability, independence, and self-reliance
  • Boost self-confidence
  • Learn about new lifestyles
  • Experience new cuisines
  • Make lifelong friends
  • Gain life experience
Since 1982, our nonprofit organization has remained committed to educating future leaders and making a positive, long-lasting impact in communities.   To make cross-cultural experiences accessible to more people, we offer the best pricing available to our participants...and we do so without compromising the quality of the experience or level of support offered   We assign each participant a personal Program Manager, so you’ll receive assistance throughout your entire program experience by someone you know by name. We also provide 24/7 support from our dedicated Student Services Team.   Lastly, the trusted international organizations we partner with have been trained and certified over the course of many years working to provide study abroad programs
The summer abroad experience does lend itself to some very important essays that students write.” Deputy director of admissions for the University of Texas  A lot of schools, including ours, are looking for a diverse perspective, and international experiences lend themselves to that.” - Admissions Advisor, University of California Anything that makes your application stand out is a good thing.” - Admissions officer, University of Chicago Not only does studying outside the United States help build necessary language fluency for all college-bound students, it shows those headed to elite institutions will go outside their comfort zone and expand to meet the challenge. Nothing speaks to the ethics of those institutions quite like a commitment to that kind of excellence and personal achievement.” - Admissions Advisor, New York University
First and foremost, program candidates should be mature, open-minded, and adaptable. Wondering if our Travel & Study Abroad Program is right for you? Check out our article Should You Study Abroad? 8 Signs You’d Make a Great Exchange Student to find out!
During the Academic Year (Visit Our High School Programs Page for Specific Dates)
  • Short Term Option (1-2 months)
  • Trimester and Semester Options
  • Full Year Options
During the Summer (Visit Our Summer Program Page for Specific Dates)
  • Program options from 1-8 weeks
Post-High School Gap Year (Visit Our Gap Year Page for Specific Dates)
  • 12-month program option
For the majority of our programs, you’ll be living with a host family.  A few of our programs offer boarding schools. In those cases, you will be living with other students in a dormitory.
If you have a family in your country of choice that you know of and that is willing to host you, we may be able to place you in their home after they are properly vetted. Otherwise, host families are chosen based on your application for the most compatible fit. If you happen to have strong and valid reasons to deny a chosen family, we will try to accommodate your request to the best of our ability.
Yes, pick up and drop-off at the airport is included in all of our programs.
We don’t include airfare in our pricing because we know that allowing people to shop around for the most competitive rates and convenient airport locations is best. Not to mention you might have frequent flyer miles that you could use towards the purchase of a ticket, why take that opportunity away? You may see other programs that include flights, but it should be noted that often these flights will cost more than what participants could find on their own and/or depart from less convenient locations.
Yes, a travel medical insurance policy is included in the program price for all participants.
All program fees must be received before departure, usually 6-8 weeks before.    The usual payment schedule is: $200 student application fee, $1500 deposit before your application is forwarded to our partner in the country of choice and a remainder 6-8 weeks before departure.    Personalized installment plans are also available, where a minimum payment is set at $500.    We understand that financing a study abroad program might be challenging for some, therefore we want you to know that we are here to help as much as we can. Please visit our Scholarship and Fundraising pages for additional financing hints.
To attend a high school you must be sufficiently proficient in the native language of the country you would like to visit, but you don’t have to be fluent. Your language skills will improve quickly once you are culturally immersed!  Don’t speak another language? Don’t worry - we offer several programs in English-speaking countries.
We try to make the application process as simple as possible. Here are the steps you should follow if you’d like to apply:
  1. Explore our programs, options, and countries to find your best match.
  2. Complete our interest form and, if applicable, let us know who referred you to us.
  3. Schedule a meeting with one of our Travel & Study Abroad experts.
  4. Submit your application and a $200 application fee. This non-refundable fee will be applied to your overall program costs.
  5. Upon acceptance, you will be required to pay a deposit of 50% of the total program cost, up to $1500. The final payment is due several weeks before your departure.
Minors are not permitted to travel alone or with other minors. You may travel with your host family, local representative, or with a school. Students above 18 years old, must coordinate with their host family and local representative before making any travel plans.
Making the best decision on how to prepare for a trip to another country where different currency is used takes a bit of planning. Besides US dollar banknotes, that you can exchange anywhere in the world, most debit and credit cards are also accepted worldwide. Before leaving the US you should speak to your bank to make sure that you won’t be charged exorbitant international fees. Many banks in the US offer cards with no international or ATM fees. Also, consider inquiring about prepaid cards. Another option might be traveler’s checks that are an alternative to cash and cards. It is not very common that you will be able to open a local bank account to which you could transfer money to. However, since we live in an ever-changing world, you should never disregard this option; we encourage you to inquire about it upon your arrival. Our local representative will always be happy to assist you. Remember, never keep all of your cards and cash in one place.