Hike volcanoes, explore equatorial forests, visit the pacific coast, and connect with local indigenous communities — this is Ecuador SST. While Goshen College has been sending students to Central and South American countries since the program’s inception in 1968, the Ecuador SST unit began in 2019. Located on South America’s Pacific coast, between Colombia and Peru, Ecuador straddles the equator and features one of the most diverse and vital ecosystems on the planet.
Ecuador, a country about the size of Colorado, is home to the Andes Mountains, the Amazon rainforest and an extensive Pacific coastal region. With nearly 25 percent of the Ecuadorian population representing an indigenous group, students can expect a rich cultural experience.
For the first six weeks, students live with host families in the capital city of Quito, a bustling city of about 2.5 million people located at nearly 10,000 feet elevation. Students attend school in the far north of the city at the headquarters of the Cofan Survival Fund, an NGO dedicated to the preservation of the Cofan indigenous culture and their Amazonian home.
Indigenous cultures and sustainability are two key themes of this SST location. Students have Spanish language classes each day, as well as seminars and field trips covering various aspects of culture, history and sustainability. The study portion includes trips to cloud forests, indigenous communities, and an extended trip to the Pacific coast and the beautiful Spanish colonial city of Cuenca, which was also the Ecuadorian capital of the Incas. Everywhere you turn in Ecuador you encounter a tremendous diversity of natural environments and cultures.
For the second half of their three month stay, students spread out to smaller communities across the country to live with new host families and complete work assignments. Service assignments may include work with educational, artistic, environmental, health care, social service or agricultural organizations.
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Beauty, History, and the Equatorial Sun
Ecuador SST 2019-2020 version 2.0 kicked off this past week with strange global climate change induced sunny weather during the start to the rainy season in Ecuador. Students missing the sun in North America quickly realized just how intense the sun at high altitudes on the Equator can be. What…
Spring 2020 Ecuador SST has Begun!
The Spring 2020 Ecuador unit has arrived in Quito and has been safely delivered to their lodging at the Cofan Survival Fund facilities. Their first couple of days will include a host of orientation activities, including introductions to the public transportation system and a first look at the Historic Quito…
It is Finished…..
Fall 2019 Ecuador has officially come to a close. Students have returned to the warm embrace of their families and friends and have begun the process of reintegrating back into the life that they left behind three months ago. They have also begun the process of finding ways to incorporate…