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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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…
Service visits to Manta
Week 10 of Fall 2019 SST began with visits of all students at their service locations in Manta on the Pacific coast of Ecuador. Jan Bender Shetler, International Education director at Goshen College, joined SST leaders in the visit to Manta to cap her visit to Ecuador which began in…
Life on Service
Given that the focal point of the SST blog is to keep the GC community, family, and friends updated on what students are experiencing, the blog naturally slows down during service as students are away at their service locations. One of the most beautiful elements of service often is the…