Fall 2020 Ecuador Semester

Characterized by awe-inspiring landscapes, diverse cultures, and a deep sense of shared history, Ecuador offers a fascinating view into the complexities of indigenous communities, postcolonialism, and the increasing pressures of globalization.

From the beaches of the Pacific Coast; to the soaring Andes Mountains; down the steep eastern slope into the Amazon jungle, Carpe Diem Education provides an opportunity to explore a region of immense natural beauty and abundance; to discover energetic, vibrant multicultural societies; and to study, practice, and expand your knowledge of the Spanish language.


Discover the Amazon basin as you participate in forest and river conservation efforts.

Learn how globalizaiton is impacting farming methods on a local and global scale. You’ll visit two coastal communities, spending a week on a family-run organic farm, and one week on a large scale production farm.

Experience traditional life through homestays with indigenous families in the cloud forest of Ecuador. Learn about the impacts of large scale resource extraction on local communities and habitats. 

Engage in immersive Spanish classes while participating in homestays, practicing Spanish with host families, and refining your skills through individualized language lessons

Experience the majestic Ecuadorian Andes as you trek near the beautiful Laguna Quilatoa.

Gap year students posing with a large QUITO sculpture

Program Details

Three people slack lining in Ecuadorian village
Group of gap year students organizing freshly picked bananas


8 weeks

Program dates

FALL 2020
October 7 – December 7

Group Size

2 Overseas Educators and up to 12 students


Our typical student is between 17-22, though we sometimes work with students slightly outside that range depending on circumstances.

College Credit & Financial Aid

Learn more about: College Credit & Financial Aid

This program not eligible for Spanish 199. Check out the Guatemala Program is you're interested.

Language Requirements




Program tuition includes all food, accommodations, scheduled program activities, and international travel insurance for the duration of the program. International airfare and spending money are extra. International airfare estimated at $1500 - $1700.

About Our Ecuador Semester

Sharing the cultural legacy of the Incan civilization, Ecuador offers a rich and diverse subset of cultures and traditions. From vibrant Afro-Ecuadorian communities of Coastal Ecuador to distinctive indigenous Quichua communities of the Andes and the Amazon, the diversity of people and environment is truly spectacular.  

Once part of the thriving Incan Empire, this region experienced the harsh impacts of colonization, which decimated indigenous populations and Incan civilization as a whole. Yet indigenous populations still thrive here, with upwards of 10 million people still speaking the Quechua language. Inhabiting the mineral-rich Andes mountains, and the heavily forested Amazon jungle, these communities are facing the pressures of large scale mining, deforestation, and resource depletion.

One Carpe Diem Education student and one Overseas Educator singing and playing guitar together while locals look on
Group of gap year students and mountain guides in front of a large Andean mountain

Questions We'll Explore: 

  • How are local communities conserving the environment, while balancing economic interests and increased demand for resources?
  • How are the additional stresses of tourism, population growth, and migration to urban centers affecting the environment and culture?
  • What efforts are communities, NGOs and individuals making towards environmental conservation, and how can we contribute - both on semester and back home?    

By engaging with the land through hands-on farming and conservation efforts, we’ll establish a connection to people and place, and begin exploring these questions. Through consistent study and practice of Spanish, we’ll improve our ability to listen to the stories of others, and to share our own. By living with host families in different environments, we discover the thread of history, language, and culture that bind these communities together, while experiencing their unique expression of belief, tradition, and ways of living.

Three people smiling and grilling cuy in Ecuador
Rural dirt road with vibrant greenery in the background

We’ll assist in the restoration of jungle habitats and river ecosystems while living in the Amazon region. Moving into the cloud forests of Ecuador, we’ll participate in reforestation efforts by planting endemic trees specific to this unique environment. Moving further into the Intag valley, we will discover the stories of communities who are embattled in an effort to preserve valuable wildlife habitat, keep corporate mining interests off their lands, and promote organic and sustainable agricultural practices.

Carpe Diem Education’s Ecuador semester takes you to some of the most culturally and ecologically diverse regions of the world. Through hands-on, experiential learning, intensive Spanish study, and discussions specific to resources, economics, and community, the journey through Ecuador allows us a deeper understanding of the realities of globalization.


"I absolutely loved the group environment. Every one of us were so incredibly different, and yet we all clicked."

CDE Student

"What I love about this program is the variety of cultures, landscapes, and languages that the group experiences during the semester."

Overseas Educator

"My experience in South America was literally life-changing."

CDE Student

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