About Intensive Spanish in Ecuador
Few countries as small as Ecuador contain such remarkable geographic and biological diversity. It ranges from coastal deserts to temperate mountain valleys to Amazon forests. Culturally and racially, its population includes every mix of indigenous, Spanish, and African elements. The program is based in Quito, an Andean city—within sight of snow-capped volcanoes—that houses remarkable combinations of colonial and modern, rich and poor.
The Intensive Spanish in Ecuador program can be combined with the MSID Ecuador semester or academic year program for an extended experience abroad.
Housing & Meals
Homestays are an integral component of the learning experience and often a highlight for participants. Your family provides not only housing and most meals but is a vital connection to Ecuadorian culture and daily life. All families have been carefully screened by our partner organization in Quito and complete an orientation prior to hosting students. Nearly all families have hosted program participants before and have been chosen for their genuine interest in sharing Ecuadorian life with program participants.
Host families provide 2 meals per day—breakfast and dinner. You are responsible for providing your own lunches. Several inexpensive dining options are within walking distance of Fundacion CIMAS, where all classes are held.
Although excursions may vary each term, students typically do a city tour of Quito and a field observation trip to Saqusili (just South of Quito) to visit a traditional market.
- Improve Spanish speaking, writing, listening, and reading skills
- Develop strong sense of independence from being outside of comfort zone
- Learn to appreciate relativity, accept complexity, and embrace ambiguity
- Challenge previous assumptions about Ecuador and Ecuadorian culture
- Learn to function effectively as a team member in a diverse workplace
Faculty & Staff
A team of dedicated Ecuadorian staff based in Quito work to ensure that your MSID experience is safe, academically enriching, and rewarding.
Pictured above, 1st row: Solange Paez (Secretary), Verónica Catuacuamba (Accountant), Dolores López and José Suárez (Program Directors), Emilia Castelo and Natalia Céspedes (Academic Coordinators), Janet Barros (Research Assistant).
2nd row: David González (Messenger), Carlos Travez (Researcher), Vicente Pintado (Janitor), Danilo Mastínez (Research Assistant), Franklin de la Cruz (Researcher).
Program Directors, José Suárez and Dolóres López
José Suárez is Executive Director of Fundación Cimas del Ecuador, a development-focused nonprofit organization in Quito. Dr. Suárez received his MPH and PhD degrees in public health from the University of Minnesota. A physician and epidemiologist with extensive community experience, he has authored research studies and books about health and environment in Ecuador, participated in many international and national committees, and served as a consultant to the Pan American Health Organization and Ecuador’s Ministry of Health. In addition to his extensive experience working with North American students and academic programs—including MSID since 1989—Dr. Suárez has taught at the University of Washington, Evergreen State University, and the Medical School of the Universidad Central del Ecuador.
Dolóres López is President of Fundación Cimas. She studied Anthropology at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE) and holds a bachelor's degree from Evergreen State College and a master’s degree in Social Science and Ecuadorian Studies from the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO) in Quito. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Latin American Cultural Studies Doctoral Program at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Quito. She has conducted research on social and cultural population issues; gained practical experience in working in indigenous and peasant communities; and organized local, national, and international conferences. In recent years she has been deeply involved in intercultural research projects and actively participates in community-based processes to identify alternatives for development. She has worked with US students and study abroad programs for many years, including MSID since 1989.
All language courses are taught by Ecuadorian faculty who are experts in their fields. Their CVs are available upon request.
About the Learning Abroad Center
Learning Abroad Center programs are:
- Affordable: our programs are cost effective.
- Academically strong: many programs have strong University of Minnesota departmental support and offer pre-approved courses for many majors.
- Culturally rich: regardless of the program you choose, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
- Expertly managed: our staff in Minnesota and abroad are trained professionals and are always available to answer your questions from extensive pre-departure advising and online orientations to reentry programming. Your safety and well-being are paramount, and we work hard to ensure you have a rewarding and safe experience abroad.