MSID—International Development in Ecuador

MSID—International Development in Ecuador

  1. Program Details

    Study international development in Ecuador—a blend of indigenous and Spanish colonial—while improving your Spanish language skills. You’ll also contribute through an internship or research project with a nonprofit organization while you are there. Explore the complexities created by issues such as the environment, globalization, public health, and social justice.

    Location Quito and other locations
    Term Fall Semester, Spring Semester
    Housing Homestay
    Credit Type Resident Credit
    Sponsor Learning Abroad Center

    Program Eligibility

    GPA 2.5
    Student Type UofM Students, Non UofM Students
    Student Year Juniors, Seniors
    Language Minimum 4 semesters college-level Spanish
  3. About MSID—International Development in Ecuador

    Learning from experience is the core of Minnesota Studies in International Development (MSID). The program puts you in direct contact with the social and economic realities of actual communities and of people working within them to address complex problems. Through classes, field trips and an extended internship or research placement, MSID strives to establish a continual dialogue linking experience with theory and critical analysis. Learn more about the mission and educational philosophy at MSID Philosophy.

    Few countries as small as Ecuador contain such remarkable geographic and biological diversity. Geographically, it ranges from coastal deserts to temperate mountain valleys to Amazon forests. Culturally and racially, its population includes a mix of indigenous, Spanish, and African elements. The program is based in Quito, an Andean city that houses a remarkable combination of colonial and modern, rich and poor. Internship sites are scattered within a 3-hour radius of Quito.

    For help deciding between Spanish language options, consult the Spanish Language Programs Comparison Chart (PDF).

    Housing & Meals

    You will live with a homestay family throughout your time in Ecuador. Students who choose an internship or research placement outside of Quito will have a second homestay placement.

    Homestay families provide breakfast and dinner daily; you will be responsible for providing your own lunches. Host families can typically accommodate a variety of dietary needs, but if you have severe food allergies and/or restrictions, contact the program team prior to applying.

    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 also a vital connection to Ecuadorian culture. Nearly all families have hosted program participants before and have been chosen for their genuine interest in sharing Ecuadorian life with an MSID program participant.


    Although excursions change from semester to semester, students can expect to visit a variety of sites that may include local markets, development agencies, and other areas of interest around Quito.  


    The Learning Abroad Center works with Village Travel, a local travel agency, to arrange a coordinated flight for program participants. The flight is optional, and is arranged for those who want to fly with other program participants. Group flight information is typically available by the program application deadline, if not before.

    Ground transportation from the Mariscal Sucre International Airport (airport code: UIO) into Quito is provided by our partner organization and the cost is included in the program fee. The transportation schedule aligns with the group flight arrival time. Our partner organization comes to the airport once to collect everyone.

    Therefore, you can either book a ticket on the coordinated group flight, or book a flight independently that arrives prior to the group flight's arrival. If you arrive late and miss the group, you may be responsible for arranging and paying for your own transportation into the city.

    For immigration purposes, you should purchase a round-trip ticket, since you must be able to show your entry and exit dates from Ecuador.

    Learning Outcomes

    • Foster an understanding of the global context through classroom and experiential learning
    • Cultivate awareness and appreciation for development issues through engagement with diverse communities
    • Translate insights gained into thoughtful and respectful long-term perspectives on concepts of social justice and sustainable development
    • Strengthen communication skills through acquisition of local languages and cultural awareness
    • Gain cross-cultural competencies through extended engagement at a local grassroots organization

    Faculty & Staff

    MSID Ecuador 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).

    José Suárez

    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

    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 MSID courses are taught by Ecuadorian faculty who are experts in their fields.

    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.
  4. Program Structure

    Program Type Field Study, Study Abroad Center
    Program Level 3000–4000 level courses

    You are required to take 16 credits for fall or spring semester. Add 4 credits for optional language pre-session.


    Semester Program

    MSID Timeline Chart

    Spend 7 weeks engaged in coursework in Quito, followed by 6 weeks working as an intern or conducting a research project with a local grassroots organization. MSID students enroll in 4 required courses, in addition to an internship or research project:

    • International Development: Critical Perspectives on Theory and Practice
      Choose a track to focus your studies and prepare you for your internship or research project. See track descriptions for more information.

      • Arts and Cultural Studies
      • Education and Literacy
      • Entrepreneurship and Alternative Economies
      • Public Health
      • Social Service
      • Sustainability and the Environment
    • Ecuador Country Analysis
    • Spanish Language
    • Community Engagement in the Global South 

    Optional Language Pre-Session

    The Intensive Spanish in Ecuador program is offered in August and in January for students interested in strengthening their language study prior to the start of the semester. One language course is taught over 3 weeks and awards 4 or 5 undergraduate credits. Intermediate and advanced Spanish are offered.

    Internships & Research Projects

    The  internship and research experience is the cornerstone of the MSID program and may be where you will learn the most. Your placement will be with an agency engaged in grassroots work related your selected track and will immerse you in the social realities of the poorer strata of the population.

    During the classroom phase, on-site staff will review your interests and attempt to place you with an agency whose goals match your objectives. Most requests within a general field can be accommodated, but adjustments may be made based on availability. Details about the internship and research process are in the Program Handbook

    The internship or research objectives will be agreed to by MSID, the agency supervisor and you, and will involve at least 25 hours per week of work. Twelve contact hours are incorporated into the classroom phase and provide specific training on research methodology to prepare students for their research or internship project. 

    See a description of past internship and research placements for this MSID country.

  5. Fall or Spring Semester Curriculum

    The semester courses are outlined below. Sample syllabi are available. All classes are with program participants and are taught by local faculty in Spanish. Through the coursework and the internship, you have the opportunity to discuss and reflect on the complex and diverse nature of development as realized in your MSID country.

    Spanish Grammar & Writing Workshop
    ECDR 3011W
    Choose one: ECDR 3011W or 3030W
    4 Credits

    Focus on practical skills while emphasizing conversation and vocabulary building.

    Syllabus for Spanish Grammar & Writing Workshop Spanish ver. (PDF)

    Syllabus for Spanish Grammar & Writing Workshop English ver. (PDF)

    Prerequisite: Four or more semesters of college Spanish (or equivalent)

    Liberal education requirement fulfilled: Writing Intensive
    UofM Spanish department equivalent: SPAN 3011W 

    Introduction to Latin American Cultures
    ECDR 3030W
    Choose one: ECDR 3030W or 3011W
    4 Credits

    Introduction to Latin American Cultures, is an intensive writing course designed to develop and strengthen the understanding and management of language skills acquired in previous courses and to develop knowledge about various cultures in Latin America and Ecuador.

    Prerequisites: Five or more semesters of college Spanish, including an advanced composition and communication course (or equivalent, native-speaker status)

    Liberal education requirements fulfilled: Writing Intensive, Literature core
    UofM Spanish department equivalent: SPAN 3510 or SPAN 3920. See Spanish Studies adviser for additional information.

    Syllabus for Introduction to Latin American Cultures Spanish ver. (PDF)

    Syllabus for Introduction to Latin American Cultures English ver. (PDF)

    International Development: Critical Perspectives on Theory & Practice
    MSID 4001
    4 Credits

    Explore a wide variety of perspectives on international development, with the host country as a case study. This course begins with 20 hours of common discussion on international development. The remaining course is divided into sections, and you select from the following sections in order to prepare for your internship or research project: (see track descriptions for more information):

    General course syllabus: 
    Syllabus for International Development Spanish ver. (PDF)

    Syllabus for International Development English ver. (PDF)

    Liberal education requirements fulfilled: Social Science core and Civic Life and Ethics theme

    MSID Country Analysis
    MSID 4002
    4 Credits

    This multidisciplinary study of the MSID country emphasizes the social sciences and history, especially as they relate to development issues.

    Syllabus for MSID Country Analysis Spanish ver. (PDF)

    Syllabus for MSID Country Analysis English ver. (PDF)

    Liberal education requirement fulfilled: Social Science core and Global Perspectives theme. UofM Spanish department equivalent: SPAN 3510

    Community Engagement in the Global South
    MSID 4003
    4 Credits

    An internship or research project with a host-country development agency or project provides an unparalleled opportunity to study community characteristics, development strategies and problems, organizational structure and culture, and cross-cultural communication issues. The length of the internship or research project is 6 weeks during the first semester. You typically spend approximately 25 to 30 hours each week at your internship or research site, although this may vary depending on the specific site and project. A list of sample past internships and research projects is available.

    Written assignments help link experiences to theories and issues raised in the classroom. A program faculty member or the on-site director visits you at least once at your internship or research site during the internship/research period. At the end of each semester, you gather in the host city or a retreat site for a seminar, which helps integrate your experiences and newly acquired knowledge. Twelve contact hours of this course are incorporated into the classroom phase and provide specific training on research methodology to prepare students for their research or internship project.  

    Syllabus for Community Engagement in the Global South Spanish ver. (PDF)

    Syllabus for Community Engagement in the Global South English ver. (PDF)

    Liberal education requirement fulfilled: Social Science core and Civic Life and Ethics theme
    UofM Spanish department equivalent: Spanish elective. Consult with the Spanish Advising Office to see how this course could fulfill requirements for the Spanish Studies major/minor or Spanish/Portuguese Studies major.

    Optional Online Course

    Global Identity
    OLPD 3330
    1 credit
    Global Identity: Connecting Your International Experience with Your Future is an optional 1-credit online course that helps you process your international experience and apply what you've learned upon your return.  Global Identity gives you the opportunity to work individually with a trained cultural mentor, helping you articulate your newly acquired skills and differentiating you from your peers.

    This course is offered at no additional cost on programs six weeks or longer. The Learning Abroad Center will email out registration instructions, or you may contact a program team member.

    Syllabus for Global Identity (PDF)

  6. As an MSID student, you have the choice to do either a research project or an internship for six weeks as part of the Community Engagement course. In either option, you will be placed with a local NGO related to the track you have chosen for the International Development course (Arts & Cultural Studies, Education & Literacy, Entrepreneurship & Alternative Economies, Public Health, Sustainability & the Environment, or Social Service). All academic year students engage in a research project during spring semester.

    Internships involve participation in and observation of the daily activities of a local NGO and focuses on applied learning. Internship students may be involved in a variety of different types of activities and experiences depending on their placement.

    Below are examples of the types of internships students have done in the past:

    Arts & Cultural Studies

    • Work with youth at a community organization working to preserve indigenous culture through dance

    Education & Literacy

    • Working with the English program at a night school for working students.
    • Working with children at a school in a high-poverty area.
    • Teaching English to northern Afro Ecuadorian high school students where community politics influence education.
    • Teaching English at small school in a rural indigenous area of Ecuador where the students have had little exposure to English.
    • Studying theories behind holistic education and how these practices can be incorporated into a classroom setting.
    • Conducting research on the best methods to teach English as well as hire and train English teachers.
    • Assist in providing language therapy to children with disabilities.
    • Assist in teaching English to primary and secondary students at a rural indigenous school.
    • Work at an after-school program for young children who come from disadvantaged homes.

    Entrepreneurship & Alternative Economies

    • Working with a microfinance organization

    Public Health

    • Assisting in a general hospital located in the rainforest in Ecuador that serves the indigenous people of the area.
    • Providing support to faculty in a pediatrics department of a hospital that works with children who suffer from malnutrition.
    • Working with technology development in a genetics lab at a university in Quito.
    • Shadowing doctors as they are doing rounds and noting patient progress.
    • Working in a hospital that focuses on prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation for people of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
    • Working in a nonprofit hospital that provides culturally sensitive medicine to the people most in need of treatment.
    • Collecting information regarding medical plant remedies that were compiled into a book used for training midwives.
    • Working in a hospital dedicated to adolescent mothers with a social worker to help the girls learn life skills.
    • Helping a small public hospital in Quito develop ways to improve services to women.

    Social Services

    • Working with girls that work the streets or accompany their parents to work to teach them life skills.
    • Working with children at an organization that offers legal, social, and psychological support to victims of domestic and sexual abuse and their families.
    • Working with an organization that manages community cultural and natural resources.
    • Developing basic services such as potable water, electricity, and daycare centers in the community in an area where gender roles are changing due to migration.
    • Working in a boys' shelter with poverty and problems of the Quechua majority.
    • Working with communal businesses and cooperatives to institute a development model used in other parts of the world.
    • Creating, promoting, and sustaining a basketball team by establishing a club, teaching rules, and training regularly.

    Sustainability & the Environment

    • Being involved in an environmental conservation project in the Amazon region.
    • Working in a wildlife preserve and park on environmental protection within the city.
    • Collecting and categorizing species for a conservation-oriented museum.
    • Working on projects that emphasize the importance of diverse gardens within a community.
    • Working with indigenous traditions to progress toward sustainable development of water supply in a community.
    • Working to improve agricultural environment by conducting soil analysis of 17 farms.
    • Working on an agro-ecological farm performing basic farm operations, selling product at the local market, and attending community meetings.
    • Assisting in the production and sale of cacao, including field work, product development, and administrative tasks.
  7. As an MSID student, you have the choice to do either a research project or an internship for six weeks as part of the Community Engagement course. In either option, you will be placed with a local NGO related to the track you have chosen for the International Development course (Arts & Cultural Studies, Education & Literacy, Entrepreneurship & Alternative Economies, Public Health, Sustainability & the Environment, or Social Service). All academic year students engage in a research project during spring semester.

    A research project involves a systematic investigation of a specific topic, question, hypothesis, or theory. Research is conducted under the guidance of a project supervisor at the MSID program and at a local NGO. The project culminates in a final paper or project that demonstrates the knowledge gained through the investigation.

    The examples below illustrate the differences between the internship and research options:


    Track Internship example Research example

    Arts & Cultural Studies

    Work with a cultural preservation organization with a youth indigenous dance troupe

    Examine the cultural and historical significance of a specific type of indigenous dance

    Education & Literacy

    Assist in teaching English to primary and secondary students at rural schools

    Investigate effective methods of teaching English as a second language and examine curricular practices at the local and national level

    Entrepreneurship & Alternative Economies

    Meet with micro loan applicants and review loan application materials

    Analyze the loan repayment rate at a microfinance organization  

    Public Health

    Provide support to faculty in a pediatrics department of a hospital that works with children who suffer from malnutrition

    Survey the hospital’s education and outreach plan to address pediatric malnutrition in the region

    Sustainability & the Environment

    Participate in an agroforestry project at a sustainability-focused NGO

    Compare and contrast local and national research on the environmental impact of agroforestry programs

    Social Services

    Provide support to an NGO that does job skill training for low income women

    Analyze the wage gap between men and women in various sectors of the local economy


    Research Project Examples

    • Analyze the economic and social activities of surrounding communities to increase sustainable development that aligns with Ecuador's social economy
    • Investigate the initiatives and strategies that can help achieve higher levels of food sovereignty
    • Monitor the daily feeding of children at a local after-school program and identify the factors that contribue to malnutrition
    • Study the cultural impact of oil exploitation on indigenous communities of the Amazon
    • Learn how an organization of Kichwa women use medicinal plants in the practice of ancestral medicine
    • Explore how the diversification of exports impacts Ecuador's national economy as well as its role in the global economy
    • Investigate the impact of promoting ancestral language retention and indigenous culture education at schools with indigenous popoulations 
    • Determine the principal barriers that prevent women from attaining higher levels of participation and influence in the public sphere

    Human Subjects Research

    The governments of the United States and MSID countries have laws protecting human subjects of research. Due to the timeline for gaining the necessary permissions for doing research with human subjects, such research cannot be conducted while abroad on LAC program. However, there are still a wide variety of projects, that include interaction with people, that are available. See more information on options for Undergraduate Research Abroad.

    Research Funding (for UofM students)

    The Learning Abroad Center offers a number of programs (including all MSID programs) that include research opportunities and are eligible for the Learning Abroad Center’s International UROP scholarship of $2,500 (available to UofM students only). Learn more about IUROP funding.

  8. Academic Tracks

    Students are required to select a track as part of the International Development course, which will focus your studies and help prepare you for your internship.

    Arts & Cultural Studies

    Develop a critical understanding of culture through an analysis of the literature, art, film, and music. Discussion focuses on the perspectives, values, and lives of people and their relationship to development as revealed through different cultural and literary venues.

    Education & Literacy

    Analyze the educational system, government policy, and impact on local educational structures, the disparities in access to education, and the relationship between education and development. Discussions may include gender education, financial challenges, and current reforms.

    Entrepreneurship & Alternative Economies

    Examine the history, nature, and challenges of microbusiness and its role in the economic and social development of the local community. Includes an analysis of informal sector enterprises, the role of social entrepreneurship, and an overview of key aspects of microfinance.

    Public Health

    Examine health care systems, the management and prevention of disease, and the philosophical approaches to health care, including the role of traditional medicine. Specific topics for discussion include women’s health, children’s health, HIV education, and rural versus urban health care facilities.

    Social Service

    Understand how government policies and local grassroots efforts serve the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, including the homeless, women, children, indigenous groups, the disabled, and the elderly. Topics include the configuration of social services, resource allocation, community development, and welfare reform.

    Sustainability & the Environment

    Investigate the relationship between environmental and natural resource challenges and the local community. Critical issues being faced may include sustainable food and water sources, natural resource utilization and management, climate change, wildlife management, and sustainable development.

  9. Dates & Deadlines

    Submit the online application and complete the assigned application checklist according to the appropriate deadline:
    Program Term App Open Date Deadline*
    August Language Pre-session 2020 Dec 1 May 15
    August Session 2020 Aug 2 – 27
    Arrival date Aug 2
    Last day of program Aug 26
    Departure date Aug 27
    Alternative departure date Aug 28
    Fall 2020 Dec 1 May 15
    MSID Ecuador —Standard Aug 30 – Dec 12
    MSID Ecuador —Plus Pre-session Aug 2
    Pre-session arrival date Aug 2
    Pre-session last day Aug 26
    Fall arrival date Aug 30
    Classroom phase ends Oct 23
    Internship/Research phase begins Oct 26
    Final seminar begins Dec 7
    Last day of program Dec 11
    Departure date Dec 12
    Winter Break Language Pre-session 2020-21 May 1 Oct 15
    January Session 2020-21 Dec 27 – Jan 16
    Arrival date Dec 27
    Last day of program Jan 15
    Departure date Jan 16
    Spring 2020 May 1 Oct 15
    MSID Ecuador —Standard Jan 19 – May 9
    MSID Ecuador —Plus Pre-session Dec 27 – May 9
    Pre-session arrival date Dec 27
    Pre-session last day Jan 17
    Spring arrival date Jan 19
    Classroom phase ends Mar 20
    Spring break period Feb 29 – Mar 5
    Internship/Research begins Mar 23
    Internship/Research phase ends Apr 24
    Final seminar begins May 4
    Last day of program May 8
    Departure day May 9
    Alternative departure day May 10

    Late applications are considered on a case-by-case basis. If the deadline has passed, contact Molly Micheels to inquire about applying late.

    Information about a group flight will be sent out after the application deadline. Before purchasing alternate flights, please consult with Learning Abroad Center staff to coordinate with the scheduled group flight. 

    *Program dates are subject to change. Contact the LAC for verification of dates before purchasing your airfare.
    **If the deadline falls on a weekend, submit your materials on the following business day.

    Orientation Dates & Locations

    Orientation will be conducted in 2 parts: an online orientation, which is mandatory for all students, and an in-person, program-specific session. You will receive more information about the online orientation via email. Failure to complete the online orientation will impact your ability to go abroad.

    See below for tentative dates and times for your in-person session. You will be notified of the official date and time via email. Participants will receive applicable orientation materials via email approximately 1 week prior to the in-person session.

    Term Abroad Date/Time Location
    August Session & Fall 2020 Thursday, May 21, 2020, 2:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m. Virtual meeting
  10. Fees for MSID—International Development in Ecuador

    University of Minnesota participants pay the program fee instead of on-campus tuition and fees for the term they are abroad.

    Fall Semester 2019

    Standard, Plus pre-session

    Spring 2020

    Standard, Plus pre-session

    Fees or tuition from home institutions may be added to or differ from the University of Minnesota Learning Abroad Center fees listed on this page.

    Billing & Payments

    Visit Billing for information about the billing process for application fees, deposits, and program fees.

    Financial Aid & Scholarships

    Visit Financial Information for information on using financial aid and scholarships for study abroad.

    Bridging Loan

    Bridging Loan, a no-interest/no-fees loan that funds the upfront deposit and flights costs, is available for this program for eligible students.

    Cancellation Policy

    Before you apply to or confirm your participation on this program, review the Learning Abroad Center's Cancellation Policy to inform yourself of the timeline and financial obligations for canceling.
  11. Prepare

    Complete pre-application advising.

    Be aware: All programs require a $50 application fee. This fee will be charged to your student account upon submission of an online application.

    To complete the online application for this program, you will need to select or provide the following information on the online application:

    Center Name TC Learning Abroad Ctr
    Education Abroad Term See Program Dates for term options
    Program Name MSID Ecuador
    Track Name See Program Dates for track options
    Country Ecuador


    University of Minnesota Student—apply

    Use your University of Minnesota internet ID and password to log into the Education Abroad application system. Your student account will be charged a $50 application fee.

    Non-University of Minnesota Student—apply

    Once you submit your application, Learning Abroad Center staff will create a University of Minnesota student internet account for you. You will use this account to access the Education Abroad Application System, and other University of Minnesota services. You will be charged a $50 application fee for this program.

    Our staff will contact you within 2–3 business days with your internet account information, and additional application instructions.


    After you submit your application, you will receive an email notification confirming that your application was received. Submitted applications are assigned an application checklist, which will include the following items:
    • Resume
    • Statement of Purpose
    • Statement of Purpose in Spanish
    • Academic Recommendation

    Additional Items Required for non-UofM Students:

    • Transcript
    • Home School Nomination

    Detailed descriptions and instructions for submitting each checklist item are included on the application checklist assigned to you.

    If you do not meet the GPA requirement for this program you will be required to submit two additional application items- the Low GPA Essay and Special Circumstances Recommendation.  Both items will be added to your checklist after you start your application, and you will be notified when they have been added.

    After your application checklist is complete, your application is reviewed by our program team. You will be notified of an acceptance decision by email. If accepted, you will be assigned an acceptance checklist, which you will complete to confirm your participation in the program. If you decide not to continue with the application process, log into the online application system and submit a Cancel Request.

  12. Passport

    You will need a valid passport in order to enter Ecuador. Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your anticipated return date. If you have not already obtained your passport, apply for one immediately. Information about applying for a passport can be found on the US Department of State's website.


    US citizens on the MSID-Ecuador program are not required to obtain a student visa. Non-US citizens should check with the host country embassy to determine any special regulations pertaining entry into that country.

    Country-Specific Instructions

    All MSID-Ecuador students who are US citizens will enter Ecuador on a tourist visa, which is granted upon arrival, and valid for 90 days. Therefore, it is not necessary to apply for a visa in advance.

    Once in Ecuador, students will work with the staff at our partner organization to complete paperwork for an extension of their visa. The extension fee is already included in the program fee. 

    We are working with our partner organization in Quito to confirm the requirements for the extension paperwork. Students will receive more specific instructions about the process via email.

    The Learning Abroad Center will also provide a letter confirming the visa process, which students should carry with them as they travel to Ecuador, in case they are questioned by airline or immigration officials.

    Please note that visa regulations are subject to change without prior notification, depending on current Ecuadorian immigration policies.

  13. Program Contact

    For further information or questions about this program, send an email to

    Molly Micheels or call at 612.624.3949.

  14. Contact Program Alum

    Below is a list of additional students who participated in past program sessions. They are ready and willing to answer your questions about this program. Feel free to contact them during your decision-making process or anytime during your pre-departure preparation to get a student perspective.

    Fall 2019

    • Carlie M. — Biology, Society, Environment major, Public Health & Spanish minors. Track: Public Health
    • Lee T. — HRIR & Public and Nonprofit Management majors, Spanish minor. Track: Social Service

    Spring 2019

    • Will M. — Applied Economics major, Spanish and Sustainability Studies minors. Track: Sustainability and the Environment
    • Maya G.— Elementary Education major, Spanish minor. Track: Education and Literacy
    • Hannah F.— Biology, Society and Environment major, Spanish minor. Track: Public Health

    Fall 2018

    • Emily P.— Health Sciences major, Track: Social Service
    • Samara E. —Youth Studies major, Spanish and Interdisciplinary Design minors, Track: Education & Literacy

    Spring 2018

    • Emily K: Spanish & Psychology major, Track: Public Health
    • Josalyza T: BSE major, Spanish & Public Health minors, Track: Public Health
    • Julia B: Health Sciences major, Track: Sustainability and the Environment
    • Grace P: Undeclared major, Spanish minor, Track: Public Health
    • Joe M: Family Social Science & Religious Studies majors, Track: Social Service
Program Handbook Program Orientation Visa Information

University of Minnesota students participating in a research project on this program may be eligible for the International Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (I-UROP) Scholarship