MSID—International Development in Ecuador

MSID—International Development in Ecuador

  1. Program Details

    Study international development in Ecuador—a country with a blend of indigenous and Spanish colonial influences—while improving your Spanish language skills. The program includes a six-week internship or research project with a grassroots organization focused on entrepreneurship, health, human rights, or sustainability.

    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 of college-level Spanish (SPAN 1004), or equivalent proficiency
  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 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 three-hour radius of Quito. For help deciding between Spanish language options, consult the Spanish Language Programs Comparison Chart (PDF).

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

    Housing & Meals

    August Pre-Session & Fall 2021: Due to COVID 19, homestays may not be possible. In that case, you will be housed in shared apartments with other program participants. Apartments are fully furnished and include cooking facilities. You will be responsible for providing your own meals throughout the program.

    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. Students who choose an internship or research placement outside of Quito will have a second homestay placement. You can choose an individual or shared homestay, depending on your preference.


    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, including to an internship or research project:

    • Historical & Political Context of Ecuador
    • International Development
      Choose a theme to focus your studies and prepare you for your internship or research project. See theme descriptions for more information.

      • Entrepreneurship 
      • Health
      • Human Rights
      • Sustainability 
    • Spanish Language
    • Internship or Research

    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 or research experience is the cornerstone of the MSID program. Your placement will be with an organization engaged in grassroots work related to your chosen international development theme.

    During the classroom phase, the on-site staff will review your interests and attempt to place you with an organization whose goals match your objectives. Most requests within a general field can be accommodated, but adjustments may be made based on availability. You will work at least 25 hours each week. Details about the internship and research process are in the Program Handbook.

    See a description of past internship and research placements. The chart below will help you differentiate between an internship and a research placement.

    Theme Internship example Research example
    Entrepreneurship Meet with micro loan applicants and review loan application materials Analyze the loan repayment rate at a microfinance organization
    Health Provide support to health care professionals in a small regional hospital or clinic Survey the hospital’s education and outreach plan to address local health disparities
    Human Rights Provide support to an organization that provides job skill training for women Analyze the wage gap between men and women in various sectors of the local economy
    Sustainability Participate in an agroforestry project in collaboration with an organization that focuses on sustainability Compare and contrast local and national research on the environmental impact of agroforestry programs
  5. Fall or Spring Semester Curriculum

    The semester courses and syllabi are outlined below; all courses are taught by local faculty. Students will select one course option from each of the four headings below for a total of 16 credits. Your selections will be indicated on your Academic Information form found on your confirmation checklist. 

    Through the coursework and the internship or research project, you will develop a comprehensive understanding of the complex and diverse nature of international development in Ecuador.

    Historical & Political Context

    All students will be enrolled in this interdisciplinary course, designed to provide context to your time in Ecuador.

    Historical & Political Context of Ecuador
    ECDR 4101
    Fall, Spring
    4 Credits

    This course will begin with a historical review from the European conquest, moving to independence and the construction of a nation state, and finally the republican era until today. Main events and characteristics from each timeframe will be highlighted. Students will discuss the “discovery of America” from the Ecuadorian and South American context, and the process and impact of conquering this continent. History and politics will come together when discussing the 20th century. Topics such as liberal revolution, plutocracy, the uprising known as the Juliana Revolution, the populist velasquista phenomenon, dictatorships, and the return to democracy will all be examined. The current state will be analyzed based on identifying the main elements that shape the country's cultural diversity, its nationalities and peoples.

    Spanish Department equivalent: SPAN 3510

    Syllabus for Historical & Political Context of Ecuador (PDF)

    International Development

    This course begins with 20 hours of common discussion on international development. From there, the course will be divided into the below themes. This theme will focus your studies and prepare you for your internship or research project.

    International Development: Social Entrepreneurship & Microfinance
    ECDR 4002
    Fall, Spring
    4 Credits

    This course will critically analyze theories of development, and the impact of development models throughout the world, but specifically Latin America and Ecuador. Students will address development theories, assumptions of development, and alternatives to development through the lens of social services. This course starts by investigating the concept of globalization within international development and its prevalence in Latin America, and in particular Ecuador. Students will then identify the impacts of development on the Ecuadorian economy, specifically focusing on the concept of social entrepreneurship which is recognized in the Ecuadorian constitution. They will study the history of this specific form of entrepreneurship, its relationship with local development, and as an alternate form of distribution and production of goods and services.

    Spanish Department equivalent: Elective without a Critical Analysis prerequisite

    Syllabus for Social Entrepreneurship & Microfinance (PDF)

    International Development: Public Health & Traditional Andean Medicine
    ECDR 4003
    Fall, Spring
    4 Credits

    This course will critically analyze theories of development, and the impact of development models throughout the world, but specifically Latin America and Ecuador. Students will address development theories, assumptions of development, and alternatives to development through the lens of social services. This course starts by investigating the concept of globalization within international development and its prevalence in Latin America, and in particular Ecuador. Students will then begin to address social, economic, cultural and environmental determinants of health as a mechanism for understanding the main health problems in Ecuador. There is an emphasis throughout the course on contrasting Western thinking and medicine with Andean world views and Ancestral Medicine, in an effort to build intercultural health processes, in order to improve the health conditions of diverse cultural groups.

    Spanish Department equivalent: Elective without a Critical Analysis prerequisite

    Syllabus for Public Health & Traditional Andean Medicine (PDF)

    International Development: Human Rights, Policy & Practice
    ECDR 4001
    Fall, Spring
    4 Credits

    This course will critically analyze theories of development, and the impact of development models throughout the world, but specifically Latin America and Ecuador. Students will address development theories, assumptions of development, and alternatives to development through the lens of social services. This course starts by investigating the concept of globalization within international development and its prevalence in Latin America, and in particular Ecuador. Students will then focus on the critical analysis of social problems, rights and empowerment. The concept of social exclusion (discrimination, inequality, inequity, poverty) will be discussed, how development has led to social inclusion or exclusion, and how human rights and policies have contributed. The course will focus on the priority care groups—children and adolescents, women, older adults, and people with disabilities—and the policies, programs, and services for them in Ecuador today.

    Spanish Department equivalent: Elective without a Critical Analysis prerequisite

    Syllabus for Human Rights, Policy & Practice (PDF)

    International Development: Environmental Challenges from the Andes to the Amazon
    ECDR 4004
    Fall, Spring
    4 Credits

    This course will critically analyze theories of development, and the impact of development models throughout the world, but specifically Latin America and Ecuador. Students will address development theories, assumptions of development, and alternatives to development through the lens of social services. This course starts by investigating the concept of globalization within international development and its prevalence in Latin America, and in particular Ecuador. Students will then identify the impacts of development on environmental challenges in Ecuador, and the relationship between environment, use and management of natural resources, and local communities. Examination of cases that involve people's rights over the environment, food sovereignty, water management, climate change, sustainable development and local alternatives for natural resource management and conservation will be studied.

    Spanish Department equivalent: Elective without a Critical Analysis prerequisite

    Syllabus for Environmental Challenges from the Andes to the Amazon (PDF)


    Choose one course from the two options below, based on prerequisites and your language level.

    Spanish Grammar & Writing Workshop
    ECDR 3011W
    Fall, Spring
    4 Credits

    Focus on practical skills while emphasizing conversation and vocabulary building.

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

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

    Syllabus for Spanish Grammar & Writing Workshop (PDF)

    Introduction to Latin American Cultures
    ECDR 3030W
    Fall, Spring
    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 (PDF)

    Internship or Research

    After completing the three courses above, you will spend six weeks with a local organization completing an internship or research project. Your placement will correspond with the theme you chose in the International Development course.

    Internship in Ecuador
    ECDR 4896
    Fall, Spring
    4 Credits

    This course provides a cross-cultural experience of working on various development issues with a regional nonprofit organization. The course focuses on guiding students to understand their own identity as they integrate theory with reality by participation in local development sites. Students are prepared for entering into their community work through discussions on stakeholder and agency analysis, culture specific gender and diversity context, and power and privilege. The students are urged to play an active role in their internships by providing suggestions, solutions, discussing alternatives and investigating all areas of their internship placement to garner a holistic experience on the realities of development work. Through practical internship experiences as well as readings, discussions, and written assignments, students will deepen their understanding of the host-country cultural context, development work from an international perspective, and critically examine their own worldview.

    Syllabus for Internship in Ecuador (PDF)

    Research in Ecuador
    ECDR 4201
    Fall, Spring
    4 Credits

    This course will introduce the MSID student to: various research concepts and practices; experience decisions involved in research regarding selection of topic and title for their study, developing statements of problems and choice of research questions, appropriate research design; issues related to research ethics and; develop their skills in choosing data collection instruments and analysis of the data they collect for their research. It does this by introducing various topics in the research cycle and providing a forum in which students can share with one another their research experience at each stage of the process.

    Spanish Department equivalent: Elective with a Critical Analysis prerequisite

    Syllabus for Research in Ecuador (PDF)

    Optional Online Course

    Global Identity
    OLPD 3332
    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 can complete a research project or participate in an internship for six weeks. In either option, you will be placed with a local organization related to the theme you chose for the International Development course (Entrepreneurship, Health, Human Services, Sustainability). 

    Internships involve participation in and observation of the daily activities of a local agency. You will put into practice the theories you learned in the classroom.

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



    • Assist in providing technical and financial support to a network of credit unions by doing field visits, attending workshops with administrators and meeting with organization employees and members.
    • Helping an organization to empower, help, and develop women by offering economic workshops, classes, and services
    • Assisting with microcredit lending at an organization that offers fair credit practices to indigenous people and other rural polulations
    • Working with an organization that works to promote local rural businesses such as eco-tourism, small jam and dairy factories, and the sale of artisan products
    • Working with a community-based small business that works towards the development of tourism in the indigenous communities of Cotacachi


    • Assisting in a rural hospital that provides medical services to indigenous communities. Schedule and shadow appointments, take vital signs, accompanying staff on wellness and immunization visits.
    • Conducting nutrition outreach within a rural, indigenous community. Taking height/weight measurements of schoolchildren, evaluating school food programs and attending public nutrition education events.
    • Working with technology development in a genetics lab at a university in Quito.
    • Learning about ancestral and alternative medicine by shadowing practicioners as therapies and treatments are being delivered. 
    • Working in a non-profit clinic run by the indigenous federation of Imbabura, home to practitioners of traditional Andean medicine
    • Working in a non-profit 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.
    • Shadowing health promotion activities such as vaccination and vision tests, as well as wellness checks for infant and elderly populations in a local clinic.
    • 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.

    Human Rights

    • 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.
    • Support immigrants and refugees through communication with other advocacy organizations, financial services and community outreach.


    • Being involved in an environmental conservation project in the Amazon region.
    • Design and implement a rainwater collection system for domestic and agricultural use.
    • Help to foster sustainable development among an indigenous community in the Amazon by developing a local association for vanilla production.
    • Assisting with reforestation and educational efforts at an ecological reserve. Plant and harvest crops, create organic compost and work with local school children.
    • Working at a sustainable agriculture reserve. Assist with planting and harvesting coffee and chocolate, clearing trails and raising animals.
    • Working with indigenous traditions to progress toward sustainable development of water supply in a community.
    • 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 can complete a research project or participate in an internship for six weeks. In either option, you will be placed with a local organization related to the theme you chose for the International Development course (Entrepreneurship, Health, Human Services, Sustainability). 

    A research project involves a systematic investigation of a specific topic, question, hypothesis, or theory. You will conduct research under the guidance of a project supervisor from the MSID program and a local organization. 

    Below are examples of past students' research projects, or possibilities for future research:


    • Analyze the economic and social activities of surrounding communities to increase sustainable development that aligns with Ecuador's social economy


    • Monitor the daily feeding of children at a local after-school program and identify the factors that contribute to malnutrition
    • Learn how an organization of Kichwa women use medicinal plants in the practice of ancestral medicine

    Human Rights

    • Determine the principal barriers that prevent women from attaining higher levels of participation and influence in the public sphere


    • Investigate the initiatives and strategies that can help achieve higher levels of food sovereignty
    • Study the cultural impact of oil exploitation on indigenous communities of the Amazon

    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. International Development Themes

    Select one of the four themes for your International Development course.  This theme will focus your studies and prepare you for your internship or research project.


    Entrepreneurship looks different in each cultural context. Examine the history, development, challenges, opportunities, and role of business and microfinance in the economic and social development of the local community. The theme includes an analysis of informal sector enterprises, the role of social entrepreneurship, and an overview of key aspects of microfinance.


    Examine health care systems, the management and prevention of disease, and the philosophical approaches to health care, including the role of traditional medicine, through this theme. Specific topics for discussion may include holistic health, women’s and children’s health, public health, animal health, and rural vs. urban health care facilities.

    Human Rights

    Understand how human rights are legislated and regulated at the policy level, as well as how they are implemented at the grass roots level. In particular, this theme will consider the impact on the most vulnerable members of society, including women, children, indigenous groups, people with disabilities, and homeless, migrant, and elderly populations.


    Investigate the relationship between environmental and natural resources challenges and the local community. This theme may cover critical issues, biodiversity, sustainable food and water sources, responsible agricultural practices, design practices, 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 2021 Dec 18 May 1
    August Session 2021 Aug 1 – 25
    Arrival date Aug 1
    Last day of program Aug 25
    Departure date Aug 26
    Alternative departure date Aug 27
    Fall 2021 Dec 18 May 1
    MSID Ecuador —Standard Aug 29 – Dec 11
    MSID Ecuador —Plus Pre-session Aug 1 – Dec 11
    Pre-session arrival date Aug 1
    Pre-session last day Aug 25
    Fall arrival date Aug 29
    Classroom phase ends Oct 22
    Internship/Research phase begins Oct 25
    Final seminar begins Dec 6
    Last day of program Dec 10
    Departure date Dec 11
    Winter Break Language Pre-session 2021-22 May 1 Oct 15
    January Session 2020-21 Dec 27 – Jan 15
    Arrival date Dec 27
    Last day of program Jan 14
    Departure date Jan 15
    Spring 2022 May 1 Oct 15
    MSID Ecuador —Standard Jan 16 – May 7
    MSID Ecuador —Plus Pre-session Dec 27 – May 7
    Pre-session arrival date Dec 27
    Pre-session departure date Jan 15
    Spring arrival date Jan 16
    Classroom phase ends Mar 11
    Spring break period Mar 12 – 18
    Internship/Research begins Mar 21
    Internship/Research phase ends Apr 29
    Final seminar begins May 2
    Last day of program May 6
    Departure day May 7
    Alternative departure day May 8

    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
    Spring 2021 TBD Virtual session
  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 2020

    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


    May & Summer Programs – University of Minnesota Students

    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 for each application you submit.

    Apply Now

    May & Summer Programs – Non-University of Minnesota Students

    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 each application you submit.

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

    Apply Now

    Fall 2021 & Beyond Programs – All students

    All students, both UofM and Non-UofM should use this apply button if applying for a program Fall 2021 or beyond (academic year, winter break etc.). You will be charged a $50 application fee for each application you submit.

    Apply Now


    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.

    Spring 2020

    • Mia C. — Political Science major, Psychology and Spanish minors. Track: Public Health
    • Brenna B. — Spanish Studies and Global Studies majors, Political Science minor. Track: Social Service
    • Megan P. — Journalism, Political Science and Spanish Studies majors. Track: Sustainability & the Environment
    • Emily E. — Global Studies major, Spanish Studies minor. Track: Social Service

    Fall 2019

    • McKenna H. — Biology, Society & Environment major, Public Health minor. Track: Public Health
    • 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
Program Handbook Program Orientation Visa Information

COVID-19 Update

This program was canceled for spring semester 2021 due to COVID-19.

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