Ecuador: Culture and Development

“Studying abroad in Ecuador has solidified my admiration for cultural understanding and has given me confidence to explore all that I can offer to the global community. The challenge of learning a new language and discovering a new culture will forever be a major accomplishment for me. The friends I have made and the knowledge I now have is irreplaceable. I can honestly say that at this stage, studying abroad in Ecuador was the best decision of my life.”

-- Elizabeth Wright, University of Colorado at Boulder

Explore the relationship between power and language in Ecuador, as the country’s multilingual and multiethnic populations strive for social change.

This 16-credit program analyzes the connections and interplay between language and power in Ecuador. Students will examine how language shapes politics, and how power works through language by exploring how different groups in Ecuador have used languages to instill, reinforce, subvert, and reinvent power relationships, both historically and today.  

Two thematic seminars frame the semester:

  • Paradigms of Development and Political Discourse in Ecuador provides an overview of Ecuadorian history and politics, introduces the concept of political discourse as an object of study, and examines the relationship between the language(s) of political power and social movements in Ecuador.
  • Languages in Contact: Spanish, Quichua, and Other Languages in Ecuador focuses on Ecuador’s multiple languages from a cultural and linguistic perspective. Students examine the encounter between the colonial language — Spanish — and Ecuador’s indigenous languages, with an emphasis on Quichua. Students will explore cultural and linguistic aspects of Ecuadorian Spanish and have workshops that introduce Quichua.

Study Spanish and learn Quichua.
Students can greatly advance their Spanish on the program, as students are completely immersed in Spanish-speaking environments, and all coursework is delivered in Spanish. All students also gain exposure to Quichua and other indigenous languages through seminar modules and educational excursions.

Learn research methods and ethics. Conduct independent field research.
Through the program’s research methods and ethics seminar, Approaches to Political and Linguistic Analysis, students learn methods to conduct political and linguistic research. All students complete an Independent Study Project, allowing students to conduct field research on a specific issue related to the program’s themes.

Connect with a range of Ecuadorian partners.
The program’s lecturers are drawn from the Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Universidad Intercultural Amawtay Wasi, Universidad Politécnica Salesiana, and FLACSO (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales), as well as from local NGOs, community organizations, and governmental institutions and agencies. Learn more about the program’s faculty and staff.

Live with diverse Ecuadorian host families.
Students participate in several homestays: in Quito, Ecuador’s capital and political center; in Los Chillos, a valley located outside of Quito; and in an Amazonian community. Students will engage local residents — city dwellers and rural community members alike — as they visit different sites throughout Ecuador. Learn about the program's excursions

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research


Costs Dates



Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Quito

Language Study: Spanish

Prerequisites: 4 semesters college-level Spanish or the equivalent and the ability to follow coursework in Spanish, as assessed by SIT. Read more...

View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)


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802.258.3212

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Brattleboro, VT 05302 USA

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