My Ecuador experience was truly one of unanticipated splendor, unforeseen exquisiteness, and unexpected beauty.  – Kristin Hill, EP2013


Ecuador has  a rich culture and history that has shaped current day Quito into a vibrant city with diverse communities and perspectives. The Ecuador experience will provide students with the opportunity to explore Ecuadorian culture and begin  to better understand social and environmental injustices from a community-based service perspective. The Ecuador experience works closely with community partners in Quito and seeks mutually beneficial outcomes for the student cohort, our local partners and the communities they serve. The program emphasizes the importance of human connectedness, cultural sensitivity, and a humble and informed approach to international service.



Ultimately, the largest lesson I learned from the Ecuador Project is the importance of humanity and humility. I have learned that these two elements should be inherent in any service project and in every volunteer. The respect and trust, engendered by humility, are prerequisites to creating a positive and meaningful impact; it is necessary to share personal stories and space and to effectively receive and give assistance. – Joi Hayes, EP2013

The month-long Ecuador Project focuses on student learning both through individual immersion and group reflection and support. By living in home-stay accommodations, students hone their Spanish skills and build relationships with their Ecuadorian families, experiencing this beautiful, dynamic culture firsthand. Outside support is provided by on-the-ground site leaders, who offer one-on-one mentoring and facilitate weekly reflection sessions for the entire cohort.

Quito Home-stay


Over the course of four weeks, students work at sites specially matched to their interests in fields such as public health, environmental education, community development, special education, and early childhood education. Through their work in these various social service and community development agencies, students learn about and reflect upon the importance of grassroots movements, social networks, and biodiversity in a global context.



Beginning in the spring, students participate in a series of seminars designed to equip them with the tools to view global service through an informed and impact-oriented lens.  Seminars typically cover such topics as:

  • An overview of politics, economics, and culture in Ecuador
  • Practical training and cultural sensitivity
  • An introduction to principles of sustainable community development, social justice and global citizenship
  • Consideration of the ethical issues involved in volunteerism in the developing world
  • Reflection techniques and team-building skills


Local Partnership

To help identify locally run organizations where student volunteers could be of use, OACS partners with the Yanapuma Foundation, an Ecuadorian NGO based in Quito.

Yanapuma is guided by 6 principles – Sustainability, Social Justice, Respect, Freedom, Transparency, and Professionalism. The partnership between Yanapuma and OACS results in on the ground support for the Ecuador cohort and site leaders, including a project coordinator, orientation, and connections to home-stays and work sites.


Service Possibilities

The Camp Hope Foundation

Camp Hope is a school for disabled and underprivileged children, with 130 students, from kindergarten to grade 5. It provides vocational workshops for disabled teenagers, medical attention, rehabilitation, afterschool programs and recreational activities. The Foundation also provides accommodation in Casa Hogar for some disabled children. Currently a new project is in development to create a camp ground and workshop, at a different site.

Niñez y Vida

For almost 30 years, Niñez y Vida has provided quality education in Quito’s poor neighborhoods with 5 different preschool sites. It works under the Montessori model that centers around the interests and learning of each child and their growth and development. There are a variety of classrooms and ‘corners’ with activities and games to develop the child’s interests, curiosity and independence. In addition, morning and afternoon snacks, as well as lunch are provided for each child.

Abuelitos y Abuelitas de la Calle

Abuelitos y Abuelitas de la Calle is a foundation that cares for homeless seniors in Quito. Each day the center provides much-needed medical care, workshops, activities and free meals to between 200-400 elderly indigent persons.


The organization promotes community development, particularly in the area of education, and are working to create better futures for their children. The INEPE school and daycare center offers a well-rounded education, and has an expansive music education program. The center even has a space for yoga and other exercise classes. The organization also works with affiliate daycare centers in the area.

Fundación Gorritas Azules

Fundación Gorritas Azules was started over 20 years ago by a group of parents with children with disabilities. It now serves as a place where adults ages 15-50 years old can go to learn, receive physical therapy, have workshops and be cared for. The center only has 2 professional physical therapists and 3 helpers—although the physical therapists only work in the mornings. The center runs from 9am to 4pm, and is funded solely by the parents of the students.

Subcentro de Salud San Martín

San Martín clinic is small but serves many patients in a marginalized sector of Quito. The center treats a variety of conditions and focuses on family medicine. This subcentro, like all others in Ecuador is run by the government’s Ministry of Health, which provides free primary care to all Ecuadorian citizens. The clinic is of high importance to help meet the needs of low-income residents who could not otherwise afford private health services.

Learning Outcomes

• Increased awareness of beliefs, values, attitudes and emotions that motivates one to serve international communities
• A greater respect for multiple viewpoints and group contributions
• An applied comprehension of integrity and responsibility
• An understanding of the connection and charge to contribute meaningfully to the global community
• Increased ability to productively adapt to a different culture while maintaining commitment to the goals of the group


Dates & Costs

Information Session:

October 29, 2013 | OACS Lounge, Rand 305 | 5:30pm

2014 Ecuador Program Dates:

May 3rd – May 31st, 2014

2014 Program Fee:

$2,600 + Flight

* Please note dates and costs are subject to change


Application Requirements:

  • Online Application
  • Financial Aid Forms
  • Intermediate – Advanced Spanish language skills highly preferred

The application form can be found HERE.

The site leader application form can be found HERE.

OACS Ecuador Financial Aid Form 2014


Student Reflections

Read about the experiences of former Ecuador participants as they reflect on international service during their trips…

Kristin 2013 Ecuador Reflection

Dora 2013 Ecuador Reflection

Kelsey 2013 Ecuador Reflection

Joi 2013 Ecuador Reflection

Rohan 2013 Ecuador Reflection


For questions regarding the OACS Global Service Project to Ecuador contact Lauren Moon: