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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
  • Program Terms: Fall Semester, Spring Semester
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Program Sponsor: SIT/World Learning 
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Fall Semester 2021 01-APR-2021 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Class Status: 2nd year, 3rd year, 4th year Minimum GPA Requirement: 2.5
Click here for a definition of this term Language Requirement: 2000 level Click here for a definition of this term Open to Non-UVa Students: No
Housing: Homestay, Hotel, With program group Language Courses Offered: Yes
Language of Instruction: English, Spanish Click here for a definition of this term Credit Type: Transfer Credit
Click here for a definition of this term Program Type: Field Study/ Experiential, Internship, Study center Click here for a definition of this term Tuition Payments Made To: Program Provider
Click here for a definition of this term Education Abroad Advisor: Liz Wellbeloved Click here for a definition of this term Application Fee: Yes
Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Administrative Fee: Yes Click here for a definition of this term Subject Area: Biology, Environmental Sciences, Geology, Global Studies, Independent Study, Latin American Studies, Political Science, Spanish
Program Description:

SIT Study Abroad Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation

NOTE: SIT will make every effort to maintain its programs as described. To respond to emergent situations, like COVID-19, SIT may have to modify programs. Visit the SIT website for more details.

Explore tropical ecosystems, conduct biological fieldwork, and study conservation in one of the world’s most biodiverse countries.

Program Highlights

  • Study biological and ecological sciences in one of the most biologically diverse countries on the planet.
  • Visit the high sierra of the Andes, the cloud forests of the Chocó, the Amazon basin, and the Galápagos Islands.
  • Live like a biologist: study plants and insects, take soil samples, conduct species counts, use mist nets, and observe birds.
  • Live and study in beautiful Quito, surrounded by mountains called locally “la cara de Dios”—the face of God.
  • Improve your Spanish in class, in homestays, and on excursions.

Please visit the SIT Study Abroad website for details on the program courses (including syllabi), educational excursions, and housing.

Independent Study

During the final four weeks of the program, you can choose to use your new language and cultural skills and the academic knowledge you have acquired to complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) on a topic of interest to you.

The ISP can be conducted throughout Ecuador based upon requests from local activists, NGOs, and communities. You should plan on completing an ISP that is rooted in the biological, ecological, and/or environmental sciences.    

Sample Topics:

  • Biodiversity studies and population assessments
  • Use of biological/ecological indicators for environmental studies
  • Flora or fauna monitoring for conservation purposes
  • Geology related to ecology and conservation
  • Endangered species
  • Protected area management

Key Topics of Study

  • Ecology/biology of Ecuador’s four distinct ecological regions: the Andes, the coast, the Amazon, and the Galápagos Islands
  • Major plant and animal biological indicators and ecological adaptations
  • Forestry and field techniques, research analysis and bio-statistics
  • Local natural resource use
  • Ecuador’s current environmental challenges.

Money Matters

Be sure to discuss how study abroad costs are handled at your school with your study abroad advisor.  

SIT tuition and room and board fees include the following:

All educational costs, including educational excursions

  • All accommodations and meals for the full program duration
  • Transportation to and from the airport, and on all educational excursions
  • Health and accident insurance

Scholarships:

  • SIT awards nearly $1.6 million in scholarships and grants annually.
  • All scholarships and grants are need-based.
  • Awards generally range from $500 to $5,000.  
  • The SIT Pell Grant Match provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding when it is applied to an SIT Study Abroad semester program. 
  • Contact the financial aid and/or study abroad office(s) at your college or university to learn if your school’s scholarships and grants and federal and state aid programs can be applied to an SIT Study Abroad program.

Contact SIT Study Abroad




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SIT EcuadorEcolComparative Ecology and Conservation

Current Program Information

Home to more than 1,500 species of birds and 10 percent of the world's known vascular plant species, Ecuador offers incredible opportunities to explore the natural history of tropical ecosystems and immerse yourself in the complexities of human adaptations to different environments. From the Amazonian rainforest to the highland páramo, you interact with community members and local stakeholders who are grappling with conservation strategies within the context of heightened political, economic, and social pressures.

Your program base is historic Quito, a UNESCO World Heritage site perched spectacularly at the foot of the Pichincha Volcano. From here, educational excursions take you to the high sierras of the Andes, the epiphyte-rich cloud forest, the rugged snow-line páramo and the vast rainforest of the Ecuadorian Amazon. Your program includes a weeklong shipboard visit, led by an experienced naturalist, to the extraordinary Galápagos Islands - home to plant and animal species found nowhere else on earth and one of the world's most renowned environmental destinations.