QUITO: CIS – Universidad San Francisco de Quito

Quito, Ecuador

Program Website Type:   |  Minimum GPA:
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  • Fall Semester - September - December
  • Spring Semester - January - May

Application Deadline

  • Fall Semester - March 15
  • Spring Semester - October 1


Study Abroad Coordinator: Lane Marder (l.marder@neu.edu)

Study Spanish in Ecuador and take classes in Spanish and English at a beautiful university in an incredible city. Immerse yourself in Quiteño culture and improve your Spanish-language skills at a prestigious private university in Quito, the capital of the Incas.

Here are a few of the key highlights that make this program unique.

  • Visit volcanoes, beaches, waterfalls, rain forest, mountain villages, market towns, and more!
  • Centrally located for excursions to the Amazonian jungle, the Mindo Cloudforest, the coast’s surf scene, and the legendary Galapagos Islands
  • Study Spanish abroad in Ecuador
  • International and local students
  • Fantastic private university in Quito
  • Live with a local family
  • Strong on-site support from both the University and our site director
  • Great, inexpensive Andean cuisine
  • Thriving artisan markets throughout the city
  • Community-service options and internships in the local and indigenous communities surrounding the campus
  • Learn some fancy salsa moves in one of the many dance studios and then strut your stuff with impressive salseros on the dance floor
  • Visit nearby ruins to learn about Quito’s importance in the Incan empire


Students will take 4 courses and transfer back 16 NU credits. Students must meet with their academic advisors to discuss their course plans to determine how courses will satisfy their major, minor, or NU Core requirements.

Courses are primarily taught in Spanish and it is recommended that students have at least 2 years of college-level Spanish before participating on this program. There are few courses that are taught in English.

An online Spanish placement exam will help you register for courses in the College of Liberal Arts, the Spanish Department, or Instituto de Lenguas Extranjeras. USFQ also boasts strong programs in biology and environmental science, liberal arts, arts and communication, marketing, international relations, business, and hospitality and tourism. Courses include anthropology, cultural studies, Spanish, volcanology, culinary arts, and studio arts, and most courses are taught in Spanish.

USFQ Course Catalog

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If you are interested in enrolling in a course not in our database, please send this course for evaluation.

Policies and Process for Evaluations

Host University

Semester in Ecuador is based at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), a  modern university set in the beautiful northern suburbs of Quito. Founded in 1988, the University employs over half of the PhDs in all of Ecuador. It is well-known in Ecuador and throughout Central and South America for its environmental and biological advances, social justice mission, community-service focus, and hands-on academic studies. The nearly 6,000 undergraduates come from 40-plus countries.

USFQ has a traditional US-campus feel with lovely green gardens, the largest library in Ecuador, sports fields, eating areas, and local and international students strolling through campus enjoying the sunshine. When you study at USFQ, you'll have your pick of courses to take. Beginning as the first liberal arts institution in the Andean region, it has grown into so much more. With classes from business, communication and design to technical and applied sciences like health, engineering, biological and environmental sciences, you won't only find courses to satisfy your major, you'll get a unique hands-on experience you'll only find in Semester in Ecuador!

Eligibility Requirements

  • 3.0 G.P.A. minimum
  • 2 completed terms at NU, one of which may be a summer term
  • Completed at least 2 years of college-level Spanish
  • Transfer students and spring admits, please contact OISP for eligibility

Application Procedure

    • Online OISP application
    • Online CIS Abroad form

      Please submit the following directly to OISP:

    • CIS Academic Reference form
    • CIS Course Selection Worksheet
    • Official Transcript
    • Personal Statement
    • CIS Applicant Profile
    • Photocopy of Passport ID Page
    • Northeastern University students should not pay the $200 application deposit
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Fall 2015 or Spring 2016: $22,660

Includes: Northeastern University (NU) tuition for 16 NU credits ($22,310), and International Security and Emergency Support ($350). Students are responsible for all other expenses, including housing and other non-academic costs for which they will be billed directly by the program provider or host institution. Students are also responsible for arranging and purchasing their own flights.


On Semester in Ecuador, you’ll really immerse yourself in the culture with a home stay! Students typically say that living with a local family was their favorite part of going abroad. You will be treated as a member of the family, eating breakfast and dinner at home with them and getting to know Quiteño cooking! In addition to the two meals, you will be provided with linens, utilities, and laundry once a week.  This safe, comfortable, secure home will help you integrate into a new culture.


From lively indigenous festivals to lovely outdoor cafés in tranquil parks, Quito is a city of wonderful contrasts. Its mixed history of ancient empires and colonialism is visible in the ruins that dot the landscape and the incredible Spanish-style churches and leafy plazas. UNESCO named the entire downtown a World Heritage site and described Quito as having “the best-preserved, least-altered historic center in Latin America.” Surrounding the city are volcanoes and impressive mountains, all easily accessible from downtown Quito for stunning views of the Pinchincha valley.

Quito comprises several distinct neighborhoods. You will love the historic downtown with its colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and street vendors selling everything you can possibly imagine. Equally fun is the Mariscal Sucre, the heart of the traveler scene in Quito. It’s rife with international restaurants, travel agencies, and hostels, and has an all-around lively dance scene. In other neighborhoods, you’ll experience an incredible museum that pays tribute to Oswaldo Guayasamin (Quito’s favorite artist), independent cinemas, bohemian enclaves, and tons of places to hear live traditional Andean tunes or pulsating salsa and cumbia. It’s all easily accessible by bus, taxi, or foot.

Ecuador has a wide variety of climates and they changed based on altitude. There truly is a little bit of everything offered in this country with coastal beaches, rainforests and mountain ranges. There is also the exciting ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands to visit, a UNESCO World Heritage site with quite exotic wildlife. With such a wide range of environments to choose from, you will experience countless adventures with new friends during Semester in Ecuador.