STUDY ABROAD IN ECUADOR
Ecuador’s varied geography, climates, and ecosystems make it one of the most diverse places in the world, both biologically and culturally. With its’ pristine Pacific beaches, the Amazonian rainforest, and the breathtaking Andes mountains alongside a lively culture still connected to its’ Incan roots Ecuador is most definitely a unique destination to explore.
We have three program options:
All our programs are designed to give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, volunteer your time on ongoing service projects in and around the coastal city of Bahia de Caraquez, and explore the natural beauty of this diverse nation. Our programs are structured to allow students to immerse themselves quickly into vital, ongoing, local community driven development projects while gaining a true understanding of another culture. As you live, volunteer, and learn you become a part of the growing bottom up, grassroots movement that has developed in Ecuador to protect the environment and in support of underrepresented populations.
Bahia de Caraquez is a coastal community that was gravely affected by El Niño in 1997 and a devastating earthquake in 1998. Following these natural disasters, local environmental groups re-envisioned Bahia as an ‘Eco-City’ and the populace has since placed a growing emphasis to manage the city and surrounding areas in a sustainable manner. Western Ecuador as a region has suffered some the world’s worst rates of deforestation.
Itinerary Groupo Ceibo
Day 1 – Travel to Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador
Day 2 – Bahia City Tour and Site Visit to Fanny de Baird & Alfaro High Schools
Day 3 – Orientation Workshop & School Garden Workday
Day 4 – School Garden Workday
Day 5 – Reforestation Site Visit & Overnight at La Punta Gorda Preserve
Day 6 – Mangrove Reforestation Workday & Overnight at La Punta Gorda Preserve
Day 7 – Mangrove Reforestation Workday, Beach Day, & Overnight at La Punta Gorda Preserve
Day 8 – Return to Bahia, meet members of Groupo Algorrobo, and School Garden Workday
Day 9 – School Garden Workday and visit to the town of Canoa for Friday night festivities.
Day 10 – Morning is free to explore the neighborhood and go hiking in “Cerro Seco” biological preserve. The afternoon will be spent exploring Bahia and visiting the local university. Neighborhood BBQ in the evening.
Day 11 – Travel Portion: “beach and surf time”
Day 12 – Travel Portion: “beach and surf time”
Day 13 – Travel Portion “beach and surf time”
Day 14 – Back to USA
*Note: This is not a fully accurate itinerary for any particular trip. Sample is given to show the basic break down and potential program elements.
- Pack light! You can hand wash clothes or pay to have them cleaned.
- Buy or borrow a backpacking backpack. This is a large backpack that can hold all of your travel items and be carried on your back. Rolling suitcases or duffel bags will be difficult to manage.
- Bring a small backpack that you can take on day trips, to fill with carry-on items on the plane, and keep close to you on bus trips with your valuable items (camera, passport, ATM cards, etc.) Limit your luggage to 2 bags only.
- Jeans (1 pair)
- 1 nice shirt or outfit for celebrations and formal events
- Comfortable lightweight T-shirts (3-5)
- Shorts (1-3)
- Socks, bring some high socks for jungle comfort (2-5 pairs)
- Underwear (4-6)
- Lightweight rain jacket
- Hiking shoes
- Sweatshirt or long sleeved shirt
- Sun hat
- Sleep clothes (shorts, tank top, etc—it will be hot at night)
- Swimming gear
- Any medication you need (malaria medication, travel antibiotics etc.)
- Lightweight sleeping bag or “sleep sack”- two bed sheets sewn together like a sleeping bag. The weather will be warm enough that the sleep sack will be comfortable.
- Sleeping pad
- Durable water bottle
- Toiletries (tooth brush, floss, shaver, toothpaste, etc.)
- Aloe vera, because you may still burn at some point
- Bug/mosquito repellant
- Liquid, biodegradable soap-Dr. Bronner’s is great
- Work gloves
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Power bars – nice to have when traveling and working
- “No Jet Lag”- natural supplement for helping with jet lag- nice to have for flight
- A bandana (nice to have while working to wipe sweat off)
- “Emergen-C” or other vitamin supplement you can add to water, any other supplements you’d like to bring to keep your immune system strong
- Money belt (for money, passports, vaccination cards, etc.)
- Pocket knife (for cutting food)
- Deck of cards?
- Pictures of family, loved ones to show Nicaraguan students
- Frisbee, hacky sack
- Campfire stories
- A good book
- Journal (if you keep one you will love it, and be very glad you did)
- Spending money- ($100 in U.S. dollars for drinks, souvenirs etc.)
- Camera/iPod, bring at your own risk and remember that we do not need to be bringing these out with us at all times (camera’s and iPods signal that you are a tourist, and give the impression that you have lots of money)
Who should I communicate with if I have concerns while they are gone? In case of emergency, how do I get in touch with my son/daughter while they’re overseas?
What safeguards does GSE have to ensure that my son/daughter wont get sick and what will happen if he/she does?
Who do you typically hire as program leaders? How are your field staff qualified for this experience?
There are 3 International Program leaders on each trip, as well as the Executive Director or Director of Programs. All leaders undergo basic CPR and First Aid training as well as rigorous programmatic training to ground them in program itineraries, safety issues, and how to be a positive peer mentor.