A truly fascinating destination, Ecuador has diverse vibrant cultures, historical colonial architecture, volcanic landscapes, and dense rainforests. The country also has four distinct regions—the highlands, coastal areas, rainforest, and the famous Galapagos Islands—all making Ecuador an exciting country to explore. Although quite friendly, Ecuadorians tend to be formal in the way they speak and dress.

In recent years, bicycling has become very popular and in the city of Quito the main streets are closed to cars every Sunday for cyclists and skaters. In addition to playing sports, going to parties, and watching movies, teenagers in Ecuador also enjoy going to clubs and salsa dancing.

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Host Family & Community

You will probably live in a suburban area, close to a major city like Quito or Guayaquil or in small towns throughout the country. Young people maintain close relationships with their extended family members, so expect to spend lots of quality time with your family.


If you live with a family in the coastal area or the Galapagos Islands, your school year will run from April to January. Students living in the highlands and the Eastern provinces, attend school from September to June. Either way, your school day begins around 7 am and ends at 2 pm, and all students wear a uniform.


Spanish is the main language spoken in Ecuador. Having a basic knowledge of Spanish will be an asset.


A typical Ecuadorian diet calls for some kind of meat (beef, pork, poultry, fish or other seafood, cold cuts), rice, potatoes, noodles, vegetables or salad. Beans, yucca and plantains are also quite prevalent. Meal portions are usually large, and your family will be happy to see you enjoy the food they prepare.

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Year Exchange PROGRAM

Program Date: August 31, 2018 – June 19, 2019
Birth Date Range: December 31, 1999 – December 31, 2002

By living with a host family and attending a local school in Ecuador you’ll have the opportunity to really get to know this vibrant, exciting culture. Throughout the year, you’ll also have the opportunity to visit amazing cultural sites like the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon jungle.

Program dates may vary and are meant to help with general scheduling only.
All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and programs are filled first-come, first-serve.

Apply Now!