Application Form
About Ecuador
News and Announcement
Centers for Interamerican Studies

Affiliated Departments
  - Sociology
  - Spanish
  - Latin American Studies
  - Religious Studies  
  - Communications
  - Biology

Affiliated Faculty
  - Dr. Brian Jennings
  - Prof. Kathy Ozment
  - Dr. Kennon Rice
  - Dr. Robert Seesengood

  - Prof. Margaret Rakus
  - Dr. Karen Campbell


About Ecuador

Size and Regions of Ecuador

Ecuador is a country similar in size the the State of Nevada.  Unlike Nevada, Ecuador is home to vastly diverse cultures, ecosystems and climates.  The country is broken into three main regions; Sierra (mountains), Costa (coastal) and Oriente (east).  Students in this program will get to visit numerous places in both the Sierra and Costa regions. (map of ecuador

People of Ecuador

Ecuador's population is ethnically mixed. The largest ethnic groups are indigenous and mestizo (mixed Indian-Caucasian). Although Ecuadorians were heavily concentrated in the mountainous central highland region a few decades ago, today's population is divided about equally between that area and the coastal lowlands. Migration toward cities--particularly larger cities--in all regions has increased the urban population to over 60%. The tropical forest region (or Amazon region) to the east of the mountains remains sparsely populated and contains only about 3% of the population. Due to an economic crisis in the late 1990s, more than 600,000 Ecuadorians emigrated to the U.S. and Europe from 2000 to 2001. It is estimated that there are over two million Ecuadorians currently residing in the U.S.  (read more from the US State Department)

Cuenca, Ecuador

The former Inca town of Tomebamba (situated at about 2500 meters in the southern part of the Andes) was conquered by the Spanish in 1533 and founded in 1557. With a population of about 350 000 people it is Ecuador's third largest city. Cuenca is unarguably the centre of culture and art of Ecuador.

For its charming historical center, the churches, the small cobbled streets and colonial houses with noble facades, prim balustrades, wrought iron balconies and red tiled roofs, it was declared as World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 1999. The impressive churches in the old center are dating back to the 16th to 17th century and if you believe it, or not, this is the city of churches with 52 churches, one for every Sunday! Being in the historical center, you might get the impression that time has stood still.

Cuenca is an ideal place for all travelers who are fed up with the bustling, noisy life of Quito. The inhabitants of Cuenca are more conservative and in this tranquil city traditions and customs are connected to modern life in a very harmonic way. You won´t find many skyscrapers here!

The city is divided in half by the Rio Tomebamba. In the northern half the heart of the colonial city is situated, in the south the newer suburbs. The Rio Tomebamba is worth having a look. At the riverside it is lined by colonial buildings and women laying out their clothing to dry at the banks of the river. This is an interesting and colorful sight. (taken from the CEDEI website)

Students on the trip will spend approximately 2 of the their three weeks in Cuenca living with a host family and attending classes taught by Drs. Jennings and Rice at the Centers for Interamerican Studies (CEDEI).  Short day and weekend trips during our time in Cuenca will take students to small indigenous communities (Saraguro), Incan ruins (Ingapirca) and national parks (Parque Nacional Cajas).

Links to addtional resources: