Study Abroad / Affiliated Programs / HECUA

Quito, Ecuador


Community Internships in Latin America

Fall and Spring Semester

The Community Internships in Latin America program focuses on community participation and social change. Current issues of globalization, ecological issues, oil politics and Plan Colombia are addressed. Models of community participation, organization, development and social change are compared and contrasted.

Ecuador is characterized by great geographical, economic and ethnic diversity. The smallest country in the Andean highlands offers an idyllic climate, mountain vistas and mild weather as well as a complex scenario of social, cultural, economic and political phenomena. The Community Internships in Latin America (CILA) study abroad program is a semester-long experience with a focus on community participation and social change. The program addresses current issues of globalization, ecological issues, oil politics and Plan Colombia, and students learn from individuals who help make change happen. Models of community participation, organization, development and social change are compared and contrasted.

A homestay is combined with a hands-on internship and independent study opportunity designed to meet individualized learning goals. A field seminar involving local experts and activists provides an intensive immersion into Latin American daily life and culture. In addition to substantive work at internship sites working on health, youth development, women’s issues, environment, human rights or other issues, students experience Ecuador’s diverse culture through field studies in indigenous communities and the rain forest. Students learn first-hand about challenges in Ecuadorian communities and explore ways they are being addressed.


Community Participation and Social Change | Internship (placement and seminar) |
Independent Study

Courses are taken as an integrated whole and provide a semester’s worth of credit. This program is full-time, five days a week, with classes scheduled for two afternoons/evenings and approximately 20 hours weekly in an internship.


Homestays are provided as housing for the duration of the semester.


This HECUA semester abroad is an Saint Mary’s Affiliated Program. As such, all Federal and State aid (except work study) and up to $2,000 in Saint Mary’s institutional aid may be applied to the program’s costs. Contact the Director of Study Abroad to discuss program fees and financial aid.

HECUA distributes three distinctive scholarships to students applying or enrolled in HECUA programs. To learn more visit HECUA’s Scholarship Resource Page.

Program Dates/Application Deadline

Program Dates:

Spring 2019: February 1 – May 10
Fall 2019: September 2 – December 13

Application Deadlines:

March 15th (Fall Programs)
November 1st (Spring Programs)

Application Procedures

To be eligible, you must have completed the equivalent of two years of college Spanish, have at least a 2.0 GPA (preferably a 2.5 GPA), and be of sophomore status.

Apply and Pay Application Fee of $50 online, submit a copy to the Study Abroad Office along with Saint Mary’s required paperwork. Application may be picked up in the Study Abroad Office, International Center, the Heights.

Next Steps

After acceptance, complete the following required items.

  1. Pay $500 non-refundable program deposit payable to Saint Mary’s.
  2. Attend all orientation sessions.
  3. Obtain a passport. Submit a copy of the first page to the Study Abroad Office.
  4. Obtain a student visa.
  5. Arrange travel plans. Submit a copy of your flight itinerary to the Study Abroad Office
Country/City Information

Ecuador is the smallest country in the rugged Andean highlands in Northwestern South America.

Ecuador has an array of vibrant indigenous cultures, well-preserved colonial architecture, volcanic landscapes and a dense rainforest. It is a nation no bigger than the US state of Nevada. Quito is the capital with a population of approximately 1,400,000.

Quito is located about 22 miles south of the equator. Due to its altitude and location, the climate is mild to cool, fairly constant all year round, with a high temperature typically around 70 °F (21°C). There are only two seasons, summer (the dry season) and winter (the rainy season).

Central Standard Time is in effect in Quito.

The currency is the U.S. Dollar ($).

More Information

Find Us

The Heights International Center, Room 103
Winona Campus
Hours: Monday–Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Fax: 507-457-6917