Note: If you are interested in a program not mentioned here, please ask! We can often set up individualized internships due to our wide array of connections with businesses and organizations in Ecuador.
Ecuador's diverse landscapes and cultures inspire visitors from around the globe. The small country is tucked into the northwestern corner of South America, straddling the Andes. The mountains run north to south dividing the country into three distinct regions and hundreds of microclimates. Quito, the capital, lies in the heart of the highlands in a valley surrounded by glacier topped peaks. The city was founded by the Spanish conquistadores in 1534, but according to the old legends, Quito had been a capital for centuries before the arrival of the Spanish. To the west of Quito, the Andes drop into coastal forests and plains. About 97% of Ecuador's population lives in the highlands and coastal region. In the East, the Andes fall into the sparsely populated Amazon Basin.
Ecuador's diverse population is descended from many different groups of indigenous peoples, Spanish and other European colonists, Africans brought to the Americas as slaves, and Asian immigrants. Ecuadorian culture reflects the rich tapestry of customs from all these groups, from the beautifully preserved churches and cathedrals built by Spanish colonists to the traditional dress worn by many indigenous people and the colorful seasonal festivals throughout the country. The country is one of the poorer countries of South America and is facing many developmental challenges. ELI partners with dozens of organizations in Ecuador to give volunteers and interns the opportunity to learn about this beautiful country in depth while giving back to the communities in Ecuador.