WHY SHOULD YOU PARTICIPATE IN AN EXCHANGE PROGRAM AT UDLA?
The Universidad de Las Américas is a private university founded in 1994 and is located in the center-north area of Quito, Ecuador. It has four campuses and offers its students an excellent education with over 40 different degree programs with a focus on practical application. With more than 15,000 students and 1,500 professors, each student has the opportunity to immerse oneself in university life and Ecuadorian culture.
UDLA works to shape students into competent, entrepreneurial successful professionals with a global vision and a commitment to society. The university is constantly innovating and generating knowledge through observation, curiosity, investigation and critique.
The Office of International Programs offers students exchanges of a semester or year, as well as short courses, which include the Spanish School and communications courses, among others. We provide each student interested in studying here personalized information, a tour and orientation upon arrival and the chance to participate in diverse workshops, clubs and tourism and socio-cultural activities.
Our exchange students can interact with our group of “UDLAmigos,” a group of UDLA students who act as buddies, planning and participating in outings around Quito to make the adjustment to a new culture easier for international students.
Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in South America, yet it is a country rich in cultural, geographic and biological diversity. In Ecuador, it’s possible to explore the highlands and snowcapped volcanoes in the Andes mountains; the dry forests, beaches and mangroves of the Pacific coast; the tropical forests of the Amazon; and, of course, the incredible biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands. It’s easy and cheap to get around within the country using public transportation, which makes traveling and exploring perfect for a student budget.
Quito, Ecuador’s capital, is located in the heart of the Andes at an altitude of 2,850 meters (9,350 feet), just north of the equator, and is known as the city of “eternal spring.” The temperature averages from 20 ºC (60 ºF) during the day to 9 ºC (48 ºF) at night. Quito is a modern city with a lot of activity and has the best-preserved historical center in Latin America, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. This historical center, one of the region’s most beautiful, is home to many churches and works of colonial art.
How to apply?
UDLA is on a semester system, which means the academic year is divided into the first semester, September-February and the second semester, March-July. Depending on the program that interests you, you can participate in an exchange of six months to one year.
• To apply for the first semester (Sept-Feb): deadline is May 1.
• To apply for the second semester (Mar-July): deadline is December 1.
• Have completed two years of university
• International health insurance (this can be purchased through UDLA)
• Spanish level: minimum Level B2, which is evaluated using the Cervantes exam and an interview in Spanish
• Approval from your home university
• Application packet with a screenshot of your score on the Cervantes exam
Steps for applying to an UDLA exchange program
• Contact your home university’s international programs office to start the process. If your university isn’t already affiliated with UDLA, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Fill out the application form and gather the required documents. Look over the course offerings in the degree program you’re interested in. Choose the classes you would like to take at UDLA in order of first priority to last for either six month or a year (Normally, a regular course load for international students is five classes per semester). Make sure to include this list in your application. It’s your responsibility to present this course list to your home university for approval.
• Take the Spanish exam and include it in your application packet.
• Send the application and supporting documents to email@example.com. Schedule your Skype interview with our office.
• Your application will be evaluated by UDLA, which normally takes three weeks. If accepted, we will send you an acceptance letter by email and a physical letter by regular mail.
• Apply for a student exchange visa with the physical letter at the Ecuadorian embassy or consulate that corresponds to your area.
• Once all your paperwork is in order, we will help you register with the admissions office and for classes. After arriving at UDLA, you will receive your class schedule and an orientation.
Cost / Housing
The cost of doing an exchange at UDLA depends on the type of program, length and whether or not your home university has an agreement with UDLA.
If you’re interested in a short course, please consult prices on this page.
The cost of studying at UDLA depends on the agreement your home university has with UDLA. In most cases, the cost of taking classes at UDLA will be the same as the cost of doing so at your home university.
Consult the list of affiliated universities here.
To have an idea of average everyday costs, we have made the following list:
- City bus: $0.25
- Taxi within the city: $1.50-$5
- Lunch (soup, main dish, dessert and juice): $2.50-$5
- Bottle of water: $0.50
- Ecuadorian beer in a restaurant: $1.50
- Electricity: $20 a month
- High-speed internet service: $30-$50 a month
Available housing includes rooms, apartments and host families and depends on the student’s preference. We coordinate with St. Gallen Haus, an organization with years of experience providing long-term housing in Quito, to provide you with the best service. Living with a host family costs $21 per day and includes breakfast and dinner as well as internet service, laundry and basic cleaning once a week. Other options include shared apartments and rooms, whose cost range from $15-$60 per day. Check out the St. Gallen Haus website for updated information. Our office has a limited capacity to coordinate housing.
Living with an Ecuadorian host family is part of the cultural and language immersion experience for our students. Host families are chosen after a selection process by St. Gallen Haus and are informed about their responsibilities for students’ safety and welfare. St. Gallen Haus does its best to guarantee a safe, comfortable and pleasant stay for our students.
UDLAmigos is a buddy program that looks to promote cultural exchange and integrates international students into UDLA.
Before your arrival in Ecuador, we will send you your UDLAmigo’s contact information so you can ask him or her any questions before leaving. On your first day at UDLA, we’ll arrange a meeting between you and your buddy so you can meet in person. He or she will be your first student contact in the university.
With your UDLAmigo, you’ll have the opportunity to:
- Have a contact/buddy in Ecuador before your arrival
- Be part of different activities and experiences offered by UDLA, Quito and Ecuador
- Become familiar with the university (main offices, your classrooms, exam rooms, professors) and how to use its services (how to get an I.D., where to make copies, how to check a book out of the library)
- Get to know the city (how to use public transportation, places to eat/hang out/have a coffee, avoiding dangerous areas and other risks, trying different typical foods, going out with friends)
- Learn about Ecuadorian culture
- Practice Spanish
- Clear up any doubts/questions you may have, get a second opinion and help from a fellow student
- Share your own culture
Information for accepted students
- Academic calendar
- Student clubs
- Featured clubs
- The Tourism Club is a group of students from the School of Hospitality and Tourism who are very excited to have international students be part of their club. This club offers excursions, workshops and discounts in restaurants, hotels and activities. Membership costs $15.
- Student services
- UDLA events
- Student handbook
- Frequently Asked Questions
- What degree programs can I study at UDLA?
You can find the list of available degree programs (in Spanish) here.
- Do I need to be able to speak Spanish to study at UDLA?
The majority of classes at UDLA are in Spanish. We require a minimum score of B2 on the Cervantes Spanish exam.
If you’re participating in a short course, check the course summary to find out what language it will be in or contact us.
- Can I take any class UDLA offers?
The majority of classes are available to international students. Some classes aren’t available without first taking the prerequisites or because they aren’t offered every semester. If a class isn’t available, we will contact you to let you know and help you find an alternative.
- How much does a student exchange cost?
Studying at UDLA depends on the agreement your university has with UDLA. In most cases, the cost of taking classes here is the same as taking them at your home university.
Please contact our office or your university’s international programs office to find out the cost of doing an exchange.
- Is living in Quito safe?
Living in Quito is the same as living in any other big city and you should take normal precautions: don’t walk alone at night, take reputable taxis, keep an eye on your valuables, be alert, etc.
Once you arrive in Quito, you’ll receive an orientation before classes start that includes information on staying safe in Quito.
- What vaccinations do I need to live in Quito?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends being up-to-date on routine vaccinations, which include the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chicken pox) vaccine, polio vaccine and your yearly flu shot. Most travelers should get the hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines as well. The yellow fever vaccine is required for travelers from certain countries and is recommended if you plan on traveling in the Amazon region. Malaria is not found in Quito, but can be a risk at lower altitudes. Please check the CDC website for updated information. Make sure you bring your yellow vaccination card when you come to Ecuador.
- What should I pack?
You can download our suggested packing list here