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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Direct Enroll Click here for a definition of this term Language of Instruction: Limited English Instruction Available, Spanish
Maximum Credits: 15 Click here for a definition of this term Minimum Required Class Standing: 2 Sophomore
Click here for a definition of this term Language Requirement: 2000 level Click here for a definition of this term Minimum Cumulative GPA: 2.5
Areas of Study: Accounting and Information Systems, Aerospace Engineering, Agricultural and Life Sciences, Agricultural Sciences, Animal and Poultry Sciences, Animal and Poultry Sciences (APSC) Minor, Animal and Poultry Sciences Equine (APEQ) Minor, Animal and Poultry Sciences Horticulture, Architecture, Architecture and Design Research, Art, Biochemistry, Biological Sciences, Biological Sciences (BIOL) Minor, Biological Systems Engineering, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences, Biomedical Engineering (BME) Minor, Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Business, Business (BUSR) Minor, Business Information Technology, Business Leadership (BLC) Minor, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Chemistry (CHEM) Minor, Cinema (CINE) Minor, Civil Engineering, Communication (COMM) Minor, Communication Studies, Computer Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Science & Applications, Computer Science (CS) Minor, Dairy Science, Digital Marketing Strategy (DMS) Minor, Economics, Economics (ECAS) Minor, Education, Electrical Engineering, Engineering, Engineering Education, Engineering Mechanics, Engineering Science & Mechanics (ESM) Minor, Engineering Science and Mechanics, English, English (Creative Writing) (CENG) Minor, Environmental Conservation and Society, Environmental Engineering, Environmental Resource Management, Environmental Science, Environmental Science (ENSC) Minor, Environmental Sciences and Engineering, Finance, Graphic Design, Hospitality and Tourism Management, Human Development, Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise (HNFE), Industrial Design, Industrial Design (IDS) Minor, Interior Design, International Business (IB) Minor, International Public Policy (IPPL) Minor, International Relations (IREL) Minor, International Studies, International Studies (IS) Minor, Language Sciences (LNGS) Minor, Literature (LIT) Minor, Literature and Language, Macromolecular Science and Engineering, Management, Marketing, Mathematics, Mathematics (MATH) Minor, Microelectronics Engineering (MEEN) Minor, Multilingual Studies, Multimedia Journalism, Music, Music (Jazz Studies) (MMJS) Minor, Music (MUS) Minor, Music (Technology Emphasis) (MMTX) Minor, Nanoscience, Nanoscience (NANO) Minor, Neuroscience, Ocean Engineering, Philosophy, Philosophy (PHIL) Minor, Physics, Physics (PHYS) Minor, Professional and Technical Writing, Professional and Technical Writing (PTW) Minor, Psychology, Psychology (PSYC) Minor, Sociology, Sociology (SOC) Minor, Spanish, Spanish (SPAN) Minor, Theatre, Theatre and Cinema, Theatre Arts (TA) Minor, Visual Arts and Society (VAS) Minor, Visual Communication Design Housing Options: Homestay
College Sponsor: *Open to All Majors Click here for a definition of this term Virginia Tech Steger Center: NO
Program Description:

Map of Ecuador
USFQ logo

More Information

National Geographic calls this Andean nation a “must-see place.” This small country is not only one of the world’s most biodiverse, but it is also politically stable and affordable.


USFQ Course Mapping (PDF)

Academic Year, Fall, Spring, Summer

Direct Enroll at Universidad San Francisco de Quito

Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) is a private university focusing on liberal arts. It was founded in 1988 with only 120 students as a private, high-quality higher education institution. Today it is the fastest growing university in Latin America of about 5,000 students, of which 12% are exchange students and 10 Academic Colleges

USFQ offers a wider variety of courses from which to choose. This is a great program for students with an intermediate to advanced level of Spanish since most of the classes are taught in Spanish by native speakers. Some courses are offered in English as well. USFQ also offers Spanish for international students classes.

Direct Enrollment is an option for students wishing to study in high interest areas such as USFQ when there are not exchange placements available. Students would pay tuition and fees directly to the host university, USFQ, and NOT to Virginia Tech. Please be aware that direct enrollment is very different from bilateral exchange as far as payment and federal financial aid and scholarships are concerned. Federal financial aid will not transfer for direct enroll programs and institutional grants or scholarships may not apply (be sure to review the eligibility requirements of any institutional aid so as to not jeopardize the award).

Quito, Ecuador

USFQ is located in Cumbayá, a relatively small town 20 kilometers away from Quito. Quito is the capital of Ecuador and is rich in both history and Ecuadorian culture. Some of the interesting sights to see are the Museo del Banco Central, numerous parks, Old Town, El Panecillo and the aerial tramway to Cruz Loma. Both Cumbayá and Quito have a fairly constant temperature around 70F, however Quito has a slighter cooler climate because it has a higher elevation.

Cumbayá is a little town that has had a major spurt of development over the past ten years. Its proximity to Quito is a nice advantage. Students have the opportunity to get to know both sides of the culture, that of big-city life and that of small-town living.

Ecuador is one of the most bio-diverse countries on Earth. Take advantage of the unique history and biology of Ecuador: visit indigenous villages to learn about descendants of pre-Inca and Inca civilizations; tour the world famous Galapagos Islands to see animals and plants found nowhere else on earth; travel to the USFQ-operated Tiputini Biodiversity Station to experience Ecuador's rain forest.

Quito, Ecuador

By Marrovi (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 mx], via Wikimedia Commons

Approximate Semester Dates

Semester 1 (Fall): August to December
Semester 2 (Spring): January to May


This program is open to undergraduate students in any major interested in Latin America. To be eligible, students must meet the following minimum requirements before departure: Sophomore standing, an overall GPA of 2.5 or above, and a minimum of two years of college-level Spanish (or the equivalent).

Spanish Language Proficiency Requirement

VT students are expected to have completed at least one semester of 2000-level coursework in Spanish or to have equivalent proficiency in all Spanish language skills.

Spanish Exam

In order to evaluate EPE (Spanish as a Foreign Language) students, the ILE (Institute of Foreign Languages) at USFQ has prepared an online exam to test a variety of language skills. The student will receive a placement exam score, which will be used to determine which courses the student is prepared to enroll in. Please check more information on USFQ language requirements here.

USFQ Campus

Photo Courtesy: By Pete from USA (Little Bit of Bhuddish) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


USFQ offers exchange students the opportunity to take classes across a variety of disciplines in USFQ's 10 colleges. Students can search for courses online on the Schedule of classes, and review the Academic Calendar

Participate in the Language, Culture, and the Practice of Science Pathway program with pre-authorized courses for credit transfer to Virginia Tech. 

A list of USFQ courses that are pre-authorized to transfer for credit to VT can be found here. You should meet with Dr. Catalina Andrango-Walker to pre-authorize the courses that you plan to take for Spanish credit and with your primary academic advisor if you plan to take courses in another major field. 

Please note that not all classes are available to all international Students. Check Here.

L0ERI Program

USFQ offers an undergraduate research option for international students in Sciences and Engineering fields studying at the Cumbayá Campus for a semester or year. Participating students have the opportunity to conduct a research project in conjunction with a USFQ faculty member. The project is undertaken as a 3-credit independent study course over the duration of a semester. Participants in the L0ERI program commit to work on the research activity according to the needs of the professor and project. Please check the L0ERI page for more information.

The research can be based on findings from any of the USFQ campus locations, depending on the topic and the USFQ collaborating faculty’s current projects.


Other Programs at USFQ

Galapagos Islands


Live a unique experience through courses and research projects in the Galapagos Islands. Check the website. Check this Galapagos Fees 2022 - 2023

USFQ Tiputini


Learn and research in the most bio-diverse place on Earth: Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon.

USFQ Summer Program
USFQ is offering a summer program called Leadership, Innovation and Research in the Americas (LIRA). LIRA aims to combine academic courses with a WEVAR component (work experience, volunteer abroad or research) for 4-week or 8-week program. Please click here to view more information about the LIRA program: LIRA Program Fees Summer 2019 and Academic Calendar


USFQ Quito Government Summer Internship Program

USFQ offers a summer internship program for international students interested in public policy and administration, social development, and international cooperation. The program is in collaboration with the Municipality of the City of Quito.

Student Life

Every international student at USFQ has the option of becoming involved in the EcuaBuddies program. This opportunity allows international students to become connected to USFQ degree-seeking students to gain an introduction to USFQ, meet local friends, and share in Ecuadorian customs and social events. USFQ also offers a number of student clubs in a variety of interest areas including theatre, tango, chess, ecology, and cycling, to name a few. 

Each semester USFQ offers international students the opportunity to participate in optional excursions to many parts of Ecuador for a nominal fee. These trips can be for the day, weekend, or even a week. Past trips have included Tiputini, Mindo, Peru, and the Galápagos Islands. Options vary each semester. The summer term includes three excursions: to the coast, to the highlands, and to Tiputini.

Student Services

The Office of International Programs (OPI) offers an orientation program at the beginning of each semester.  We highly recommend that all international students attend. All students need to take an online Spanish placement exam before registering for classes. It will help them to select courses. USFQ offers a variety of sports classes, including fencing, soccer, volleyball, tennis, aerobics, basketball, tai chi, and track and field. There are campus life services, a Latin American salsa club run by the student government is popular among international students as well as the yoga club. 

Click here to view the OPI Orientation Schedule: Ongoing Orientation Schedule OPI 

The International Student Wellness Advisor is the point person for student needs when it comes to adapting abroad, homestay living, and establishing community in their new environment. The International Student Wellness Advisor is available to students who wish to discuss challenges they are facing as part of their study abroad experience, as well as orient and connect them to professional medical, mental health, and other resources as needed. They lead the following programs:
     - Ongoing Orientation
     - Global Dragons program

Click here to learn more about the Office of International Programs.


The cost of room and board is paid to USFQ. VT students stay with Ecuadorian host families who are carefully selected by the USFQ. Only one student stays with each family. Host families are required to provide students with their own bedroom (bathroom may be shared), Wifi internet access, and two meals per day (breakfast and dinner). Host families generally live within a 15-45 minute commute by public transportation from the USFQ campus in Cumbayá. 


University Tuition & Comprehensive Fees

Tuition and fees are paid directly to USFQ. No tuition will be paid to Virginia Tech. Tuition rates for 2017-2018 can be found Here.

USFQ Administrative Fee

For students studying in the Cumbaya campus during the spring there is a $275 Administrative fee paid to USFQ. Students staying in Cumbaya during the Summer have to pay an administrative fee of $230. More information about the Cumbaya program fees can be found here: Cumbaya Fees 2022 - 2023

Students who are studying in the Galapagos have a different payment structure. More information can be found here: Galapagos Fees 2022 - 2023

Study Abroad Administrative Fee

Participants in exchange programs will be charged a $300 administrative fee through the Bursar.

Room and Board

Housing in homestay in Quito costs ~$2860 plus $100 Housing fee.

CISI Travel Medical Insurance (required)

Participants will be required to enroll in Virginia Tech's travel medical and security insurance coverage for the duration of the program. The cost is approximately $35 per month.

Galapagos Semester Program Fees
Galapagos Semester Program Fees are approximately $12,450 - $14,400 depending on the track the student takes. Please view this document for more information: Galapagos Fees 2022 - 2023

Leadership, Innovation, and Research in the Americas (LIRA Program)
More information about the LIRA program and their fees can be found here:LIRA Program Fees Summer 2019 and Academic Calendar

Ecuador Cultural Exchange Visa

Students will be advised about Ecuador Visa after acceptance to the program. Students can enter with a tourist visa if they are staying for less than 180 days. If a student comes for more than 180 days then they will need to apply for a temporary resident visa. This takes some time so students are advised to act early.  Please see this document for further information on visa requirements: 
USFQ Visa Information 
More VISA Information


**Additional expenses are likely to include travel costs i.e. round trip international airfare, passport, immunizations, books/supplies, telecommunications, and personal expenses. Please check the USFQ International Student Manual and the USFQ Cumbaya Program Fees 2017-2018 for more information about cost of living.


GEO website: Information on scholarships and financial aid.

Undergraduate students from the US can apply for the NSEP David L Boren Scholarship or the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship.

Some scholarships are available to students who study abroad in Ecuador. Some of these scholarships can be found here.


Fall Semester:
GEO Application Deadline: February 15

Spring Semester:
GEO Application Deadline: September 15

VT GEO Application

Begin your application to the GEO by clicking "Apply now" at the top of the page. All documents should be completed by the deadline.

USFQ Application

Only nominated students from VT Global Education Office (GEO) can proceed to fill out the Universidad San Francisco de Quito application. Information will be provided upon acceptance to the program.

Contact Information

VT GEO Contact

Chelsey Watts
Assistant Director for Partnerships & Affiliations
VT Global Education Office

More information available at USFQ International Students Website

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2023 10/15/2022 ** Rolling Admission 01/09/2023 05/19/2023
Summer 2023 03/15/2023 ** Rolling Admission 05/26/2023 07/27/2023

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be notified of acceptance into this program within a few weeks of submission. Please allow time for review.