Located in the Tumbaco Valley, just outside Quito, the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) is a new, small, private university enrolling 4,000 students. Founded in 1988 and modeled on the American university system, USFQ offers programs of study in the humanities, business administration, development studies, and applied sciences.
Following a 15-hour intensive Spanish language review, students select courses from the institution's wide-ranging curriculum and are fully-integrated with Ecuadorian students.
In addition, students take a semester-long Spanish language course and a course on Ecuadorian history and culture taught by the BC resident director. There is also a community health course specifically developed for and offered to BC nursing students.
Rocío Bastidas de Keil
BC Resident Director - BC in Quito
Avenida Via Lactea
Academics & Support
As a BC student, you are required to take a full load of courses at your host institution abroad. BC program participants can refer to the academic policies page
Preceding each semester, BC students participate in a week-long orientation program. Students are assigned a faculty advisor from the host university. The BC resident director provides additional academic advising and arranges tutorials as needed. In addition, the BC resident director and the university organize seminars, cultural activities, and excursions designed for visiting students.
For course selection information, please refer to the course catalog
Please note that university vacation days will be used for the Core Course trips.
These trips are required and are part of the student fee.
- Fall Term: Starts in mid-August and ends in mid-December
- Spring Term: Starts in early January and ends in mid-May.
Students will live with a host family carefully selected by the BC resident director. Families live in the City of Quito, a 25- to 45-minute bus ride from the valley of Cumbaya where USFQ is situated. Homestays include private room/bathroom, two meals per day, cleaning and laundry. The families are very attentive and welcoming to BC students, and they will treat them as a family member.
Living with a family is a great opportunity for students to gain first-hand knowledge of Ecuadorian life and also to improve language skills. This is considered an integral part of the program. It is very important for BC students to be respectful to their host families and respect the norms of the household. Ecuador has an active nightlife but, for safety reasons, students will observe a curfew (usually around 2:00 a.m.).
Students should keep in mind that Latin American culture is more conservative in some ways than what they may be accustomed to in the U.S.
Students will have breakfast and dinner with their host families each day. Students will be responsible for purchasing their own lunch at the university. The lunches cost $7-$8 and consist of soup, a main dish, dessert, and a drink. Students are not allowed to purchase lunches off-campus from street vendors due to the likelihood of illness. If students choose to travel on weekends, they will have to pay for their own meals while they are outside Quito.
Students participate in community service projects 8-10 hours per week during the semester. Placements include tutoring children or supervising playtime activities for children in rural schools; working in orphanages and shelters; volunteering with environmental agencies or human rights organizations; and assisting in family clinics.
In addition to university-sponsored events, clubs, and sports, BC students participate in regular activities and excursions organized by the BC resident director. Among them are a four-day trip to the Amazon rain forest with canoeing; hikes through the jungle and a visit to La Isla Anaconda; a trip to the Galápagos Islands (fall only); and a trip to Peru and Bolivia (spring only).
Outdoor activities include mountain biking, hiking, white-water rafting, and camping. Students may also visit the indigenous market at the Plaza de los Ponchos, the cloud forests of Mindo, the ruins of Ingapirca, the Cotopaxi National Park, and the beaches of Pedernales. Here is a list of other activities available to BC students:
- Welcome Dinner
- Trip to indigenous market of Otavalo
- Trip to the Amazon Rainforest
- Trip to the Galápagos
- Three days in the Andes with a rural indigenous family
- Visit to the Historical Colonial Center
- Museum trips: Arqueológico, Republicano y Museo de el Oro en la Casa de la Cultura, Museo de la Ciudad, Convento de San Francisco, Iglesia La Compañía, La Basílica, Capilla del Hombre y Museo Guayasamín, Museo de la Revolución Quiteña.
- Visit to “El Panecillo y a la Cima de la Libertad”
- Visit to the Middle of the World
- A class on Ecuadorian culinary arts
- Farewell dinner
Students are responsible for making their own travel arrangements. Students will be met at the Quito airport and picked up, provided they supply necessary travel information one month prior to arrival to the BC resident director, Rocío Bastidas de Keil.
Students will receive visa workshop and pre-departure orientation information via e-mail. All workshops and orientations are mandatory. Quito has a very high altitude. Students are advised to take it easy during the first few days in Quito as their bodies adjust to the altitude. Heavy exercise is not recommended.