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Study Master in Ecuador 2024

Study in Ecuador

Ecuadorian Higher Education
College students in Ecuador face an enrollment process far different from typical Western education patterns. Public universities in Ecuador are tuition-free, but enrollment is based on an aptitude test; in order to qualify to attend higher-ranking schools, students must score high on the standardized test they take before they graduate from secondary school.

About 80% of Ecuadorian college students attend public universities; only about 20% attend private schools. The two largest universities in Ecuador, taking up about 50% of the country’s total enrollment of students, are the Central University of Ecuador and the Universidad San Francisco de Quito.

The Central University, established in 1826, is one of the oldest universities in Latin America and enrolls about 10,000 students each year. Universidad San Francisco is young in comparison, just founded in 1988, and enrolls about 5,500 students each year. Both are liberal arts universities offering degrees in a wide variety of subject areas.

Why Ecuador?
Studying abroad in Ecuador puts you into contact with students from all over the world and a mezcla (mix) of cultures you won’t find anywhere else. Both students and teachers here are friendly and willing to help, from the moment they greet you with a warm smile and hug to study sessions to gatherings of friends out exploring Quito or hiking in the Andes mountains.

Ecuador is a fantastic place to study the Spanish language and culture, but if you’re interested in biology, conservationism, marine life, architecture, or fine arts, chances are good you’ll be able to find a niche that’s just right for you in a study abroad program here.

Because Ecuador is one of the less-popular countries for study abroad in Latin America, you’ll find that it’s an even better choice than some of the more popular options.

Tuition and study programs in Ecuador tend to be less expensive than in other Latin American countries, which makes it an attractive option. But you’ll also find that Ecuadorian college areas aren’t overrun by as many tourists and foreigners, so your experience will be more authentic and you’ll get to interact with locals more than you might in other locations.

Student Visas
Obtaining a visa to study in Ecuador usually isn’t too much of a hassle, especially for U.S. citizens. Depending on the duration of your term of study, you may need a student visa or just a tourist visa for your stay. To apply for your visa, you’ll need to present your passport, a return ticket, and possibly proof of financial solvency—like a copy of your latest bank statement. The fee for the visa is waived for students from the U.S., Spain, Germany, Colombia, and Paraguay.

Useful Tips
Private Spanish language lessons are available from $5-10 per hour. If you’re going to Ecuador to learn the language, take advantage of this resource.

Quito and Cuenca are considered the best places to study in Ecuador. Both have a wide variety of language schools to choose from.

While studying in Ecuador, if your study abroad program doesn’t include it, see if you can arrange housing with a local family. A homestay will let you experience Ecuadorian culture on a much deeper level—and make close connections with locals while you’re there!

If you’re looking for a warm, intimate study abroad experience with a bit of exotic culture and incredible diversity thrown in, Ecuador makes a fantastic choice. Take the time to do your research before you go and find the program that’s right for you, then jump in. You won’t regret it.

Change currency

Basic monthly living cost

  • Rent in a shared flat

  • Share of utilities

  • Internet subscription

  • Local transportation


Sample lifestyle cost

  • Fast food combo

  • Cinema ticket

  • Pint of local beer


About Ecuador

Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador is a representative democratic republic in South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and by the Pacific Ocean to the west. Ecuador is also home to a great variety of species, many of them endemic. This species diversity makes Ecuador one of the 17 megadiverse countries in the world.

Ecuadorian government has made huge investments in education and infrastructure throughout the nation, which have improved the lives of the poor.

Ecuador occupies a cozy, exotic corner of South America. Nestled on the west coast of South America with Colombia to the north, Peru to the east and south, and the sparkling Pacific Ocean to the west, the nation has long been one of the more remote regions of South America.

Native Quechua and other native tribes still inhabit rural areas in Ecuador, distinguishing Ecuador as a colorfully diverse nation. Ecuador boasts incredible biodiversity as well as ethnic diversity; the diversity of wildlife in Ecuador’s jungles—and in the Galapagos islands off the coast—have earned it a ranking as one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries.

Most Ecuadorians speak Spanish, though smaller percentages also speak Quechua, Shuar, or one of 11 other languages. The capital of Ecuador is Quito, which was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1970 in recognition of its impeccably preserved Spanish architecture and city planning.

Quito is considered one of the least-altered examples of an inland Spanish colonial city. One of the city’s hallmarks is its distinctly European flavor, from its Gothic cathedrals to its old stone houses and shops.

Because Ecuador is relatively small—about the size of Colorado—and compact, nestled in the corner of South America on the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find that warm, tropical weather predominates in the coastal areas. Further inland, in the Andes, the weather is much more temperate and relatively dry. On the eastern side of the Andes, the Amazon rain basin climate is similar to that of other rainforest regions.

Because it is situated on the equator, Ecuador experiences little variation in its daylight hours during different times of the year; whether it’s summer or winter, the sun both rises and sets at approximately 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. respectively.

Cost of Living
The cost of living in Ecuador is surprisingly low. Even in the cities, it’s relatively easy to find apartments or flats to rent for around $100/month. Food in the markets is cheap and easily accessible, and even utilities, water, and phone bills are inexpensive.

Ecuadorians use the US dollar as their official currency, along with Ecuadorian octavo coins, so you don’t have to worry about exchange rates fluctuating.

Health Insurance
While citizens of Ecuador are generally covered by the public health system, reasonably-priced health insurance is available for college students studying in Ecuador. Take the time to compare international student insurance before you go.

Visa Requirements

Study Visa (Visa 12-V) - non-resident visa, both for students of any level coming to study in Ecuador, and extends also to their family members (married partner and any children).

What type of Visa do you need?

Visa name

Study Visa (Visa 12-V)

Price and currency

USD 150

The student visa fees depend on your citizenship. The fees for the application may be around 50$, and 100$ for the visa. The fees may be subject to change.

Citizens from Colombia, Spain or Paraguay will need to pay only $30 for the visa application, thanks to a bilateral agreement exempting them from paying the visa fee.

Who can apply for the visa?

Most nationalities will receive a tourist card upon entering Ecuador, which will be good for up to 90 days. If your study program is longer than 90 days, you will need to apply for a Visa 12-V.

You will need to show that your studies will be for at least six months within a consecutive period of one year.

Note: If you enter Ecuador with a tourist visa (12-X), you cannot subsequently apply for any other kind of visa in the country. You must return to your country of origin to apply for a non-tourist visa.

Where can you make the application?

Embassy /consulate of Ecuador

You will need to apply at your nearest embassy /consulate of Ecuador.


How to make the application?

You should confirm all information before travels with the Ecuadorian Embassy or Consulate in your own country. Requisites vary significantly by country.

Typical requirements for a student visa to Ecuador include:

  • A written request signed by the applicant, or their legal representative in case of minors, addressed to the Ecuadorian Foreign Service Officer nearest to the place of residence of the applicant.
  • A completed Visa Application Form. To print the form, go to
  • 2 passport-size color photographs with white background.
  • Passport valid for at least six months, showing valid entry into Ecuador, and one photocopy.
  • Registration or admission certificate from a recognized Ecuadorian educational facility. Applicants must show proof that the course will last at least six consecutive months within one year.
  • Applicants must show proof that they have taken out a loan from a domestic or foreign institution to cover their living expenses, or that they have made a deposit in a domestic or international bank in Ecuador for at least $ 1,000 for the school, from which they may withdraw funds on a monthly basis to cover living expenses.
  • Doctor’s certificate and HIV test, indicating that the person does not have any communicable diseases
  • Police certificate indicating that there is no record (criminal) for the applicant.

When should you apply?

The student visa to Ecuador is valid for a minimum of 6 months and needs to be renewed after a year.

The 12-V Visa is not renewable if the student fails the course.

Processing time

Work opportunities

You are allowed to work in Ecuador as a student.

Hours per week


Why do you need this type of visa?

Your visa application may be rejected if you are not able to show proof of the required funds, or if you provide incorrect or incomplete documents.