The Country: Ecuador
Straddling the Equator on the northwest coast of South America, Ecuador is characterized by an incredible cultural and geographic diversity that takes in the Galápagos Islands, the coastal areas of the Pacific, the Andean Mountains, and the headwaters of the Amazon River.
Little wonder, then, that Ecuador has been named as one of the world's few “Mega-Diverse” countries by the United Nations' World Conservation Monitoring Center. This diversity goes well beyond the natural world, however: Ecuador is home to at least 20 distinct ethnic groups, and an estimated 23 languages are spoken in the country (3 of them official).
From Guayaquil you can reach all parts of the country, including the Galápagos Islands, the Amazon and the Andes, in a fairly short time by bus or via our international airport.
The City: Guayaquil
The site of UEES is Samborondón, just outside Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city with a population of approximately 2.5 million. Noted for its hustle and bustle, and the friendliness of its people, Guayaquil is the hub of an active import-export industry and serves as the financial center of Ecuador.
As one of Latin America's mega-cities, Guayaquil presents sharp contrasts between rich and poor, where glittering modern buildings exist alongside shanty towns lacking basic services. It is, in short, a place to learn about the realities of urban life in the tropics.
But the city and its environs also have a charming side. The historic Las Peñas district gives a glimpse of Guayaquil's elegant past, while an outing on the Morgan ship harks back to the day's when pirates were a constant threat to the city. The centerpiece of the city is its colorful boardwalk – Malecón 2000 – where Guayaquileños from all walks of life like to parade along the river.
Surrounding Guayaquil is a variety of fascinating and important ecological areas – mangrove swamps, desert, tropical dry forest, cloud forest, and pristine beaches – all within easy reach, and many of which UEES international students visit on field trips.
Combining all of these elements – history, culture and environment – is the Parque Histórico in Samborondón, just 5 minutes from the university. We encourage all students to visit the park, particularly in the company of their host families, to share a slice of Guayaquil life.