Updated on August 23, 2010
University of San Francisco, Quito
Sometimes it’s easy to forget while studying abroad that I am also here to go to school. Although I like to think of Quito as a vacation, I am also getting some college credit out of being here, so I would like to spend some time discussing the University of San Francisco in Quito.
The University of San Francisco in Quito was established by the University of San Francisco, note the name, in 1988 in response to the need of more higher education in Ecuador. It is a private, liberal arts college of just under 6,000 students, including students from all campuses, Cumbaya (Quito), Riobama and Tiputini as well as undergraduate and graduate students.
I am currently at the school in Cumbaya and coming from Elon University, a small, private school in North Carolina, I feel at home in Cumbaya?. The campus is compact, but still large enough to have open spaces for students to sit and enjoy the weather, the buildings are a bit of a maze and the landscaping is unbelievably gorgeous. Aside from the?ascetic?aspects, USFQ employs some of the most reputable teachers and is one of the most highly regarded institutions in Ecuador. The class sizes are small, generally no more than 25 students at most, and professors are very interested in their students learning.
I have mostly experienced the classes designed for International students and have had most of my contact with the Office of International Programs, so most of my information is relevant to studying abroad at USFQ. The university offers a handful of classes solely for international students to learn Spanish and others about Ecuadorian culture. There are also classes offered in English. My one English class has half American students and half Ecuadorian students with an Ecuadorian professor.
All of the professors I have here have not only been helpful to the international students, but also go out of their way to make sure that we understand whatever they are teaching. Specifically, many know key words in English. Two of my classes are not tailored towards international students, but the professors make an effort to help us as
well. Classes are taught in different fashions, just as they are at any American university. They can range from lecture to discussion based to even presentations of students about specific topics. The only big differences I have heard about is the class size for students that come from larger Universities and the fact that people are generally just a little later in Ecuador, so classes rarely begin on time.
The office of International Programs has been immensely helpful in all areas. They hold a 2-day orientation and?information session that includes information about the University in general, problems that international students may encounter, cultural differences and any health issues to?expect?while transitioning into a new culture and way of eating, specifically. They brought all the students on a tour and helped us figure out our classes, but have also been available for all sorts of questions. Questions anywhere from “How do I find a syllabus online?” to “My visa from the US is incorrect, how do I fix that?”
The campus of USFQ is not only beautiful, but very similar to campuses one may find in the United States. There?are clubs galore and different groups that put on events on and off campus all the time. Recently, I attended a?coffeehouse get together hosted by student life to encourage international students to mix with Ecuadorian students. Here, we ate cookies, drank coffee, watched a few tango dances and then watched a hypnotist. The students really do try to integrate with the international students. This is evident through the coffeehouse, through classes, and through the off campus events. Clubs and sports classes are a great way to mix with the Ecuadorian students.
Overall, the University of San Francisco in Quito is a fantastic place to study abroad. It is similar enough to an American university that students from the US can feel at home, the campus is beautiful and welcoming and many of the Ecuadorian students honestly want to get to know the International students. USFQ is a great place to look into if you are planning to study abroad and learn lots of Spanish.