International Development in Quito, Ecuador (MSID)

  • Location: Ecuador - Quito
  • GPA Requirements: 2.75 GPA
  • Other Requirements: 2 years of college level Spanish.
  • Application Deadline: February 20 for fall programs and September 20 for spring programs.
  • Program Term(s): Fall, Spring, academic year
  • Official Website: International Development in Quito, Ecuador (MSID)
Program Dates
Term Start Date End Date
Spring 2024 January 14th, 2024 May 4th, 2024
Fall 2024 August 25th, 2024 December 7th, 2024

These dates are tentative. Confirm program dates before booking travel.


The program is open to Allegheny juniors and seniors with a minimum GPA of 2.75. Coursework related to the applicant’s track of interest and/or Ecuador or South America, or volunteer or social services experience is preferred. 2 years of college-level Spanish is also required.


Few countries as small as Ecuador contain the remarkable geographic and biological diversity found in this Pacific coast nation. Rising from the jungles of the coast and bisected by the Andes, Ecuador is the product of a complex interplay of historical factors. Indigenous cultures, Spanish imperialism, revolutionary movements, US hemispheric policies, and increasing globalization have all played their part in the development of a political and economic structure which, in many ways, is a case study for Latin America as a whole.

Pichincha, an active Andean volcano, provides a spectacular backdrop to Quito, one of Latin America’s most beautiful and livable cities. From above, the city is a sea of red tile roofs broken in a number of places by the towers of churches, which are among the continent’s great architectural gems. Quito also boasts a lively cultural and arts scene with numerous museums, concert halls, and theaters.


The program’s combination of classes, field trips, field experiences/internships, and research links experience with theory and provides a critical analysis of development efforts and their effectiveness, sustainability, cultural appropriateness, and equity. Students participating in the program develop a profound, firsthand understanding of the complex economic and social issues at work in Ecuador.

Once in Quito, students study as a group for 8 weeks, then participate in a 6-week internship followed by a final wrap-up week back together. Students on the year-long option build the field experience to an internship in greater depth. The academic year curriculum includes the internship and a related course for a total of 8 credits, plus a research project and related methods course for another 8.

Internship opportunities include working at family health care clinics, working with communities to develop eco-tourism, contributing to a rural adult literacy project, urban planning, and working in a shelter for street children.

MSID’s partner institution in Ecuador is Fundacion Cimas del Ecuador, a Quito-based nonprofit foundation. Dr. Jose Suarez is the Director of Cimas, and he also serves as MSID’s Academic Director. The Assistant Director of Cimas, Lic. Dolores (Loli) Lopez de Suarez, also serves as MSID’s Administrative Director and arranges field placements and homestays.

Academic Structure

Course taken with other MSID students. The internship or research project will be with an organization engaged in grassroots work related to your chosen international development theme.

Course Credit

You are required to take 16 credits for fall or spring semester. Add 4 credits for optional language pre-session.


For a full list of course offerings, visit MSID’s website here.

Student Life

MSID participants live with host families throughout the program. The homestay is an important venue for practicing Spanish and for gaining insights into Ecuadorian culture. The MSID-Ecuador facilities include five classrooms, a small library, a kitchen and dining area, a snack bar, a rest area, and eight computers (connected to the Internet) set aside for student use.

Application Process

Allegheny students must apply for approval to study off-campus from the Global Education office AND apply directly to their chosen program. For this program, students should work on the Allegheny approval application simultaneously with the host program application. The Allegheny approval application deadline is February 20 for fall programs and September 20 for spring programs. Study away approval applications will be reviewed immediately following the appropriate semester deadline. The separate application deadline to apply directly to this program will vary and could be before or after Allegheny’s approval application due date. Check directly on their website (linked at the top of this page) for deadline information. For more information about the study away application process, please visit the application steps page.

Costs & Fees

Students pay Allegheny tuition, the off-campus fee ($800), a room (Allegheny double room charge), and a Gator Blue meal plan. This covers program tuition, fees, room, most meals, international travel insurance, and field trips (where applicable). Not included are visas, passports, some meals, airfare, pre-departure immunizations, and personal expenses. Allegheny financial aid, except for work/study, is applied to program costs. Allegheny College will arrange payment of the $400 program deposit required by MSID (applied to the total cost), but students are responsible for the $50 application fee.