THINK Global School

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Ecuador

History and biodiversity at the center of the world

The birthplace of poets and great men, the “Athens of the Andes” has a history, culture, and architecture so rich and well preserved it’s been declared both a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as the Cultural Capital of the Americas. Cuenca was originally a Cañari settlement known as Guapondeleg, which translates into “land as big as heaven.”

Upon settling in this history-rich city, we quickly made friends with students at host school Colegio Alemán Stiehle, where THINK Global School students had ample opportunities to practice their Spanish both in and outside of the classroom. Here, we were able to study traditional Ecuadorian cooking and shamanism, dig the foundations for a school in nearby Chimbarazo Province, and witness the effects of climate change via multiple nature excursions and conversations with scientists. We even had the honor of being the first high school to visit Tiputini Biodiversity Station, where we spent four days meandering hiking trails and experiencing Ecuador’s great biodiversity with top biologists and expert guides.

During the term we also spent two incredible weeks in the Galapagos Islands. We made a full trip around the circle of life as we spotted finches and iguanas from our kayaks, snorkeled with stingrays and hammerhead sharks, practiced our Spanish at an Ecuadorean Quinceañera ceremony, and even watched a sea lion give birth. We also studied the ecological threats to the islands at a tortoise research facility, learned about the chemistry of taking out the trash at a composting and recycling center, read Darwin’s notebooks at the Charles Darwin Research Center, and used our mathematical skills to measure trends in sea algae growth.

Yuan Kelly, Class of 2016

on her favorite Ecuador experience:

Galapagos was an absolutely amazing experience. We spent most of our time on St. Cristobal Island and had classes on the beach and wrote Mandarin characters in the sand. There were sleeping sea lions right next to us, and some of them would waddle up and brush against us.

If we went swimming in the ocean (which was absolutely freezing), the sea lions would brush up against us in the water. They were big lazy creatures, but there were also little ones. Some of us put on our snorkel gear and dove down into the coral reefs, and the sea lions would dive down next to us. I’d been scuba diving before, but this experience was like no other.

Read student testimonials

Activities

Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon Rainforest
•Climate change with Natalia Greene of The Pachamama Alliance (speaker)
•History of the Galapagos lectures with professors from the University of San Francisco de Quito
•Ecuadorian history and environmental politics with Jorge Barba (speaker)
•Biodiversity field course with professor Vinueza of USFQ
•Exploration of the Galapagos Islands
•Charles Darwin Research Center on Santa Cruz Island
•Hiking Sierra Negra Volcano
•Oktoberfest at Colegio Aleman Stiehle Cuenca
•Ecuadorian cooking class
Incapirca ruins
•Volunteering in the rural Chimborazo province
•WWF International president Yolanda Kakabadse
•Ecuadorian shamanism with a highland practitioner
•Conversation with Queen of Water co-author María Virginia Farinango

An Education in Ecuador

See what we learned and how we lived in South America through blogs, photos, and videos.

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Ready to embark on the Educational Journey of a lifetime?

A passion for travel. A strong academic record. And the desire to improve the world as you experience it. If this sounds like you, you just might be our ideal candidate! Start your application with a five-minute inquiry form - you never know where you might end up.

It all starts here.

Apply Now