Do I have to pay for the first night in Ecuador?
From the start of the program, your hotel/accommodations will be covered as part of the program. If you decide to arrive prior to the start of your particular program,that cost will not be covered by CEDEI, but we are more than happy to help you make a reservation and find a suitable location to stay while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.
Who will meet me at the airport?
For students who are participating in group programs, at least one CEDEI staff member will be waiting at the airport to receive you. Generally, the CEDEI staff member will have a small sign with the program name and CEDEI on it, and will be waiting right outside of Customs for you. For individuals that will be studying at CEDEI, it is important to coordinate with the staff in the International Programs Departments so that they are aware of how (bus, plane) and when you are arriving so either a staff member, or your family will be waiting to pick you up.
Should I bring my laptop?
The final decision is up to you, but at CEDEI’s international building, we do have free wireless access allowing you to connected with your laptops. Students often find having their personal computers much more convenient than using the frequently occupied community computers. We do have 3 computers in our International building and another 12 computers at our principal building just a short walk away we are available for everyone to use. If you do decide to bring your laptop, and any other electronic/valuable devices, it is always recommended that you have some form of travel insurance in the case of any sort of accident.
What kind of clothing should I bring?
First, we ask that all students read the ‘what to bring’ list to get a better idea of what will be needed while in Cuenca. As many that have been here will say, the weather in Cuenca is unpredictable. There can be a strong sun in the morning, and rain clouds can suddenly appear during the afternoon, bringing an occasional thunderstorm and bit of hail!
Although we are located on near the Equator, it is important that you remember that Cuenca is situated at approximately 8,500 feet above sea level making the nights a bit chilly. Please bring clothing that you are comfortable wearing, and that you are used to wearing everyday. It is not necessary to purchase a wardrobe of lightweight, outdoor apparel unless that is what you like to wear on a daily basis. Generally jeans, a tee-shirt, and a light weight jacket or sweatshirt will be enough to keep you warm. It’s important to note that here in Cuenca, it is very rare to wear shorts unless one is running or playing sports. Also, it is always nice to have a few sets of clothing to go out in or to have in case you are invited to a special event or wedding!
Will I have internet at my host family’s house?
Not all host families will have internet in the house, so you will have to wait and see!
Will I have my own room?
Yes, each student will have their own room and own personal space in the house of their host family.
Should I contact my family before I arrive?
It is not necessary to get in touch with your host family before you arrive, and most students actually wait until they get to Ecuador to get to know their new family. You will have plenty of time to get to know them while you are studying here! If after receiving the information regarding your family and you would like to send them an e-mail , or would like to give them a call to brush up on your Spanish, please get in touch with Dunia Cabrera, the Host Family Coordinator, and ask for their contact information.
Should I buy a gift for my host family?
Many students enjoy searching for a small gift to give their host family upon arrive to Ecuador. This of course is not required, and should only be done if its something you would really like to do. Common gifts are chocolates, maple syrup, post cards, or souvenirs which are typical from your particular state or town. If you don’t feel like buying anything, bring some photos of your life and family back home; it makes a great icebreaker!
Should I bring a cell phone?
It is common for students who are studying with CEDEI to purchase a cell phone while in Ecuador. Expect to spend approximately $40.00 for the purchase of a basic cell phone, plus a bit more for the purchase of minutes. Often, students have brought their cell phones from home, and have been able to purchase a SIM card (chip) which could then be used with their existing phone, or they have purchased an international calling plan. For those of you who are unsure if you would like to buy a phone here in Ecuador, we offer two solutions. First, it is very easy to making international phone calls from ‘cabinas’ for .10 to .25 per minute, and there are many cabinas throughout the city. Second, we have a cell phone buy-back program in which for a minimal price, CEDEI will purchase your cell phone when you leave the country, so that we may help the environment a little, and rent the phones back out to incoming students.
What out-of-class activities can I do while in Cuenca?
As a modern and developing city, Cuenca has much to offer during your free time. If you are looking for outdoor activities, Cajas National Park is located less than 40 minutes outside the city and is a great place for a day hike or trout fishing in one of the hundreds of small lakes located around 12,000 feet. At the ‘Coliseo’ in Cuenca you can also find a wide variety of activities from rock-climbing, racquetball, squash, to an Olympic-sized pool and basketball courts all available for public use. Check out our article: 10 Things to Do in Cuenca.
What are the host families like?
Each Ecuadorian host family will differ, so it is impossible to describe what your particular family will be like. We have a long standing relationships with many families within Cuenca, all who meet our highest expectations and requirements when providing for our students. We feel that this aspect of our programs is one of the most important and integral parts which we can offer to our students, and we are very proud of the relationships that are often formed between our students and families. Many CEDEI Alumni are proud to say that they have a new family in Ecuador and frequently stay in contact and even come back to visit. Expect to learn more about the family when our Host Family Coordinator sends you important information regarding the family but be ready with an open mind to meet them here in Cuenca!
Where should I have postcards or packages sent to in Ecuador?
We always ask that students consult with the International Program staff prior to having any package send to Ecuador. There are various methods (UPS & DHL) as well as normal post which all have their advantages and disadvantages, and for that reason we want to inform you of the most cost effective and efficient way to receive materials.
When sending a package or postcard, please mail it to our offices at the following address.
Centros de Estudios Interamericanos (CEDEI)
Luís Cordero 5-66 Entre Juan Jaramillo y Honorato Vasquez
When can I expect to receive information regarding my host family?
Each student will be living with an Ecuadorian host family during there stay in Cuenca. Generally, you can expect to receive an e-mail with information regarding your host family a few weeks before the start of the program.
Who should I talk to if my parents or friends want to visit?
The CEDEI staff are happy to help with recommendations for travel, tours, hotels etc. We also work closely with Expediciones Apullacta (http://www.apullacta.com/) who can assist you and your family and friends in any way possible. Just send us an e-mail, and one of our staff members will get back to you!
Do I need a passport?
Every student that will be studying with CEDEI will need a passport that is at least valid for 6 months from the date of entry in Ecuador. If you are planning on studying with CEDEI and you do not have a passport, please make sure to obtain one as soon as possible. Prior to your arrival, you will be sent information regarding the visa/entry process.
Do I need a visa?
If you are not planning on staying longer than 90 days in Ecuador, you may enter the country as a tourist. No additional visa paperwork is required.