People and Culture in Ecuador

To the anthropologist’s delight, Ecuador wields a whole spectrum of culture. There is a complex mix of cultures and ethnicity woven into the country and by studying abroad you will have the ability to get to know many of them.


“Do your best to fully immerse yourself in the culture and take advantage of the opportunities abroad. This is your chance to experience many new things: new people, new food, new places, new traditions, new languages, new everything! Even if you feel physically or emotionally tired, get out there, leave your fear at home, and bring a positive attitude. Don’t take anything for granted. Even the most seemingly insignificant experience will become a highly valuable memory in the future.” – Debora C., Intern in Barcelona Alumna.


Frequent in much of South America, Spanish is the main spoken language in Ecuador and will be spoken throughout the area making this a paradise for Spanish majors and minors. Along side Spanish, the Incan language of the native population of Quechua can be heard frequently in many areas of the country. Never heard of Quechua before? It’s actually one of the official languages of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. What does it sound like, you ask? Check out the video below to see and hear a fellow traveler’s first experience with the Quechua language in Peru!


Life happens at a much slower pace in Ecuador in comparison to the United States. For U.S. Americans, this can be a difficult adjustment since the go-go-go lifestyle is a hard one to break and we like things to happen quickly. Rather than the typical small talk you encounter at the grocery store, bank, and post office in the United States, Ecuadorians enjoy chatting with one another for what may seem like an extended period of time. Be prepared this when you are traveling to Ecuador. Routine items such as getting money out from an ATM or sending a package at the post office may take longer than you anticipate. Always plan for more time than you expect and use this extra time to reflect on your experience in Ecuador, practice your Spanish with locals in line, or bring something to do to keep your mind off the wait.

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#CISabroadtip – If you do not know much Spanish or Quechua already, have a look on YouTube or other internet resources to bulk up on your language abilities! Check out this website to brush up on a few common Quechua phrases!