Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Galapagos Islands Campus
Established by Universidad San Francisco De Quito (USFQ) in 2002, the Galapagos Islands campus was created with the support of the Galapagos National Park, the Municipality of San Cristobal, and the local government. The program recognizes that effective environmental conservation requires accessible and sustainable economic alternatives for the local people. It is with this focus and understanding that the research on the Galapagos Islands seeks to promote the development and replication of sustainable, non-extractive economic opportunities through access to quality higher education. Since its establishment, the Galapagos Islands campus has become one of the most important education research entities, hosting more than 250 national and international students every year.
The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic origin located along the equator in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 1,000 km (600 miles) off the west coast of Ecuador. The USFQ campus is located in the island of San Cristobal, the capital of the Galapagos, in the city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, which has a population of approximately 6,000 people. The islands are famous for their vast number of unique species and were studied by Charles Darwin. In 1978, UNESCO recognized the islands as a World Heritage Site. On San Cristobal, students are surrounded by some of the most unique wildlife species on the plant. Students will have the opportunity to observe Chatham mockingbirds, blue footed boobies, masked boobies, frigate birds, pintail ducks, gallinules, pelicans, giant tortoises, sea tortoises, crabs, sea lions and much more.
Students can choose to study abroad during:
- This program is open to all majors.
- Must have completed the required courses listed below for each track program
- Be a TAMU student for at least one semester prior to application
- Attend TAMU for at least one full semester after the exchange
- Have a minimum 3.0 G.P.A.
- Have a minimum Junior classification by beginning of exchange; can be a Sophomore at the time of application
- Provide 1 letter of recommendation from Texas A&M faculty member (forms within application)
- Provide official transcripts from all college-level institutions attended
Students partaking in the semester programs have the opportunity to choose between three tracks:
- Spring Semester (January to May)
- Fall Semester (August to December)
- Marine Ecology (Completion of at least one course in general biology and one course in ecology is required prior to exchange)
- Evolution, Ecology and Conservation (Completion of at least one course in general biology and one course in ecology is required prior to exchange)
- People, Politics and the Environment (An intermediate-level of Spanish is highly recommended, but not required)
- Personalized, small classroom settings
- State of the art teaching, research and laboratory facilities
- Hands-on classes and field trips
- Visits to the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, Ecuadorian highlands, a cloud forest
- Free Spanish lessons
- Experience Ecuadorian culture and the opportunity to live in one of the most unique and amazing places on earth, the Galapagos Archipelago Islands
- 4-day cruise and tour of the Galapagos Islands
- Ph.D. trained professors with vast teaching, research and field experience
Students take five courses worth three credits each all taught in English. Each class lasts between two to three weeks. During the student’s first month in Ecuador, they will take classes at USFQ’s main campus in Quito. They will also visit the Tiputini Biodiversity Station, a cloud forest and the Antisana Volcano. The other four classes are held at the campus on the Galapagos Islands during the last three months of the study abroad experience. The courses taken by students are determined by the track he or she chooses. More information about the program and what courses the student will be required to take on the program can be found on the program information page.
Since the program moves from location to location throughout Ecuador, housing is a combination of homestays and hotels. Students stay with carefully screened host families in Quito for the first module and with host families in San Cristobal for the remainder of the semester. During overnight excursions, students stay in hotels.
One of the benefits of participating in a reciprocal exchange is their affordability. Overall costs are comparable to studying in College Station with the main difference in costs coming from travel related expenses and the exchange rate. Please keep in mind that because you are enrolled at A&M, your regular tuition and fees will be paid at A&M just as if you were taking classes on campus.
USFQ Galapagos Islands Extension
|Estimated Fees Paid to Texas A&M
|A&M Tuition & Fees
|REEP Administrative Fee
|Estimated Fees Paid Directly to USFQ
|Galapagos Academic Field Excursions
|Estimated Additional Expenses (pre-departure or on-site)
|Misc. Expenses, Books & Supplies
|TOTAL ESTIMATED COST
|Texas A&M Semester Comparison Cost
|The Galapagos Islands campus offers 5 classes in 3 week modules travelling across Ecuador. As a result, there is an additional $5,095 in fees for entrance fees, visas, travel in Ecuador, housing and field research class expenses.
As soon as you decide to participate in a study abroad program, you will want to look into the funding available. Texas A&M Scholarships designated specifically for study abroad include: The Study Abroad Fellowship and the International Education Fee Scholarship. Also, many academic colleges and departments offer scholarships for students studying abroad. Additional information can be found at the Study Abroad Programs Office Funding webpage.
USFQ International Program Information
UFSQ Exchange Student Orientation Manual
USFQ Course Listings
USFQ Information on Home-Stays
Study Abroad Programs Office Scholarship and Funding webpage
Scholarship and Funding options
Travel Guide Ecuador
Travel Guide Galapagos Islands
Thoughts from a Former Exchange Student
"Studying abroad in Ecuador was one of the best experiences of my college career. I spent a spring semester there, which improved my Spanish conversation skills more than years of taking Spanish in high school and in college. The best thing about living in Quito was that travelling independently was very easy. Four to eight hours on a night bus from Quito and you could be anywhere from the outskirts of the Amazon rainforest, to a relaxing weekend at the beach, or on your way on a weekend trek in the Andes. I will never forget the friends I made there, the nights spent salsa dancing, and getting lost in the most beautiful places...... Nothing beats the satisfaction of coming home, and realizing you survived life and studying in a foreign country while not knowing the language perfectly, all while meeting some of the most interesting people after not knowing a single person. I am a definitely a more confident and decisive person now after spending several months there."
Former Texas A&M Exchange Student
For more information about the exchange program to Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Galapagos Islands Campus, contact Ilana Blumenfeld-Gantz in the Study Abroad Programs Office.