Study Abroad in the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Living Abroad - January Term 2018

AIFS in the Galápagos Islands Resident Director, January Term Program

AIFS Resident Director

Clem Banks

American Institute for Foreign Study
c/o Oficina de Programas Internacionales (OPI)
Universidad de San Francisco de Quito
Campus Cumbayá,
Diego de Robles y Via Interoceánica
P.O.Box 17-12-841
Quito, Ecuador


Hello. I am from Ipswich, England, and have worked for AIFS for 4 years in Italy, Spain, France and Costa Rica. I speak a few languages and love to travel. My favourite experiences include hiking volcanoes in the Aeolian islands, wine-tasting in Catalonia, seeing the summit of Mont Blanc and tapas tours in Bilbao. I am excited by the prospect of tortoises and tropical fish!

The Resident Director provides academic advice, introduces you to the community and handles communication with the University.

Housing and Meals

San Cristóbal has a population of about 6,000 inhabitants. Students will stay with a carefully selected homestay family with daily breakfast and dinner with the families included. Most of the islanders live in the port city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and are involved in either the tourism or shing industry. It is a close-knit and conservative community with a rich cultural history. By staying with local families you will gain a unique insight into island life and how the locals live and work.

Cultural Activities

Learning does not begin or end in the classroom. Visits and field trips are a key part of your academic study in the Galápagos, while social and cultural activities in Quito give you a better understanding of Ecuador, the South American country which governs the islands.

  • Welcome lunch
  • Visit to El Junco, a permanent fresh water lake and where you can see frigate birds bathing in order to preen their feathers
  • La Loberia, a coral sand beach where you can see sea lions, a large colony of marine iguanas and birds
  • La Galapaguera, a man-made breeding program for tortoises and an information center for visitors. You can see giant land tortoises living in a semi-natural habitat
  • Kicker Rock, one of San Cristóbal Island’s most iconic sites and an excellent location for spotting manta rays, sea turtles and sharks
  • Frigate Bird Hill to spot the magnificent frigate birds
  • The Interpretation Center, which focuses on the history of the archipelago from its volcanic origins to the present
  • The Isla Lobos to see Blue Footed Boobies and Frigate Bird nests
  • Tour of Otovalo market with lunch

USFQ and AIFS promote conservation and sustainable tourism in the Galápagos Islands through education and research. All visits on the islands are to designated visitor sites.