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Study Abroad | Galápagos Islands

Ecuador | Universidad San Francisco de Quito | January Term 2025


Spend January Term exploring the ecological diversity of the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador, with AIFS! Study environmental science at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ), a leader in education, research, creativity and entrepreneurship in Latin America.

What’s Included

The AIFS inclusive program fee includes all of the great features below in addition to many pre-departure, on-site and upon-return services to help students make the most of their time abroad.

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  • Tuition

    3 semester credits

  • Courses

    Course in environmental science

  • Housing

    with local families on San Cristóbal Island. Hotel accommodation is provided for the Quito and Santa Cruz Island sections of the program

  • Meals

    Breakfast and lunch in Quito, 3 meals a day on San Cristóbal and breakfast and lunch on Santa Cruz

  • Excursions & Day Trips

    Quito, Ecuador (2 nights at the start of the program and 2 nights at the end) and Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos (2 nights)

  • Cultural & Social Activities

    Guided tour of Quito’s historic center and the Middle of the World Monument or Otavalo Market, visits to Frigate Bird Hill, El Junco Lake, La Galapaguera, La Lobería Beach, snorkeling excursion to Kicker Rock, Puerto Chino and Isla Lobos

  • Welcome Event

    To help you get to know your classmates better, familiarize you with the local area and advise you about your stay

  • On-Site Support

    To help with any questions or advice you may need throughout the program

  • Health & Safety

    24/7 emergency support and comprehensive insurance

  • Green Initiative

Additional Options & Opportunities

  • AIFS Flight Package

    Round trip flights U.S.-Quito-U.S.

    Round trip transfers between the airport and campus overseas

Program Details: Study Abroad | Galápagos Islands Ecosystems and Biodiversity in the Galapagos


January 3, 2025January 16, 2025


January Term


Universidad San Francisco de Quito

Application Deadline

October 1, 2024

Inclusive Fees



Open to High School Graduate, First Year, Sophomore, Junior, Senior

Minimum of 2.5 GPA

Additional requirements may vary by course selection. See Academic section below.

Visa Requirements

A visa may be required for this program. Please contact your advisor or log into your portal for more information.

Areas of Interest

  • Environmental Studies

Global Themes

  • Global Sustainability
Learn More About Global Themes


AIFS Abroad offers a unique global educational experience for students on this program, with the following academic options available:

La Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) is one of Ecuador’s top-ranked universities. It has a community of 7,000 students and 300 professors and is a leader in education, research, creativity and entrepreneurship. 

  • Environmental Studies

The Galápagos program gives students the opportunity to earn 3 credits studying an environmental science course in one of the most pristine natural laboratories in the world. Based at Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) Extension Campus on the island of San Cristóbal, you will study the Galápagos’ major ecosystems and learn about them firsthand on academic field excursions which take you into the designated visitor sites to discover species of flora and fauna that exist nowhere else on Earth.

View All Courses For Ecosystems and Biodiversity in the Galapagos
A student sitting on a rock, observing two birds.

Living Abroad


Students will stay with a carefully selected homestay family in San Cristóbal. By staying with local families, you will gain a unique insight into island life and how the locals live and work.

  • Daily breakfast and dinner with the families
  • Most lunches in town or at the site of the academic visits


Hotel accommodation is provided in Quito and Santa Cruz Island with breakfast and lunch provided.


San Cristóbal is the easternmost island in the Galápagos archipelago and has a population of about 6,000 inhabitants.


San Cristobal is where Darwin first set foot to write his famous book, “On the Origin of Species.”


San Cristóbal is home to many animals like sealions, marine iguanas, tortoises, and more!

AIFS in the Galápagos Islands Director, January Term Program

AIFS provides a dedicated Program Director for this program who will assist students throughout. Details and contact information will be available prior to the start of the program.

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

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. Past activities have included:

  • Welcome lunch
  • Visit to El Junco, a permanent freshwater lake where you can see frigate birds bathing to preen their feathers
  • La Lobería, 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 the nests of the blue-footed boobies
  • Quito historic center and Middle of the World Monument guided tour or guided visit to Otavalo Market
  • Farewell dinner

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.

Many activities involve snorkelling – participants should be able to swim and be confident in water.


This program offers a range of day trips and excursions that will take you outside the Galapagos Islands and deepen your social, historical and cultural understanding of Ecuador. Previous excursions have included:

A turtle walking through grass.

Santa Cruz Island

Includes visits to the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Lava Java Organic Coffee Plantation farm, accommodations, breakfasts, one lunch, and round trip transportation. Students get one free afternoon to explore. 

  • Galapagos
  • 2 Days
  • Included in Program Fee
A group of happy students at a carnival.
A view of Prague.

Social identity & access

One of the best things you can do before departure is enter into the journey knowing that your time abroad will be unique to this experience. The resources, community, and support available to you when abroad will likely be different as well. In order to help you prepare for your experience, we have compiled many resources about social identity and access in specific locations abroad. Your program staff will also provide you with more details pre-departure and during orientation.

Learn more

Important Dates & Deadlines

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Dates & Deadlines


  • Early Application Deadline*
  • Application Deadline
    October 1, 2024
  • Deposit Deadline
    October 15, 2024
  • Scholarship Deadline
    October 1, 2024
  • Visa Deadline****
  • Optional Departure Flight from US***
    January 3, 2025
  • Program Begins
    January 3, 2025
  • Program Ends
    January 16, 2025
  • Optional Return Flight to US***
    January 16, 2025
  • *** Included for students on AIFS flight package.
  • **** AIFS Abroad offers visa processing services to applicants who enroll into the program by this date. All other applicants who enroll after this date will be responsible for securing their own visa with guidance from AIFS Abroad.

Optional Flight Package

Students can select an optional transportation package for all AIFS programs. Students who choose to book their own flights should meet up with group at the program location and will need to make their own ground transportation arrangements.

Below are fees by departure city based on average historical costs and subject to change. If you select this option on your application, the total flight package price will be confirmed in your account 6 months prior to departure. (Program fee is guaranteed.)

Depature City


  • Atlanta
  • Boston
  • Buffalo
  • Charlotte
  • Chicago
  • Cincinnati
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Des Moines
  • Detroit
  • Houston
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Minneapolis
  • New York
  • Newark
  • Orlando
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Pittsburgh
  • Raleigh/Durham
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • St. Louis
  • Washington/Dulles
  • View more View less

See what others are saying

Two students walking in a field.

Ready to Study Abroad in Galápagos Islands?

For more dates or questions, contact your program consultant:
(203) 399-5163 or email: