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Sustainable Service through the IPSL Service-Learning Plus Program!

IPSL students have an exclusive opportunity to work and live with a local coastal community and serve alongside the villagers to help create sustainable change. For a week at the end of each semester, you can live in a sustainable eco-lodge learning about the issues this small Ecuadorian community are challenged with. Working with community driven initiatives on projects ranging from beach cleaning and preservation for sea turtles and other wildlife to teaching English to local fisherman and  community members of all ages who want to increase their standard of living, you can make a real, lasting difference. IPSL students return each semester to the coastal village to help further the goals of the community and engage in hands-on service to promote equitable relationships, social justice and sustainable change for local communities.




Deeper, More Meaningful Study Abroad

Ecuador spans the equator on the northwest coast of South America. With its cultural diversity and wide range of environments—the Galapagos Islands, the coastal areas of the Pacific, the Andes mountain range, and the headwaters of the Amazon—Ecuador provides an ideal location for you to live in and learn about South America, encountering directly the issues and concerns of this great southern continent. In Guayaquil, Ecuador’s largest city and gateway to the Galapagos, you will enjoy a tropical climate with varied and abundant flora and fauna and a newly revitalized waterfront, or "Malecon." You will also encounter dramatic contrasts of wealth and poverty, and the social issues generated through that disparity.

You will spend a semester developing your Spanish skills; studying Ecuadorian history, culture, and society at Universidad Espiritu Santo; living with an Ecuadorian family; and serving 15–20 hours a week in an Ecuadorian community agency. Your volunteer service immerses you in the culture and deepens your understanding of Ecuadorian society in a way that goes beyond that experienced in traditional study abroad programs. It also facilitates your mastery of Spanish.

Experience Guayaquil from a Local Perspective

Ecuador's main port and largest city, Guayaquil is a bustling coastal urban center, known for its friendly people, tropical climate, and vibrant nightlife. You will enjoy strolls along the refurbished riverside "Malecón," the colonial Barrio Las Peñas, the colorful houses and view from Cerro Santa Ana, the Mercado Artesanal (artisan's market), beautiful parks and plazas, and an abundance of cafés and restaurants. Guayaquil is also gateway to the Galápagos Islands and some of Ecuador's most beautiful beaches.

Program Highlights

Language of Instruction: Spanish and/or English

Affiliated institution: Universidad de Especialidades Espíritu Santo (UEES)

Courses & Credits - Semester
  • Spanish Language | Credits: 3-6 (3 per module)

  • Institutions in Ecuadorian Society (IPSL Service-Learning Course)| Credits: 3

  • IPSL Reflections / SL Practicum Seminar | Credits: 3

  • Electives | Credits: 3-6 (1-2 classes) 


Courses & Credits - Summer
  • Spanish Language | Credits: 3-6 (3 per module)

  • Institutions in Ecuadorian Society (IPSL Service-Learning Course)| Credits: 3

Service Opportunities
  • teaching English as a Second Language

  • health care through medical and dental clinics

  • health education

  • animal welfare

  • tutoring and recreation for children and teens

  • community and economic development

  • ecological preservation

  • eco-tourism and sustainable microbusiness

  • marine biodiversity

…and More...


You will live in a homestay with a middle-class Ecuadorian family, who provide most of your meals and introduce you to Ecuadorian family life. An integral part of the program, the homestay offers you the opportunity to make life-long friends, reinforce language skills, and experience the culture from "the inside." Host families are carefully selected and experienced with hosting students.

During the Service-Learning Plus extension, students live at a rustic eco-tourist lodge in an Ecuadorian coastal village.



  • We're really nice and support you in your journey!

  • We're the most experienced group in the field of International Service-Learning

  • You can make a real difference to people in need

  • You can FINALLY learn that language

  • You can dive deep into another culture!

  • To support our service organizations in a SUSTAINABLE way

  • GROW - expand your horizons and challenge your assumptions!

  • SUSTAINABLE CHANGE ON A GRASS- ROOTS LEVEL with ISPL Service-Learning Plus Program

Program Director : Andrea Losada



The program welcomes students of any nation who have a high school diploma or equivalent credential. TOEFL equivalent 550. Academic studies are taught in Spanish and/or English. (See individual course descriptions.) Minimum Spanish prerequisite: 2 years of secondary school Spanish or 1 year of college/university Spanish, or the equivalent.

What's Included

Tuition and academic fees; academic transcript; on-site and on-line orientation and pre-departure materials; homestay housing and three meals per day, seven days per week; service placement and supervision; health insurance; academic excursions. Transportation, room and board, service placement and supervision for the Service-Learning PLUS week.

What's typically NOT Included

Passport; visa; vaccine fees; international airfare; books; personal spending money; local personal transportation; local cell phone and independent travel.

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