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Ohio University  >  Global Affairs and International Studies  >  Office of Global Opportunities  >  Programs  >  Ecuador: Coffee, Chocolate and Sugar

Ecuador: Coffee, Chocolate and Sugar

Cutting Cacao off of tree


Ecuador offers a unique opportunity to observe the effects of mono-cropping and the attempts by communities and regional policy makers to support expansion of small-scale diversified agriculture. Also, uniquely, the diverse geography of Ecuador with its coast, the lowlands and the higher inland elevations gives students hands-on experience with the effects of climate, soil and location on agricultural production. The True Value of Food asks students to evaluate the effects of all aspects of production and consumption so Ecuador, with food insecurity, mono-cropping and small-scale niche producers, offers an opportunity to experience a great variety of agriculture settings with not much travel time.


Highlights and excursions 

Quito (Homebase)

Quito, Ecuador’s capital, is located in the heart of the Andes at an altitude of 9,350 feet, just north of the equator, and is known as the city of “eternal spring.” The temperature averages from 60 ºF during the day to 48 ºF at night. Quito is a modern city with a lot of activity and has the best-preserved historical center in Latin America, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. This historical center, one of the region’s most beautiful, is home to many churches and works of colonial art.



The Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador is one of the country’s best universities and has had a long partnership with OU. The Quito campus is located in the center-north zone of the city, close to restaurants, stores and parks. We will begin the program here with an orientation and lecture from OU faculty.



Intag is a remote, mountainous region in the Andes in Imbabura province, located north of Quito. The area is part of two of the world’s most important Biological Hotspots: the Tropical Andes and the Tumbes-Chocó–Magdalena Hotspot. 


Approximately 17,000 people live in Intag in communities that are sparsely scattered among cloud forest and agricultural lands. Most live from small-scale agriculture, and because of the area’s altitudinal range, they are able to grow an impressive number of agricultural products,.


San Antonio Organic Farm

This family-run organic farm grows fruits and vegetables, coffee and sugar cane and has bee hives for the production of honey. With luck, we will be able to see sugar cane being harvested by hand and the process of making panela.



The Associacion Agroartesanal de Caficultores “Rio Intag” (The Agro-Artisanal Association of “Rio Intag” Coffee Growers) was created in 1998 with just 17 families and has grown to around 200 families currently.




PUCESI is PUCE’s campus in Ibarra, the capital of Imbabura province. Their agriculture program includes specialties in agro-engineering, agro-chemistry, livestock management and watershed management, among others. 


Ingenio Azucarero del Norte

Ingenio Azucarero del Norte, located just outside of Ibarra, supplies much of the sugar in the northern part of Ecuador and is a collaboration between the national government and farmers. 


Quilotoa Lake

Considered one of the most beautiful places in Ecuador, the Quilotoa lake was formed hundreds of years ago when a volcano violently erupted, causing the cone to collapse and form a 1.8 mi-wide crater. 



Quevedo, a city about 5-6 hours southwest of Quito, is an important commercial and logistics link between the highlands and the coast. Quevedo’s rich volcanic soils and tropical wet climate has long supported agricultural activities. At a much lower altitude than previous program locations, this is a warmer, tropical climate where different crops can be grown, and the area is a leading exporter of passion fruit, bananas, cacao and coffee.  


INIAP Pichilingue Station

This station is part of the National Autonomous Institute of Agricultural Research and is dedicated to agricultural research and program development, focusing on cacao, banana, plantain, corn and soybean, to name a few.



The Universidad Técnica Estatal de Quevedo (UTEQ), located in the city of Quevedo, Ecuador, is involved in agricultural projects and programs, including those focused on cacao. C


Cotopaxi National Park

Only about 30 miles south of Quito, Cotopaxi is Ecuador’s second-highest peak and one of its most active volcanoes. After Quevedo, we will spend one night at a hostel just outside the park. 


Good to know 

Students should be in good health and able to walk at high altitudes. 

Program dates 

Spring Break March 7-15, 2020

Living arrangements 

There are many different types of alternate accommodations in the three locations. Dorm or student accommodation or inexpensive hotel accommodations may be used depending on the location. 

Rooms will be either shared doubles, triples or dorm-style rooms with shared bathrooms. The dorm-style rooms may involve sharing space with guests not affiliated with the OU program.

Courses and credits 

CAS 4414 T3 The True Value of Food (3)

PBIO 5900 Special Topics in Plant Biology (4)




Undergraduate Student Budget Worksheet, Spring Break 2020

Graduate Student Budget Worksheet, Spring Break 2020

Non-resident surcharge waived for this program. 

Click Here to find more information on financial aid and scholarships.   ( https://www.ohio.edu/global/goglobal/students/funding.cfm) 


$500 Scholarships are available for this program. A 1-2 page essay is required to explain the student has selected the Ecuador Spring Break program.

First priority will be to students who have not traveled outside the United States. First-generation college students will also be prioritized.  An interview will also be required. Students will be notified of the status of application before winter break.

Essay must be turned in to Program Director Theresa Moran (morant@ohio.edu) via email at the time of submission of the program application.


Eligibility and selection process 

2.5 or permission of director. No prereqs open to Ohio University students, Non Ohio University students, alumn/professional with demonstrated interest in sustainable agriculture supported by the application essay and interview with faculty director.


Students who will be on probation at any point during the program for a conduct offense that took place less than a calendar year from the program start date may not study abroad.   Click here to read the entire conduct policy . (https://www.ohio.edu/global/goglobal/JudicialPolicy.cfm) 



Application deadline  (https://www.ohio.edu/global/goglobal/programs/deadlines.cfm) 

October 1, 2019

Health and safety  

Please familiarize yourself with these recommendations and requirements prior to applying to a program: 

Ohio University Office of Global Opportunities suggests you follow the recommendations of the   Centers   for Disease Control  for healthy travel to your destination. 

Refer to the   State Department website  for information related to safety and security at this destination. 

Also refer to  International SOS  for information related to safety and security at this destination. To log in to the International SOS website, please use the OHIO membership IS: 11BCAS000010. 

Add any other important health & safety information. 

Requesting accessibility accommodation 

If you plan to participate in an Ohio University-sponsored study abroad program and wish to request accommodation, you should contact the   Office of Student Accessibility Services   to schedule an appointment to complete an   Global Opportunities Disability Accommodation Request Form  . We recommend you do this as early as possible to allow enough time to determine what accommodations may be made for this program. 

Entry and exit requirements  

U.S. citizens are required to have a valid U.S. passport when traveling outside of the United States. If you plan to study or travel abroad in the next year,   apply for your passport  now.   
Some countries also require a visa to legally enter and reside in the country. Please review the  entry and exit requirements for your destination(s).  US citizens will not need a visa or other special documents to enter the country for the length of this program. (Please note: If you plan to travel before or after the program, you may need a visa). You may need to show sufficient funds to support yourself while in-country.    

Please also note that visa requirements may vary if you plan to stay in the country longer than the program dates or travel to other countries during or after the program. Please familiarize yourself with these recommendations and requirements prior to applying to a program. 


More information on visas can be found  here.  

Information for NON-US citizens can be found   here .   

Additional Information on Country 

To learn more about this destination, please visit the   CIA World Factbook  .  

For more information, contact:  

Theresa Moran 
Faculty Director   

Art Trese 
Faculty Director   

Cherita King 
Senior Program Coordinator   










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