Ohio University

Ecuador: Coffee, Chocolate and Sugar, Sustainable Agriculture

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Program Term

Spring Break

Program Type

OHIO Credit

Academic Focus

Sustainability, Food, and Environment

For more information, contact:  

Theresa Moran  
Program Director    

Art Trese  
Program Director    

Cherita King  
Senior Program Coordinator    



Coffee beans


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 plan to walk at high altitudes. 

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. 

Program Dates 

Spring Break 2022 


Students will take the following course to earn a total of 3 credit hours.

  • CAS 4414 T3 The True Value of Food


The program fee for this program includes: Student accommodations, meals, transportation for all program related activities, excursions and international health insurance.

In addition to the program fee, students should plan for 3 credit hours of tuition*, administrative fee, and out-of-pocket costs. Below is the student budget worksheet for this program, which outlines these costs.  

Undergraduate Student Budget Worksheet 2022 (TBA)

Graduate Student Budget Worksheet 2022 (TBA)


Undergraduate Student Budget Worksheet 2019/2020

Graduate Student Budget Worksheet 2019/2020

Items that are not related to the program (ie. additional entertainment, souvenirs, extra travel, contingency funds) are not included in the cost estimates provided and should be budgeted for separately.  


  • Non-resident surcharge waived for the credit hours associated with this program. 
  • If you are nominated to this program, you will be required to pay a deposit to confirm your participation. The deposit is a down payment on the total costs to be billed by OHIO and is determined by the total cost of the program. 
  • For programs completed over winter-break and spring break, the credit-hours associated with the program are part of the spring semester. Students taking between 12 to 20 Athens campus hours, including those associated with the program, will not incur additional tuition costs for the spring semester. Students taking less than 12 or more than 20 Athens campus credits for the spring term will see their tuition charge adjusted accordingly.  

Funding Opportunities

More information on financial aid and scholarships can be found on our funding pages.

Eligibility and Requirements 

This program is open to all Ohio University students with a minimum GPA of 2.5 who are in good conduct standing. Student with a lower GPA may seek permission of the director. There are no prerequisites for this course. 

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 

This program accepts NON-OHIO students and alum/professionals with a demonstrated interest in sustainable agriculture supported by the application essay and interview with the director.. For more information about this process visit the Non-OHIO student page.   

Participants must have a at least a high school diploma or the equivalent (e.g. GED) by the start date of the program to be considered for eligibility.  Students enrolled in College Credit Plus (CC+) are not eligible for study away programs.

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 or reside in the country. 

U.S. citizens  will not  need a visa or other special document to enter the country for the length of this program. 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 this program. 

For more specific visa related information, please visit OGO’s  Visa Information Page 

Information for  Non-U.S. citizens  can be found  here