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IFMSA Ecuador
Ecuador flag.gif Ifmsa ecuador.jpg
Location Ecuador location.png
Participating cities (LC's)

Universidad San Francisco de Quito (IFMSA-USFQ); Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (IFMSA-PUCE); Universidad Internacional del Ecuador (SOCIES-UIDE); Universidad de las Américas (IFMSA-UDLA); Universidad Central del Ecuador (IFMSA-UCE); Universidad Católica Santiago de Guayaquil (IFMSA-UCSG); Universidad de Cuenca (IFMSA-UCUENCA); ESPOCH (IFMSA-ESPOCH);

Languages Spanish, Kichwa
Currency (how much is a Bigmac?) U.S. Dollars.

Bigmac: A Big Mac is around USD 2,50 just for the sandwich or $5,50 for the whole meal.

Time zone GMT -5
Number of Doctors per 1000 people 14.4 per 10,000
Member of IFMSA since: March, 2005
Number of incoming students per year Approx. 45
Who is our NEO Outgoings: David Moncayo; Incomings: Pedro Eguez
Our official website / Forum / scope ecuador

Facebook: Ifmsa-Ecuador

Come for exchange!

Welcome Note

Hola!!! Greetings from the “Middle of the World”! We hope you can find all the information you need in this website, and that you’ll have an amazing experience with your exchange. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions left. Bienvenidos al Ecuador!


Ecuador is a country in northwestern South America, bounded by Colombia on the North, by Peru on the East and South, and by the Pacific Ocean on the West. The country also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific. Named after the Spanish word for equator, Ecuador straddles the equator and has an area of 256,370 square kilometers (98,985 mi2). It's capital city is Quito. Ecuador has three main geographic regions, plus an insular region in the Pacific Ocean. 1. The Costa comprises the low-lying littoral lying in the western part of the country. Its coastlines are on the Pacific. 2. The Sierra region is the mountainous, high-altitude vertical belt running along the centre of the country. This region's topography is as a result of the Andes mountain range running along it. 3. The Oriente (literally "East") comprises the Amazon rainforest areas in the eastern part of the country, accounting for just under half of the country's total surface area, though populated by under 5% of the population. 4. Finally, the Región Insular is the region comprising the Galápagos Islands, some 1,000 kilometers (620 mi) west of the mainland in the Pacific Ocean.


The hospitals, our health care system

Ecuador has basically three types of hospitals: public, private and those run by the Social Security. Most public hospitals are very limited in resources (technological, drugs, equipment) but serve very large numbers of patients and allow students a good opportunity to practice. Private hospitals are the opposite in almost every aspect. Currently there are 6 Local Committees in Ecuador which offer exchanges in these types of hospitals, but especially at the public ones.


Our medical education

Medical education in Ecuador comprises both public and private universities. It takes six years of studies in order to get a degree, that is divided in preclinicals, clinicals, and the Intern year. Some universities also require us to work on a thesis. After that, it is obligatory to do one year of rural service if you want to stay working here in the country. During our “rural” year we are sent to communities located far away from the main cities, and serve people who have limited access to healthcare centers.


Cultural differences

Ecuador's population (about 15 million) is ethnically diverse. The largest ethnic group is comprised of Mestizos, the mixed descendants of Spanish colonists and indigenous Amerindians, who constitute just over 65% of the population. Amerindians are second in numbers and account for approximately 25% of the current population. Whites are mainly criollos, primarily of Spanish descent, and account for 7%. The small Afro-Ecuadorian minority — including Mulattos and zambos — constitutes the remainder. Approximately 94% of Ecuadorians are Roman Catholic. Much of the population are practicing and attend Mass regularly. In the rural parts of Ecuador, indigenous beliefs and Christianity have been syncretized. Ecuador's mainstream culture is defined by Ecuador's mestizo majority and, like their ancestry, is a mixture of European and Amerindian influences infused with African elements inherited from slave ancestors. Ecuador's indigenous communities are largely integrated into that mainstream culture to varying degrees, but some may also practice their own autochthonous cultures, particularly the more remote indigenous communities of the Amazon basin.


Accommodation & Boarding

Virtually all of our incoming students are placed with host families, most of which belong to medical students. Boarding twice is offered at the same place. Bilateral exchanges are not charged for these services by IFMSA-Ecuador. Incomings on an unilateral basis need to pay a US$250 fee for lodging and boarding.

Social program

The social program is available ONLY IN QUITO. There are 2 dates for the social program. These are in july and august (months in which we receive more students). There is a trip to IMBABURA where is a place filled up with lakes and beautiful landscape. We also go to OTAVALO where you can buy handcraft made by the natives. We prepare this trip with all the students that are here doing the exchange in these dates. The cost of the trip is payed by the student (Prepare around 50 dollars for this).


Local & National transportation

Most major cities in Ecuador have a decent public transportation system. It allows you to get to any place in the city you want to, but you will not know about bus schedules. Bus stops are not well-set and buses stop anywhere you ask them to. The cost is US$ 0,25, maximum US$ 0,50. Taxis are another way of getting around. They are painted yellow, but lately another type called “executive taxis” has appeared. They do not have a special color and look like any other car, but we suggest avoiding them. By law all taxis must have working meters. Make sure that the meter is running when you hire one. If it is not, you should bargain the fare with the taxi driver in advance. The lowest fare is US $1, and it costs around 0,50-0,75 dollars per kilometer. As for national transportation, there are several bus lines that offer their service between cities. Most of them charge about US$1,50 per hour of driving. Both Quito and Guayaquil have international airports, so you can arrive there from your home countries. Loja has an airport intended for national flights only, so you can get there from either Guayaquil or Quito.



Ecuador is one the planet’s top 17 most biologically diverse nations. The nation’s drastic geographic and climatic variations have led to evolution of thousands of species of flora and fauna, most of which thrive in habitats protected by the State and by private organizations. Despite its tiny size, Ecuador is home to rain forests, jungles, mountains, islands, deserts, valleys, and snowcapped peaks. The country is home to ten percent of the world’s plant species, the majority of which grow in the northeastern Amazon, where an estimated 10,000 species thrive. Ecuador is also home to 8 percent of the world’s animal species and 18 percent of the planet’s birds. Moreover, there are more than a million species of insects and 4,500 species of butterflies that live in Ecuador. Weather varies significantly depending on the region you visit. Generally you can expect it to be warm and humid in the Coast (in cities such as Guayaquil) or cool and “spring-like” in the Sierra (Quito or Loja).


When should I come?

We really recommend you to come to Ecuador in ,July & August, as these are the months when most of the exchange students come. It turns out to be a great and fun social program where we can travel to further places for the weekend, and of course it is more fun when there is a bigger group.

Although, all year long is possible for you to come, except for december because most doctors are having vacations.

What's going on in Ecuador?

If you want to know more about the political, economic, public health situation, you can check the links of different newspapers. El Comercio: El Universo:

The hostels

Students are always placed with a host family, but if you want to come in advanced, or stay longer than the clerkship time, you must stay somewhere else. At this link you can find hotels, hostels to stay at.

The visas

Most of the countries do not require a visa as long as you stay in Ecuador for less than 90 days. Some others require a visa to come. It is your responsibility to arrive with a all the required documents needed. Additional information can be found at:

Social life

Most Ecuadorians place great emphasis on the family. Important occasions in the life cycle include baptism, the quinceañera (the 15th birthday of girls), marriage, and funerals. During the year, numerous religious and secular festivals provide opportunities for parades, special food, and music and dance. Some of the more important ones are not national but, rather, are associated with local urban or regional traditions, such as the holidays of Quito (December 1–6; Founder’s Day [December 6 1534] celebrated throughout the week with festivals, parades, and sporting events), Guayaquil (October 9; Guayaquil state’s Independence Day [from Spain, 1820]), and Cuenca (November 3; Cuenca state’s Independence Day [from Spain, 1820]), as well as the Yamor festival (a rite in early September at the end of the harvest honouring corn, a symbol of generosity and fertility) in Otavalo. Often holidays are associated with particular cities, such as the Day of the Dead (November 2) in Ambato or Carnival (celebrated before Lent) in Guaranda, and they attract people from various parts of the country. Many holidays are associated with particular foods or drinks, and music, live or recorded, is a part of most celebrations. Nightlife remains limited in the smaller towns, where the young middle class may be cruising in cars or motorcycles and hanging out at local restaurants or plazas. A nightlife has developed in Quito, Guayaquil and some of the major cities since the 1980s, however, focusing on discos, restaurants, and bars. Musical tastes range from the traditional pasillos and cumbia to 1970s disco hits and hip-hop music; all styles may be played in a single evening. Jazz, poetry readings, folk music, and arena rock concerts are also entertainment options.


Exchange conditions

Please check our exchange conditions website at:

You must know that we only accept clinical clerkships, you have to bring white coat, scrubs and a stethoscope. You need to speak Spanish, you have to fulfill minimum 75% of the clerkship. You should have international health and accident insurance. The clerkships do not have to be full calendar months (e.g July 15th-August 15th).

Feel free to ask if you have any doubts!


Any suggestion or question, email us to

We will be thrilled to help you!

External Links

Cities offered for exchange

Quito: Pontificia Universidad Catolica

Quito: Universidad de las Ameicas

Quito: Universidad Internacional

Quito: Universidad San Francisco

Quito: Universidad Central del Ecuador

Guayaquil: Universidad Catolica Santiago de Guayaquil

Cuenca:Universidad de Cuenca