Looking to escape into study abroad, but not sure where to begin?

We're here to help. 



Looking to escape into study abroad, but not sure where to begin?

We're here to help. 

Looking to study abroad, but not sure where to begin?

We're here to help.

You got this.

Over a quarter million U.S. American students study abroad every year.

All of those students overcome nerves and challenges. You can too.

OVER 1,000

university students

have studied abroad with us.

You've got help.

Finding the right program for you:

We're here to answer your questions and help with all the logistics.

Need us to talk to your parents or advisors? We can do that too.

Before your trip:

We handle all the logistics for your trip. Our orientation gets you ready and excited on your end.

We're always here to answer questions.

During your trip:

We give you as much freedom as you want, but we're at-the-ready 24/7 for help or a chat. 

We ensure you see the unmissable spots and the local favorites too.

After your trip:

We prepare you for re-entry back at home and show you how to use your new skills and experience. 

We're forever your friends too.


Here are some questions we frequently hear from other students.

+ Q. I've never been abroad before, and I'm nervous. What will Latin America be like?

Latin America boasts environments, people, and local cuisine and culture that just can’t be found in the United States or Europe. People here embrace their connection with the land, their past, and their country. As one of the most biologically and socially diverse regions in the world, just a few hours away, you can find people speaking different languages, eating different foods, and living in completely different conditions. Yet across Latin America, you will find cities and towns welcoming of tourists, travelers, and lifelong learners eager to learn a little about where you’re from, and teach you the ins and outs of their home as well. The pace of life is slower, with fewer to-do lists and a stronger focus on family. Families often live together until children get married, and parents move back in with their children in old age. Latin America is home to adventure, incredible biodiversity, and people with open hearts and a pride in their heritage and traditions.

+ Q. I have already taken out many student loans. Can I afford to study abroad?

The great perk about studying abroad is that you can combine university study with an immersive experience living and learning in another country. And we want this opportunity to be accessible to as many students as possible! While each university varies in their financial aid policies, we work with your study abroad offices to determine how to transfer your financial aid for semester students, and offer scholarship and fundraising opportunities for short-term trips.

Some students choose to take a semester from their degree to intern or volunteer abroad, saving them money in the long-run and allowing them to spend a precious amount of their studies in South America. South America, compared to United States, is an inexpensive place to live. The average El Nomad student spends roughly $300.00USD a month on personal expenses.

El Nomad works directly with students to put together programs that meet their budgets. We understand it’s a hefty expense and we do our best to make sure students are getting the best bang for their buck. In addition, there’s a range of external scholarships available to students, some of the most popular are:

We also offer a range of discounts through our internal scholarship opportunities. If you’re a particularly gifted writer, photographer, videographer or marketing guru, you can apply and go in the running to win a cash voucher that can be put towards most, but not all, of our programs.

+ Q. I don't know much Spanish. Can I still study abroad in Ecuador?

El Nomad specializes in facilitating first-time abroad experiences for students with little to no Spanish. We have in-country bilingual staff, a thorough cultural and safety orientation, as well as regular check-in's throughout the week. Students have plenty of English speaking support and we understand life immersed in Spanish can be daunting for students. We make sure we're here to help through the language and culture barriers you will inevitably face.

Ecuador is known as the country with the easiest accent to understand for Spanish-language learners! Ecuadorians generally speak slower and pronounce words fully and clearly, especially when addressing foreigners. Alongside the slower accent and El Nomad’s intensive Spanish courses, you’ll be well-equipped to tackle the city. Cuencanos are used to travelers, who may have little to no Spanish skills, so they’ll be impressed when you come around to buy a sweet snack on the street or some cuy in a local restaurant! There are definitely local phrases and sayings, but just a few days with a host family and you’ll be well accustomed to Cuenca’s quirks.

+ Q. Do I need a visa to visit Ecuador?

For programs less than 3 months, students will come in on a tourist visa that is given upon arrival. For over 3 months, El Nomad will help students apply for a visa extension in-country and students don't have to worry pre-arrival. Students directly enrolling in La Universidad de Cuenca for a semester-long exchange program (please clarify with your advisor if you're unsure) have the choice to apply for a student visa pre-arrival or while they are here. This process varies state to state in the U.S. but your El Nomad advisor will help you through the process.

+ Q. Will I have a phone in Ecuador? And what's the Wi-Fi situation?

El Nomad provides all students with an Ecuadorian cell phone and prepaid credit to start you out. Refilling the cell phone is simple and inexpensive, and you can call any other Ecaudorian numbers, including El Nomad staff, your host family, and friends.

Many of our host families have wi-fi connection, and the El Nomad Center is also open and available for your use everyday from 9am-6pm to access wifi, television, guidebooks, sports equipment, and more! Cuenca is also filled with international cafes with high speed internet.

+ Q. What will a typical day look like with El Nomad?

Because of our wide variety of programs, El Nomad students’ experiences vary on a day-to-day basis depending on your program’s focus. You days will be filled with opportunities to apply your learning outside the classroom, exploring Cuenca’s public health system, volunteering at an after-school program, or trying out your new Spanish skills in the local markets before finishing off the day with a salsa class or a walk along the Rio Tomebamba. Each day will also begin and end with meals and bonding time with your local host families, who provide you with an immersive experience into the daily life of Cuencanos. Weekends are often filled with excursions to local archaeological sites, museum tours, and opportunities to check out the coast or the Amazon Rainforest, just hours away in a bus!

+ Q. What’s the weather like?

Cuenca is in the Andean Highlands, and at 8500 ft above sea level, has a springlike climate year-round. Cuenca often experiences “four seasons in one day,” meaning a little rain in the morning, heat and bright sunshine during the day, and brisk evenings.

+ Q. Can I receive academic credit for my experience?

Yes! El Nomad students in the past have received academic credit through the Universidad de Cuenca for both academic and internship programs. We will connect with your university to work with the Registrar and Study Abroad Offices to ensure a smooth transfer process for your academic credits.

+ Q. What is the food like in Ecuador?

Ecuador, with its rich biodiversity, produces a huge variety of food, especially fruits, vegetables, and meats. So when you’re eating here, you know it’s very local and often organically sourced. Ecuadorians generally have bread and coffee at breakfast, a large meal at lunch consisting of starter soup and an entree of rice, vegetables, and meat, and a smaller dinner meal with similar foods. Local specialties include guinea pig (cuy), humitas (steamed corn cakes wrapped in banana leaves), tamales, and potatoes.

+ Q. What sort of support systems does El Nomad have in place?

El Nomad’s staff are local experts, study abroad pros, and lifelong travelers. After having been through it all, they are exceptional at supporting students on our programs and are available 24/7 throughout your time in Ecuador. El Nomad provides students with insurance plans and are connected to the best bilingual medical professionals if any emergencies do arise. Our homestay families and El Nomad staff are trained to respond to student emergencies, and students are taken through risk management procedures during in-country orientation. El Nomad staff regularly check-in with students and strive to create a tight-knit and supportive community abroad, ensuring the emotional and physical health of all of our students.

Is there a question we didn't answer? Or one that you're afraid to ask?

We post answers to questions on our blog and frequently update our FAQs page.