Go deep into the Amazon, visit the Galápagos Islands, explore tropical ecosystems, and conduct biological fieldwork in one of the world’s most biodiverse countries.
Sage Fox, a junior at Oregon State University studying Fisheries and Wildlife joined SIT Study Abroad's Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation program this past fall.
A talented photographer, Sage recently shared a sneak peek into his life-changing semester with SIT Study Abroad.
"I have always been enthralled with nature, and I wanted to go to Ecuador ever since learning about its incredible biodiversity years ago. I was amazed to learn that the same country that harbors the Galápagos and the Amazon also has some of the highest volcanoes in the world."
Among the highlights of SIT's Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation program are the guided wildlife excursions to the Amazon Tropical Rain Forest, the Cloud Forest, the high altitude páramo, and the Galápagos Islands. These experiences allow SIT students to live like biologists, as they snorkel in the Galápagos and go on birdwatching walks in the Amazon rainforest.
"It is impossible to choose the most memorable moment of the trip — there were so many, and all so different. One highlight was a night spent surveying frogs in the Tiputini Research Station. My friend Gemma and I were out with a guide on the trails looking for frogs, and we found seven different species out of eight individuals."
During the program, students live and study in beautiful Quito, surrounded by mountains called locally “la cara de Dios”—the face of God. While living with a host family, students attend classes, conduct fieldwork, and learn from local professionals in the fields of botany, forestry, entomology, ornithology, ecology, and natural history.
"My homestay experience was exceptional. My host family was very welcoming and they taught me a lot about Ecuadorian culture and cuisine while helping me improve my Spanish skills. My host dad took me for long bike rides to other towns and I really enjoyed hiking Pichincha with my host brother."
"This experience broadened my idea of possible career paths. My time in Ecuador made it even more clear to me that I want to pursue conservation, and also steered me toward conservation policymaking over conservation research. I feel even more urgency in pursuing a career in conservation now, since I realized there is no place on Earth without serious threats to biodiversity and the natural landscape."
"I had an incredible and truly life-changing experience in Ecuador, and I made many great friends. Xavier, Javier, and Diana were the most amazing professors and mentors. I have never seen people more committed to their students and their passion."
Photos provided by SIT Study Abroad's Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation alumnus Sage Fox.