FAQ

Information can be found throughout the site, but here are the questions that have come up the most frequently.  If you have a question that is not found here or on any other page, please don't hesitate to email me: Heidi Montes hmontes@clemson.edu
What are some important details about getting to and living in Quito?
The most important item will be your passport.  Apply for that right away if you don't have one, and make sure that it doesn't expire until at least three months after your return if you already do have one.  While you can arrive in Quito on any airline, We try to go all together so we can meet and travel together and we can be picked up by a bus when we get to Quito.  The alternative is to have people waiting around the airport for others to arrive or to have school personnel driving back and forth to the airport! Please talk to Prof. Heidi Montes so that you can coordinate travel times and arrive at the airport close to same time as your fellow study abroad adventurers. 
Quito uses US dollars, so you will not have to worry about converting money.  Another positive note is that products and food are much less expensive in Ecuador than in the States.  So if you choose to eat out or buy souvenirs, you can calculate needing less money than what you would spend in our country.

Appliances and voltage:
The electricity is 110-220V/60Hz and accommodates US and European plugs.

The dates of the program are May 12th to June 11th.  Does that mean we have class on those days?
No: arrive before or on the 12th of May (if you come before, you must arrange housing until the 12th) and leave on or after the 11th of June.
The first day of class will be May 13th.  We will have an informal class session in which we visit the school, meet the teachers, and talk about expectations.  We will also take a stroll through Quito and get familiar with public transportation and local areas.  This way you can get acclimated to being in Quito on your first day, but you won't be required to use a lot of brain power in case you're a bit sleepy from the recent arrival.  
Similarly, we'll have our final presentations and the goodbye dinner on June 10th.  

How should I dress for Quito?  How much clothing should I pack?
Quito has a pleasant, temperate climate that doesn't vary to hot/cold extremes.  You should expect no colder than 50 degrees (even at night) and no hotter than 80 degrees.  We will be visiting areas that experience rainfall (obviously the rainforest, for example), so you'll want to bring rain resistant gear (jacket and hiking boots, perhaps).  Also, keep in mind that many of the activities involve site visits during which we will walk around and sometimes hike.  You'll want appropriate comfortable clothing for those occasions.  One student told me the most important combination of items that she brought was good walking/hiking shoes and socks. You will need warmer clothes for trips to higher elevations.
We will have one nice dinner for which you'll want to dress up a bit.  This doesn't have to be extravagant, but it will be more formal than our day-to-day activities.
Remember that weekly laundry service is included in the cost, so you could feasibly minimize and bring one week's worth of clothing that you wear four times.  If you've ever done international travel, you'll be able to attest that LESS = BETTER.  (Plus, who doesn't want more room to bring Ecuadorian goodies back home?!)

Should I bring my laptop?
Former students say: "Definitely."  You'll have Internet access in various locations (at the school, in most of the families' homes, in cafes, restaurants, etc.), and you'll want your laptop to complete assignments.  It'll also be great for Skyping and keeping in touch with your family back home.

How will I make phone calls?
Former students bought pay-as-you-go cell phones while abroad.  They used these to keep in touch with each other, get in contact with the Program Director, etc.  These phones are not for international use.  To contact home you can use call centers. it's like a room full of phone booths where you can make a call home.  If you choose to bring your own cell phone, remember let your provider know where you will be.

Do I need any special vaccinations for the places we'll be visiting?
Nope!  If you are up-to-date in the States, you're good to go in Ecuador.  However, if you plan on staying after the trip and traveling to other South American countries (particularly areas close to the Amazon Rain Forest), please remember to check their policies before entering the country.

How do I set up my payments?
The $250 fee reserves your space on the trip, and the rest of the program fee is due in May.  You can pay the remaining $3950 or 4500 (estimate: exact total calculated immediately following the application deadline.  It could vary slightly based on number of students: More students = less $) in increments on SISweb up until the payment deadline.  This study abroad fee appears on your SISweb bill and is invoiced through the Study Abroad Office.  You will receive invoices both at your University mailing address and to your CU email address, and you will pay the fee on SISweb as you do your normal tuition payments.  You can also visit G12 Sikes to pay in person.

Is there Financial Aid for study abroad?
You can apply for loans as you would for any normal coursework.  There is also limited financial aid available from the Study Abroad Office.  At the below site, you will see information for Clemson scholarships/grants (application deadline: March 31) and some suggestions for outside scholarships/grants.  It doesn't hurt to apply, so seek as much assistance as you have time to apply for!
http://www.clemson.edu/academics/programs/study-abroad/finances/

What can I do to prepare beforehand?
Read news/books/poetry/whatever! in Spanish, watch Spanish-language films, attend the Spanish Table in Java City (Cooper Library), go to the Hispanoamericano Film Festival on campus throughout the year... there are so many options!  Your study abroad coordinator will also provide the group with optional extracurricular activities (rock wall climbing in Fike, movie/dinner nights, hiking, etc.).  These activities will give you a chance to meet your study abroad companions and to chat en español with native speakers and Spanish-language learners.

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