Ecuador - Quito

Population facets: 

Partner Organization:  Engineers in Action (EIA).

Location: EIA headquarters are located in Quito.  ISSLP students will receive orientation at the beginning of the program in Quito and will visit the city on some weekends for cultural activities. The remaining time students will live and work in a rural community. The assigned location for the project in the rural community will vary from year to year. 

Number of Students:  4  students

Dates:  Flexible. This site is a 10 week placement.

In person opportunities summer 2022: Yes

Virtual opportunities summer 2022: To be determined

Additional Information:

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, if we are unable to deploy students in person, students will not be obligated to complete the ISSLP and may withdraw without penalty. For students wishing to continue with the ISSLP in virtual mode, ISSLP staff will work with them to be placed with a virtual international service option.

Participation Requirements:

  • Language & Proficiency Requirement:  Intermediate Spanish preferred, but beginners are welcome to  apply and are expected to take Spanish classes and/or attend tutoring language sessions during the spring semester 2022.
  • Gender Requirement:  None
  • Required Experience:  None
  • Major Requirement: Open to Civil or Environmental Engineering majors.  Other engineering majors are welcome to apply if there is an interest on environmental and/or water related issues.
  • Student Minimum Age:  None
  • Special Requirements:  Knowledge of basic hydraulics and water system design principals, being familiar with AutoCAD, topographic surveying and knowledge of water quality testing principals are preferred, but not required. 
  • Other:  Ability to walk long distances and work at high altitudes; willingness to learn about rural and indigenous Ecuadorian communities.

Special Training Required Prior to Summer Deployment:  (The following sessions and workshops will be organized and provided by the ISSLP during the spring semester.)

  • First Aid & CPR
  • Self Defense

Site Description:  

Engineers in Action (EIA) is a US-based nonprofit organization with offices in Quito, Ecuador and La Paz, Bolivia. EIA works with partner communities in Ecuador and Bolivia to develop programs aimed at improving community health and well-being through implementation of infrastructure improvement projects. EIA’s Service Learning Program provides an opportunity for qualified students with an interest in international or cultural studies to live, learn, and work in a rural, Latin American community.

The program objectives are intended to benefit the community, the students, and EIA. Community benefits include cultural and technical interactions with students that can enhance the quality and sustainability of development programs being implemented in the community. Student benefits include developing a better understanding of rural, Latin American cultures; the challenges of developing practical engineering solutions for water sanitation and infrastructure projects in remote and impoverished regions; and the factors that impact the sustainability of development programs. EIA benefits include gathering of important data that can enhance the effectiveness and sustainability of ongoing programs and that will help to enhance the community’s health and wellbeing.

EIA headquarters are located in Quito. ISSLP students will receive orientation at the beginning of the program in Quito and will visit the city on some weekends for cultural activities. The remaining time students will live and work in a rural community. The assigned location for the project in the rural community will vary from year to year. 

Scope of Work & Responsibilities:

Notice: Scope of work may have some changes based on the needs of the partner organizations at the time of student arrival/engagement.

This site will be in person for summer 2022. Virtual opportunities are still being determined.

This section reflects the most recent scope of work for students who deployed in the last few years to Ecuador. This scope of work may change based on the needs of the organization at the time of student arrival and/or due to COVID-19 restrictions.

During the summer of 2021, ISSLP students worked virtually with the EIA team in Quito on the design of the water distribution system for one community located in the Coastal region of the country. The project started off by processing the data the team collected in the field. Then students transitioned to the design of the distribution system, which included designing the path for the pipe system, hydraulic calculations, drawings in AutoCad of the different tanks, and an analysis of the flows needed to sustain the community now and 25 yrs into the future. While ISSLP students were working on the design of the system, they also attended virtual cultural workshops organized by EIA.

In 2019 students worked in a project at the San Ramon Community, which had a sanitary system that was  no longer effectively working. The primary objective of the project was to analyze the existing system and to design improvements that accommodate existing and future flows and which can be maintained effectively by the community.  The main activities of the project included performing community family census, gathering mapping data across the community, completing topographic surveys of the project area (s), water testing, analyzing data, and preliminary design for the proposed project. 

For the summer 2022, students are expected to implement and build the water system designed by the ISSLP students during the summer of 2021.

Housing & Lodging Information:

Students will stay in a hostel in Quito during orientation and for cultural activities that take place in the city. In the San Ramon community, students will live with homestay families. Room and board and transportation within Ecuador are coordinated by EIA.

For More Information:

Engineers in Action website

Former ISSLP Participants:

Sean Seidl '22 (ISSLP 2020)* (Virtual 2020 Ecuador VSEC)
Andrea Prado Iriarte '22 (ISSLP 2020)* (Virtual 2021)
Nathaniel James Burke '23 (ISSLP 2020)* (Virtual 2021)
Arianna Bordogna-Jurkowitz '23 (ISSLP 2021)* (Virtual 2021)
Keegan Siebenaler '23 (ISSLP 2021)* (Virtual 2021)
*Did not deploy due to COVID-19 pandemic

Notice: Certain sites may be canceled and other sites added at any point during the selection and orientation process.


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Upcoming Events

October 2021

Application Close | ISSLP 2022
Monday, October 25, 2021 - 12:00am to 11:45pm
Information Session | SSLP 2022
Tuesday, October 26, 2021 - 7:00pm
Postgraduate Service Lunch | Alliance for Catholic Education
Friday, October 29, 2021 - 11:30am to 1:30pm

November 2021

Information Session | SSLP 2022
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 7:00pm
Getting Something to Eat in Jackson
Tuesday, November 2, 2021 - 7:00pm
Mini Postgraduate Service Fair
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Labor Café First Friday
Friday, November 5, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm
Taste of PATH
Tuesday, November 9, 2021 - 7:30pm
Information Session | Poverty Studies Interdisciplinary Minor (PSIM)
Thursday, November 11, 2021 - 8:00pm to 8:30pm
Dignity and Justice Workshop
Friday, November 12, 2021 - 10:00am to 1:00pm
Catholic Social Tradition (CST) Minor Brunch
Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 11:30am
Higgins Film CLASSics | Blue Collar (1978)
Sunday, November 14, 2021 - 3:00pm
Virtues & Vocations Presents Howard Gardner: What is Good Work?
Monday, November 29, 2021 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

December 2021

Signs of the Times Brown Bag Lunch Series | Housing
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 12:00pm
Labor Café First Friday
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 5:00pm to 6:00pm