LIRA Summer Program

LIRA Summer Program

  • How it works
  • Academic Excursions
  • Program Structure
  • Housing and Costs
  • Application Form
  • Transcripts

How it works

The Leadership, Innovation, and Research in the Americas (LIRA) program combines academic courses in the social and environmental sciences with service learning, internship, and research opportunities or WEVAR (work experience, volunteer abroad or research opportunity). Participants in the program will enroll in a 4- or 8-week program, fully taught in English, and it will incorporate a number of field excursions to Ecuador’s various cultural and environmental ecosystems.

The program would be open to both international and local USFQ students and will allow students to complete 6- to 9-credits over the summer, in addition to gaining valuable personal and professional experience.

The student will be able to choose from our two modules 1. Social Sciences and/or 2. Environmental Sciences with an optional 1 week in our Galapagos Science Center.


Academic Excursions

From the environmental science perspective, the LIRA program will showcase Ecuador’s mega diversity, including visits to the Andes, the tropical rain and cloud forests, and the Galápagos Archipelago, offering students the opportunity to learn about data collection methods, experiment design, and conservation policy and management through immersive field work in world-renowned conservation & biodiversity sites. From the social science perspective, not coincidentally, the same locations and field work also represents an opportunity for students to explore questions in social & environmental justice, to learn about the narratives and identities of Ecuador’s indigenous communities, and to ultimately connect Ecuador’s local history & responses to these issues with global social & environmental problems and initiatives.


Program Structure

Module 1
Social Sciences
- Mindo/Cloud Forrest
- Salasaka Community
- Peguche Community
- Service Learning
- Research
- Internships
(3-credits for either 4 or 8 weeks)
(1-week) Galápagos Capstone
USFQ-UNC Chapel Hill Galápagos Science Center (GSC)
Module 2
Environmental Sciences
- Tiputini Biodiversity Station (TBS)/Rain Forrest
- Paramo region/Andes
(1-week) Galápagos Capstone
USFQ-UNC Chapel Hill Galápagos Science Center (GSC)

* Tentative Program Structure: themes, content, field visits, and learning outcomes may vary depending on the assigned instructor


Housing and Costs


USFQ matches interested international students with carefully screened host families in Quito. Host families are required to provide students with their own bedroom (bathroom may be shared), Wifi internet access, and two meals per day (breakfast and dinner). Host families generally live within a 15-45 minute commute by public transportation from the USFQ campus in Cumbayá.


Please contact for a list of current fees.


Application Form

Apply to the Cumbaya Program, in Academic Information please choose LIRA program.


Application Deadline:
May 1st

Program requirements:
Full time undergraduate student
Please contact with any questions about the program or application process.



All international students studying at USFQ will have a transcript sent to their home university upon conclusion of their term at USFQ (at no additional charge). However, if students would like more than one copy or need to order additional copies at a later date, there is a fee of $15 for each transcript and $35 for international shipping. The information for the payment is below. At the time of payment please email to to inform us that you are sending the check and how many transcripts you are paying for. We also need the physical mailing address(es) to where the transcript should be sent (no P.O. boxes), as well as a contact phone number.

Beneficiary Name: USFQ OPI
Beneficiary Account Number: 1645005041
Street Address of Beneficiary: Diego de Robles S/N y Pampite, Campus USFQ
City, State, Country: Quito ECUADOR
Beneficiary Bank Name/Beneficiary: BANCO BOLIVARIANO
Bank ABA Number: N/A
Beneficiary Bank Address: Av. Naciones Unidas E699 y Shyris
City, State, Country: ECUADOR

Along with the check to the bank, please enclose a short letter with the account data and mention the name of the person who it is for. If the bank does not receive something indicating the purpose of the deposit, it will be very difficult for us to identify the deposit and properly credit your account with the USFQ Treasury Office. Once payment is received we will issue the transcript and mail it to the address indicated in the email request.