Cumbaya Program - OPI

How it works

The Office of International Programs (OPI) accepts international students:

  • On exchange from partner universities. Interested students from USFQ partner universities should consult their home institution Study Abroad Office before applying.
  • Independent applicants from any institution of higher education around the world can apply directly to USFQ to study with us for a semester, year, or summer.
  • Through study abroad provider organizations or university consortiums with which USFQ has a relationship (i.e. API, BCA, CCIS, CIS, IES, IPSL, IE3 Global).

Course Options

Students can choose their courses from across USFQ's ten colleges. USFQ offers hundreds of courses each semester, including a growing number taught in English. Courses offered can be searched on our online Schedule of Classes.

In 2014 USFQ won the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Grant so science and engineering majors from the U.S. had an option to participate in a student research experience with USFQ faculty. We called this program L0ERI. We don´t have a grant anymore but we have kept the program open for US students no matter what major they are. Please see the L0ERI webpage for more information.

Students with advanced Spanish can also participate in service-learning through the course “Aprendizaje – Servicio.” All international students are encouraged to take the “Service Learning” section taught in English (PAS 102E), if desired.

All international students are subject to the USFQ Honor Code.

Please contact the Office of International Programs with any questions.

Please note the classes that are not available to all international students.

Credits and Grades

USFQ's credit system is the same as the North American/United States system: 15 class contact hours is equal to 1 credit. Typically each USFQ course is worth 4 credits and meets for three hours a week in a 15 week semester. Please note this 4 credit system is only for internal purposes (Ecuadorian students only) to comply with a new disposition of the National University Council, therefore, international students will receive a transcript with 3-credit courses, except for sports and lab classes that are worth “0” credits.

International students must take at least 16 credits "presencial" (courses where you are "present," that meet on a regular basis in a classroom) and usually take no more than 24 (four to six classes in total); however, students may request exceptions in very special circumstances. During the Summer Session students can take from 4-12 credits (one to three classes).

USFQ's grading scale is based on the standard U.S. scale: A, B, C, D, F (no pluses or minuses). There is not an option to take a course on a “Pass/Fail” basis unless that is the grade structure for a particular course.

Extracurricular Activities

Campus Activities
USFQ offers a number of student clubs in a variety of interest areas including theatre, tango, chess, ecology, and cycling, to name a few. If students cannot find what interests them, they can always start a new club!

Each semester the OPI offers international students the opportunity to participate in optional excursions to many parts of Ecuador for a nominal fee. These trips can be for the day, weekend, or even a week. Past trips have included Tiputini, Mindo, Peru, and the Galápagos Islands. Options vary each semester. The summer term includes three excursions: to the coast, to the highlands, and to Tiputini.

Accepted students will receive information on upcoming excursions in the online portal.

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.

Fees paid depend on how students come to study at USFQ and their home institution’s relationship with USFQ (see types of students under “General Information”). Please contact for a list of current fees.

Language Requirements

Spanish Requirement
The OPI strongly recommends that students coming to USFQ on an exchange program have at least two years (4 semesters, or 6 trimesters) of college-level Spanish prior to arrival. However, the decision of eligibility in terms of Spanish language skills is left up to the students’ home university. USFQ’s partner universities may, or may not, have a policy different than the recommendation made by the USFQ OPI. Students should consult their home institution’s Study Abroad Office for more information.

Use of English at USFQ
USFQ requires that its degree-seeking students have a good command of English and the vast majority have studied English at the K-12 level. Many of USFQ's professors were educated abroad in the U.S. or other English-speaking countries, and have a strong command of English. However, Spanish is required to study at USFQ. USFQ students are Ecuadorian and will, of course, be more comfortable communicating in their native language. Still, Spanish requirements do vary from class to class. While USFQ does offer about 10% of its classes across the disciplines taught in English (courses taught in English will have an "E" at the end of the course code as well as have the course title written in English), some courses require more advanced levels of Spanish than others. Readings are often in English, especially in advanced courses, but class discussions are normally in Spanish. For the international student, the higher his or her level of Spanish, the more course options they will have available to them.

Spanish Exam
In order to evaluate our EPE (Spanish as a Foreign Language) students, the DLE (Department of Foreign Languages) has prepared an online exam to test a variety of language skills including: listening comprehension, reading comprehension, grammatical and lexical skills. According to the total number of correct answers, the student will receive a placement exam score, which will be used to determine which courses the student is prepared to enroll in. This same exam will be used for placement in EAI (International Advanced Spanish) courses.

Spanish placement exam scoring:

  • Basic Spanish: 0 to 45 points
  • Intermediate Spanish: 46 to 70 points
  • Advanced Spanish: 71 to 90 points
  • Spanish fluency /close to native: 91 to 100 points

International students who wish to register for regularly offered USFQ subjects taught in Spanish must acquire an advanced Spanish score (71 and above) on the placement exam. They should, as well, be prepared to dedicate extra time to these classes in order to do their best, especially in subjects that include technical or specialized language.

To take the practice exam go to:
Username: spanish
Password: spanish2012

Then click on “Simulación examen de español.” You will receive your score immediately after completing the exam.


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.

Application Form

Pease read our program requirements below and click here


Application Deadlines
Fall Semester (August to December): June 1
Spring Semester (January to May): October 25
Summer Term (May to July): May 1

Eligibility Requirements
Students must have:

  • Minimum sophomore standing
  • Minimum 2.5 GPA (or minimum required by students’ home institution)
  • Recommended minimum of four semesters of college-level Spanish

Please contact if you have questions or concerns regarding the online application.

Contact Us

If you would like more information regarding USFQ international programs, please contact:

Oficina de Programas Internacionales (OPI)
Universidad San Francisco de Quito
Campus Cumbayá
Diego de Robles y Vía Interoceánica
P.O. Box 17-12-841
Quito, Ecuador
Tel: +593 2 297-1755