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Semester in Cuenca [email protected]
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Do I have to pay for the first night in Ecuador?

From the start of the program, your hotel/accommodations will be covered as part of the orientation package that you are required to subscribe to. If you decide to arrive prior to the start of the orientation tour, that cost will not be covered by Casa Grande, but we are more than happy to help you make a reservation and find a suitable location to stay while waiting for the rest of the group to arrive.

Who will meet me at the airport?

Depending on when you arrive, at least one staff member will be waiting at the airport to receive you. They will have a small sign with the your name on it, and will be waiting right outside of Customs for you.

Should I bring my laptop?

The final decision is up to you, but at the Casa Grande campus, we do have free wireless access allowing you to connect with your laptops. Students often find having their personal computers much more convenient. If you do decide to bring your laptop, and any other electronic/valuable devices, it is always recommended that you have some form of travel insurance in the case of any sort of accident.

What kind of clothing should I bring?

First, we ask that all students read the 'what to bring' list to get a better idea of what will be needed while in Guayaquil. Guayaquil has 2 seasons; from December to May it is the rainy season with lots of humidity in the city, so you will need an umbrella and/or raincoat and appropriate shoes. From April to November it is the dry season, or also commonly known as the windy season. It can get cooler at nights so it is good to bring a light jacket or sweater. All year around Guayaquil has a tropical climate, ranging from 20 – 40 degrees Celsius, so bring lightweight and comfortable clothes. Please bring clothing that you are comfortable wearing, and that you are used to wearing everyday. It is not necessary to purchase a wardrobe of lightweight, outdoor apparel unless that is what you like to wear on a daily basis. Although it is a tropical climate guayaquileños are accustomed to wearing pants and long sleeves, as you will find many places heavily air-conditioned. Also, it is always nice to have a few sets of clothing to go out in or to have in case you are invited to a special event or wedding!
In general Ecuador is full of different climates, from hot and humid, to rain and hailstorms, to sunny and warm. So if you plan to travel be prepared to encounter all different types of climates.

Will I have internet at my host family's house?

Not all host families will have internet in the house, so you will have to wait and see!

Will I have my own room?

Yes, each student will have their own room and own personal space in the house of their host family.

Should I contact my family before I arrive?

It is not necessary to get in touch with your host family before you arrive, and most students actually wait until they get to Ecuador to get to know their new family. You will have plenty of time to get to know them while you are studying here! If after receiving the information regarding your family and you would like to send them an e-mail, or would like to give them a call to brush up on your Spanish, please get in touch with Mayra Vicuña and ask for their contact information.

Should I buy a gift for my host family?

Many students enjoy searching for a small gift to give their host family upon arrival in Ecuador. This of course is not required, and should only be done if its something you would really like to do. Common gifts are chocolates, maple syrup, post cards, or souvenirs that are typical from your particular country or city. If you don't feel like buying anything, bring some photos of your life and family back home; it makes a great icebreaker!

Should I bring a cell phone?

It is common for students who are studying with Casa Grande to purchase a cell phone while in Ecuador. Expect to spend approximately $50.00 for the purchase of a cell phone, plus a bit more for the purchase of minutes. Often, students have brought their cell phones from home, and have been able to purchase a SIM card (chip) which could then be used with their existing phone, or they have purchased an international calling plan. For those of you who are unsure if you would like to buy a phone here in Ecuador, we offer two solutions. First, it is very easy to make international phone calls from 'cabinas' for .10 to .25 per minute, and there are many cabinas throughout the city. Second, we have a cell phone buy-back program in which for a minimal price, Casa Grande will purchase your cell phone when you leave the country, so that we may help the environment a little, and rent the phones back out to incoming students.

What out-of-class activities can I do while in Guayaquil?

As a modern and developing city, Guayaquil has much to offer during your free time. There are many museums and cultural centers that host events and show films. Casa Grande students are able to utilize the large Sports Complex nearby free of charge, where there are baseball diamonds, tennis & basketball courts, soccer fields, a sports track, and much more. There are many gyms throughout the city as well where you can take aerobics classes, or perhaps capoeira classes! Guayaquil is fairly close to both the beach and the mountains and there are plenty of day trips available.

What kind of expenses can I expect?

You will need to budget for things such as airfare, the orientation trip, accommodation, weekend and other travel, etc. Please remember that 3 meals per day as well as laundry service are included with the homestay. If renting an apartment it is important to consider the additional costs of food, laundry and Internet. For more details on specific costs please get in touch with the international coordinators.

What are the host families like?

Each Ecuadorian host family will differ, so it is impossible to describe what your particular family will be like. We feel that this aspect of your semester is one of the most important and integral parts that we can offer and we are very proud of the relationships that are often formed between our students and families. Expect to learn more about the family when the International Relations Coordinator sends you important information regarding the family but be ready with an open mind to meet them here in Guayaquil!

Where should I have postcards or packages sent to in Ecuador?

We always ask that students consult with the International Relations staff prior to having any package sent to Ecuador. There are various methods (UPS & DHL) as well as normal post which all have their advantages and disadvantages, and for that reason we want to inform you of the most cost effective and efficient way to receive materials.
When sending a package or postcard, please mail it to our offices at the following address.

(student name)
Relaciones Internacionales
Universidad Casa Grande
Cdla. Miraflores, Avenida Las Palmas # 304 y Calle 4ta.
Guayaquil, Ecuador

What are the electrical outlets and voltage in Ecuador?

Electrical sockets or outlets in Ecuador are very similar to the electrical outlets found in the United States and Canada. Typically if you are coming from North America you won’t need an adapter, depending on whether the appliance is 3-pronged or 2-pronged (Ecuador has both types but the 2-prong is more typical). If you are coming from outside of North America you will require an adapter for your electrical devices and appliances.

Electrical outlets in Ecuador usually supply electricity at between 110 and 120 volts AC. If you are plugging in a device from North America, or one that is compatible with multiple voltages, then an adapter is all you need. If your device is from another part of the world, and is built for 220-240 volt electricity for example, then you will need a voltage transformer as well as an adapter.

When can I expect to receive information regarding my host family?

Each student will be living with an Ecuadorian host family during there stay in Guayaquil. Generally, you can expect to receive an e-mail with information regarding your host family a few weeks before the start of the semester.

Who should I talk to if my parents or friends want to visit?

The International Relations coordinators are happy to help with recommendations for travel, tours, hotels etc. We also work closely with Expediciones Apullacta (http://www.apullacta.com/) who can assist you and your family and friends in any way possible. Just send us an e-mail, and one of our staff members will get back to you!

What type of Visa will I need and when will I know which to get?

It is necessary to get a student visa before arriving in Ecuador and you can expect to receive information via email regarding the process. Visa requirements and regulations vary depending on the country and consulate, therefore you need to confirm the requirements at the nearest Ecuadorian consulate. We will send a letter of acceptance to your home address that will be an important part of your application. The student visa typically costs $130 (subject to change).

Do I need a passport?

Every student that will be studying with Casa Grande will need a passport that is at least valid for 6 months from the date of entry in Ecuador. If you are planning on studying with Casa Grande and you do not have a passport, please make sure to obtain one as soon as possible. Prior to your arrival, you will be sent information regarding the visa/entry process.

Where is Casa Grande located?

Universidad Casa Grande is located in the neighborhood of Urdesa, the geographical center of Guayaquil. The name comes from Urbanización del Salado, which means neighborhood by the estuary. It is home to numerous mansions from the 50s and 60s as it was originally a more residential area and has now grown to include one of the more commercial areas of the city, its main street, Victor Emilio Estrada, which is home to some of the city’s best restaurants and cafes.

Do you have any questions?

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