Service - Learning
At CEI we have a strong social focus, as we see service in the community as the perfect accompaniment to a true learning experience in Guayaquil. Accordingly we facilitate our international students in committing themselves to service learning placements at foundations or NGOs that work at addressing the acute social needs in the city.
We offer placements ideal for students and professionals in the fields of Education, Social Work, Health, Nursing, Medicine, Physical Therapy, Physicians Assistants, Psychology, Dentistry, Veterinary Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Nutrition, Business and Administration, International Relations and Development, and ESL/TESOL. Students are placed according to their skill sets and Spanish language level, and all placements are monitored by CEI staff, in consultation with the on-site supervisor.
These internships can be for credit or solely voluntary, but the level of commitment is the same (approximately 120 hours per semester). The service component allows students to make a positive contribution as they learn about other cultures, the dynamics between poor and rich countries, and themselves.
Along with the long-term placements outlined above, we also offer the opportunity to get involved in a one-day work project in conjunction with one of our social partners. These volunteer projects do not require the same level of commitment as those outlined above, nor do they require any level of Spanish language ability. However, they do require a willingness to work hard and to make a donation toward the cost of the house.
Our principal work project is building houses with the NGO Hogar de Cristo, a Latin American NGO that has been supplying low-cost (at times no-cost) housing to the poorest of the poor in Guayaquil for many years. The foundation has supplied over 140,000 homes in Ecuador alone. Along with housing, Hogar de Cristo also provides education, basic health care, food and nutrition, and micro-credit to those with no access to such services.
UEES international students help to build houses, but in the end gain more than they contribute from the experience of working side-by-side with people from the city's poorest neighborhoods. We encourage students to also raise funds prior to departure for Ecuador. This money will go directly toward putting a roof over the head of a poor family.