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Enrollments Steps and Preparing for Your Trip:

Congratulations on your acceptance to the Tropical Conservation Semester in Ecuador!  We are excited to have you join this unique learning adventure, and can’t wait to meet you in Quito.

We must receive your enrollment form by Friday, October 25 or your spot may be awarded to an applicant on the waiting list.  The form asks you for your emergency contact and medical information, and your preferences for host families in Quito and the Galapagos.  The other materials on the list below may be submitted after the enrollment deadline, but for some (e.g., obtaining a passport) you may need to get started right away.  Please read the following list of enrollment steps carefully.

  1. Fill out the online Enrollment Form by the enrollment deadline.  Please note that you cannot save this form, so make sure you have all information on hand before starting.
  2. Read the TCS Information Packet and FAQ about traveling to Ecuador.  The packet contains details about where we travel, what to pack, and other helpful information.
  3. Sign the TCS Liability Release Form and mail it with your original signature to Ceiba’s office in Madison.
  4. If you don’t yet have one, apply for a passport immediately and email a scanned copy of the photo page to Ceiba (US passport info).
  5. Purchase your plane ticket and submit your travel itinerary to the UW study abroad office.
  6. Obtain a Yellow Fever vaccination (see details below), and email a color scan of your signed vaccine certificate to Ceiba.
  7. Take an online Spanish placement exam (instructions will be emailed to you).
  8. Purchase course textbooks (Spanish texts will be provided in Ecuador) and other required materials.  See the TCS Packet for lists of what to bring!
  9. Pay your program tuition.  The University of Wisconsin or your home institution will bill you for tuition and administrative fees.
  10. Collect your visa documents, and bring them to Ecuador; request a 180-day tourist visa upon entry, using the documents you will receive.

Passport

PassportYou must have a valid passport to travel to Ecuador, and it must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your travel dates (i.e., your return flight to the USA). If you do not have a passport, apply for one immediately. It can take up to 6 weeks to obtain a passport, and you cannot apply for a visa until you have one. Passport applications can be completed at most large US Post Offices or State Department offices.  For more information visit the U.S. State Department passport website. As soon as you receive your passport, please upload a color scan of it (as jpeg or pdf) to the UW IAP website if you did not already include one when you applied.

Visa Information

Ecuador entry stamp (sample)All students will need a visa for the length of the program, nearly five months.  You will receive several documents from our university partner in Ecuador, the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ).  If you are a UW student, we will notify you when these documents are available for pickup; if you are a non-UW students, we will mail them to you.  With these documents, you will request a 180-day Tourist Visa at the airport upon your arrival in Ecuador.  It is up to the discretion of Immigration whether they will grant you 180 days, or simply give you a 90-day visa like most tourists.  For those who receive a 90-day visa, there’s no problem (tranquilo!), USFQ will assist you in extending the visa at the Ministerio del Interior to cover your entire stay.  The cost of the visa extension, at present, is $120 and so please budget your cash accordingly (credit cards not accepted).  Please be aware that you cannot attend this program without obtaining a visa, and Ceiba is not responsible for the consequences, financial or otherwise, if you do not secure a proper visa.

Travel Itinerary

Plane IconWe recommend you purchase your ticket to Ecuador early to get the best available fare on the recommended arrival date.  Your acceptance and enrollment letter contains details about the recommended arrival and departure dates.

Many flights arrive late at night, or early the following morning (e.g., 2:00 am!) — don’t worry, you will be picked up at the airport as long as you arrive on the recommended date or early the following morning. As soon as you purchase your ticket, please submit your travel itinerary to UW’s International Academic Programs site.  Since we use this information to schedule your airport pickup, you must notify Ceiba of any changes to this itinerary prior to your departure.  We also recommend you communicate with your host family about your travel arrangements, to make sure they will be able to meet you; you will receive contact information for your host family a few weeks after the enrollment deadline.  Please see the FAQ sheet for more details on arriving in Ecuador.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow Vaccination BookletYou must obtain a valid yellow fever vaccination to travel to the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon rainforest.  You will be asked to present proof of vaccination, typically in the form of a standard “Yellow Book” immunization record, which you should ask your physician to complete when you are vaccinated.  The vaccination is a simple shot that can be obtained from most health clinics, personal physicians or travel clinics; it is valid 10 days after being administered.  Although yellow fever is not a concern at the Tiputini station, proof of vaccination is an inflexible requirement, and no exceptions will be made.

For additional information on travelers’ health, vaccinations, and preventative medications, please consult the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), your university health or travel clinic, or your personal physician.

TCS Program Info Packet & Frequently Asked Questions

TCS Packet 2020 thumbnailYou must read the TCS Program Information Packet prior to traveling to Ecuador. The packet contains important information on the sites we visit, what to bring, course content and activities, required textbooks, and travel details. Pay careful attention to the textbook and packing lists, many of these items are absolutely necessary during the program and can be difficult or impossible to obtain in Ecuador.

Please consult the Frequently Asked Questions for the Tropical Conservation Semester.  Included are answers to common inquiries about preparation, arrival and living in Ecuador, health and safety, contacting home, computers, money, cell phones, diet, and much more.

Of course, we are here to help you should you need us! Feel free to contact Ceiba at any time.

Program Tuition

If you are applying through the University of Wisconsin’s Office of International Programs, you will receive a bill from the UW Bursar for the program tuition plus administrative fees; if you are not a UW student you may receive this bill directly from your home institution.

U.S. and Canadian participants should contact the UW study abroad office with any questions on tuition payment. Participants from outside the U.S. and Canada should contact Ceiba for tuition payment instructions.