Bienestar Ecuador, Inc

  • NY

About Us

"Bienestar: Students against Health Disparities and social environment inequalities", a New York based not-for-profit organization, began as a group dedicated to exposing students to the disparities of medical care access across the globe and committed to the idea of equal access to quality medical care for the impoverished people of Ecuador. We hope to increase knowledge of the problem of health disparities in developing countries, increase fluency in the Spanish language, and educate about the growing threats to rainforest ecosystems. This is done by offering organized cultural-language immersion programs IN ALL FIELDS OF STUDY in rural Ecuador with medical, social, and environmental projects.

Comments from past participants:

"I would have spent all the time in the world there if I could have. I loved Ecuador and the program.".Jeniann Yi "Developed a hometown feel. Beautiful town, beautiful people".David Kim "Not only do you get a wonderful hospital experience...but you come away from Ecuador with great friends and tons of memories that will last you a lifetime".....Rafeena Bachus

Ecuador is one of the smallest countries in Latin America (approximately the size of Colorado) and yet has the largest biodiversity per area in the world. The Ecuadorian Amazon contains one-third of all bird species in the entire Amazon region and 10% of all tree species on earth. It is home to the highest active volcano (Cotopaxi) in the world as well as the renowned Galapagos Islands! At the same time it is estimated that almost 40% of citizens fall behind the poverty line and that 45% of all children under 5 years are medically malnourished.

Baños is a small town in the province of Tungurahua located between the Andes mountain ranges and the Amazon, which gives the city a very lush and unique personality. It is considered ?The Gateway of the Rainforest?, being roughly 30 miles away from most travelers?s entry point into the Amazon. It enjoys a year round comfortable climate of 65 - 75 degrees at an altitude of 1820 m (5970 ft). Visitors will discover more than 60 waterfalls, the active volcano Tungurahua, 2 protected national parks (Sangay and Llangantes), and more than 160 endemic species. In addition one can find almost any adventure sport one craves, including white water rafting, kayaking, waterfall repelling, horse riding, cycling, hiking, mountain climbing, bungee jumping, bird watching, and much much more. And after a long hard day of extreme sports, Baños greets you with a wide variety of spa treatments and nightlife! As the local economy is dependent on tourist activities, almost all residents work either directly or indirectly with tourism.

Baños is easily accessible by bus from nearby cities, and a 3 ½ hour bus ride from Quito. The closest airport is Quito Mariscal Sucre International Airport in northern Quito. The official currency is the US Dollar. All of Ecuador, but especially Baños, is very economical and one can comfortably stay on any traveler?s budget. There are restaurants for every taste: local Ecuadorian cuisine, pizzerias, sandwich delis, vegetarian, steakhouses, French, Italian, and international cafes. Full meals can be purchased for as little as $1.50 with average full meals costs of $5. There is an abundance of living accommodations for all budgets.


2012 Bienestar Programs Location: All Programs are based in Baños, Ecuador approximately 90 miles south of the capitol city, Quito.

Prices: 4weeks in hostal: $1200 4week living with native homestay family including 2 meals daily: 1300 5weeks in hostal: $1450 5week living with native homestay family including 2 meals daily: 1600 Each group will have one student chosen as the group leader and be eligible for a substantial trip discount; full details regarding position responsibilities available upon request

1. Medical Spanish Summer Program 4 or 5 week rotation specifically designed for undergraduate senior pre-med students and 1st year medical students. Students will spend half days shadowing in rural-based hospitals and clinics and half days in small group-based Spanish classes. Spanish classes will focus on conversation, grammar, as well as medical Spanish. In addition there will be free evenings and planned weekend excursions including the Equator line monument, rainforest, beach, national parks, and local adventure sports. 2012 Dates Group 1 Friday June 10 - Saturday July 9 (Beginning date Friday June 3 for those with no spanish) Group 2 Friday July 8 – Saturday August 6 (Beginning date Friday July 1 for those with no spanish)

2. 4th Year Medical Student International Elective 4 or 5 week international elective to give the graduating medical student an opportunity to learn firsthand about the challenges of medicine in a developing country and gain fluency of the Spanish language. Students will volunteer half days in local hospitals and clinics with opportunities in all basic specialties and improve physical examination skills and interviewing patients in Spanish. There will be daily Spanish classes focusing on conversation and medical Spanish. Weekend excursions include the rainforest, beach, national parks, and local adventure sports. Minimum 3 students or as approved on individual basis 2011, 2012 Dates: Beginning any Monday year-round excluding months June-August

3. Spanish Immersion Program 4 week program for any student 18 years and older in any field of study looking for a comprehensive immersion program. Students will have the opportunity to gain increased fluency of the Spanish language with intense daily Spanish classes; as well as gain an understanding and appreciation of the Latin-American Andes culture through planned excursion trips to the Equator line monument, rainforest, beach, national parks, and local adventure sports. There will be additional opportunities for various social/environmental volunteer projects, involving working with special-needs children, teaching English, conservation management, and eco-tourism. 2012 Dates: Group 1 Friday June 10 - Saturday July 9 (Beginning date Friday June 3 for those with no spanish) Group 2 Friday July 8 – Saturday August 6 (Beginning date Friday July 1 for those with no spanish) Any Monday year round exluding months June- August for minimum of 3 students or as individually approved