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ECELA Spanish Language School (Cusco)

  • Cusco, Peru
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Enjoy Peru’s famous cuisine and experience a diverse culture that blends Spanish and native influences. In Cusco, you will be in the capital of the Ancient Inca Empire. Discover Machu Picchu, the picturesque ruins in the Andes Mountains. Enjoy the atmosphere of Cusco with many restaurants and cafés near ECELA, where you will be learning Spanish in the southern part of Peru.

Application Deadline


Program Start


Program End


Partner University



  • Cusco

Program Term

  • Summer
  • Winter

Language of Instruction

  • English
  • Spanish

Program Details

Academic Program

The best way to master a language is with native, college certified teachers using a proven curriculum in a small class environment. Classes at ECELA are capped at 8 students per instructor allowing you to have individual attention resulting in dramatic language skill improvement within a short window of time. You can participate as a total beginner or with many years of speaking the language.

Course Descriptions and Syllabi


  • On the ECELA Cusco summer program, you will take two courses. You will earn 3 credits for each course you successfully complete (you may earn up to 6 credits total for the summer program). You can choose option 1 or option 2
  • Two Spanish Language Courses or
  • One Spanish language class and either a Latin American Cultures I course or Foundations of Spanish and Latin America course. Both of these elective courses are taught in Spanish.
  • Latin American Cultures I: International Perspectives GenED + ASPN 317
  • Foundations of Spanish and Latin America: International Perspectives GenED + ASPN 316


  • On the ECELA Cusco winter program, you will take one course. You will earn 3 credits for the course you successfully complete. You can choose to take one of the following courses.
  • Spanish language class or
  • Latin American Cultures I course (offered in Spanish)

Other elective courses (i.e. – Medical Spanish, Business Spanish, Legal Spanish, and Spanish Composition) may also be available for an extra fee.

Review Course Descriptions for more information regarding course offerings.

General Education Information for UAlbany Students

Credits earned on this program will automatically satisfy the International Perspectives requirement. Three credits of foreign language study will satisfy the Foreign Language requirement. No additional approval is required for you to earn these general elective credits.

Major/Minor Information for UAlbany Students

Courses may also satisfy major and minor requirements, upon approval by the department.


All courses taken abroad count towards UAlbany General Elective credits. Credits and grades will appear on your UAlbany transcript. You may file a request to have additional courses approved for equivalency as necessary. 


Housing is provided with local Peruvian families. Living with a family is one of the most effective ways to improve language skills and learn about the local culture. All of the families are warm and welcoming and experienced at making you feel at home within their house. All host families are located within an easy commute to the school and are in a safe and lovely neighborhood.

In effort to provide you with the best, families are chosen with the utmost care and go through extensive screening and training before being accepted as host families. Their passion in educating you about their language and culture goes above and beyond many other language and culture programs found elsewhere. The families make every attempt to accept our students as part of their “Peruvian family” during their stay in Cusco and after.

Living with a host family also provides an additional layer of support. A local host family assist you with learning the best ways to get around the city, what regional cuisine to try, what sites to visit in the city and beyond, and how to find the best deals in Cusco.


You will be living in a homestay with a family. Many meals will be provided by the homestay. Get ready to eat amazing Peruvian meals. You will also be able to eat out, if you want. You will certainly enjoy the food!

Estimate of Costs

For reference, review the Summer 2019 Estimate of Costs.

For reference, review the Winter 2019-20 Estimate of Costs.

More Information

Click for more information on Program Costs and Financial Aid.

Remember to speak with the Office of Financial Aid at your home campus to determine how your aid package could apply towards your program abroad.

Academic Requirements

This program is open to Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors with a 2.5 GPA. You do not have to have Spanish experience but taking at least one Spanish course prior to the program will help.

Experiential Learning

The program offers daily scheduled activities in and around Cusco. Participating in these activities is an excellent way to practice your new language skills in a fun and exciting environment.

Weekend trips are also offered where you can discover Peru’s fantastic landscapes and outdoor sports. Historical landmarks and experiencing the arts and culture that make Peru so unique are integral parts of this program. Note: only some of these activities and excursions are included in the cost of the program with UAlbany. More information on this will be included in your acceptance packet.


  • Cooking class – Learn to prepare and enjoy some of the most typical plates and beverages of Peru.
  • Costumbres Cusqueñas – An introduction to the important customs of Cusco, family traditions, and greetings.
  • Traditional Music – Experiment with traditional Andean instruments.
  • Qosqo –  An evening show of customary regional dance and music.


  • Cabalgata – Horseback riding through the mountains surrounding Cusco and visit the Mythic temple of Luna
  • Maras y Moray – Visit an important ancient Incan archaeological site of Moray and its famous agricultural terraces.
  • Rappel and Rock Climbing – An introduction to rock climbing in the Andes Mountains.

Funding Opportunities

Most financial aid and academic awards will apply to semester programs.

External scholarships, listed on our website, are a good way to partially fund your study abroad experience. In addition, the Center for International Education and Global Strategy offers two scholarship programs for UAlbany students studying abroad on UAlbany or 4-year SUNY programs.

More information on applying to these scholarships is located on the Scholarships web page.

“Studying abroad this summer in Cuzco, Peru was hands down the best decision I made during my time at UAlbany. Not only did my study abroad program count towards my major but it allowed me to graduate earlier. I learned so much about the Spanish language, Peru’s Incan history, and its government in the two classes I decided to take, Latin American Literature and Legal Spanish. My program, ECELA had awesome professors and directors. My two professors took the time to get to know me and class felt very personalized given it was one on one. The directors always planned great excursions for us to take apart in with amazing tour guides. During my six weeks in Peru I was fortunate enough to visit Machu Pichu, Lago Humantay, Lago Titicaca, Qeswachaka, Peru’s amazon reserve in Tambopata, Moray, Maras, and other numerous Incan Ruins. This experience was unforgettable given Peru’s beautiful landscapes and the breathtaking structures built by the Incans centuries ago. Not only did I enjoy my many trips and classes, but I had a great time with my host family. They always made me feel at home, kept me safe and made some of the best food I had during my stay. I am extremely grateful to have gotten the opportunity to take part in this program and believe I made the perfect choice choosing Cuzco.” – Pamela Gonzalez, Psychology and Spanish Majors

Program Advisor

Curry, Mark

About the City

Cusco is one of the most vibrant cities in Peru. With a population that reaches over 400,000 people, the city holds a great number of tourist attractions and is a truly unique destination to learn Spanish. When you study Spanish in Cusco, you’ll have the benefit of a great location and learning environment that’s driven by like-minded classmates and our enthusiastic staff of experienced teachers.

Cusco, although just a small city in the Andes Mountains, is one of the continent’s biggest tourist attractions. As the former capital of the ancient Incan empire and the “gateway to Machu Picchu” (one of the modern wonders of the world), Cusco is a major hub for archaeological interests. It’s also the base for Peru’s large indigenous population and home to extensive alternative medicine. Apart from historical sites, you can explore the surrounding nature on mountain bike tours or even head down into the jungle.

ECELA’s “School Hopping” Option:

During the semester and summer length programs at ECELA, you have the option of dividing your time between ECELA’s many locations in Lima (Peru), Cusco (Peru), Mendoza (Argentina), Viña del Mar (Chile), and Santiago (Chile). This is a great way to experience various other countries and cultures, while still being able to take your desired courses at other ECELA locations.

Please note that you will be responsible for the travel costs between locations, and you must notify ECELA and UAlbany of your intention to transfer at least two weeks in advance of your intended transfer date. The basic costs of the program paid to UAlbany (consult the cost estimate listed above) will remain the same though, regardless of the locations that you choose. If you are interested in the multi-location option with ECELA, please contact with your request.

Travel Documents

A valid passport is required to participate in this program. The entry into Peru for Citizens of most American and Western European countries does not require a tourist visa. You cannot stay in the country for more than 183 days. More information regarding the visa application process is available upon acceptance to the program.

Application Availability

Applications become available online one semester before the program start date, based on the following timeline:

  • Spring/Winter programs: July
  • Fall/Year/Summer programs: December

Program Dates

Summer 2020

06/22/2020 to 08/01/2020

Winter 2019/20

12/29/2019 to 01/18/2020

About the Program

UAlbany’s study abroad program with the ECELA Spanish Language School gives you the chance to experience rapid advancement in Spanish abilities while experiencing first-hand the Peruvian culture in and around Cusco. As an intensive immersion course (Spanish classes within a “Spanish everywhere” environment), the program’s goal is to give you several semesters worth of Spanish skill enhancement in only a few months. In addition to the 20 hour per week language course, you can also participate in cultural activities such as cooking classes, salsa dance lessons, Cinema Latino, and folklore shows.

The school is located in a modern residential district that’s also convenient to the historic center. Because Cusco attracts so many worldwide visitors, the city has an international feel well beyond its size.

ECELA is dedicated to helping you get closer to Spanish fluency even if you are not “naturals” at picking up foreign languages. The 50/50 ratio of grammar and conversation, taught in separate sessions, ensures you of balanced progress. The extra small classes (capped at only 8 students) are intimate enough that you will comfortably join the discussion, even if you normally resist raising your hand. Finally, the “demanding yet understanding” teachers and staff push you to do the necessary work so you will vastly improve your Spanish.

ECELA schools attract students from many walks of life. They come from 42+ countries and have an array of personal and professional interests. You’ll bond with them in your classes, in the refreshment breaks in between them, and in our many social and cultural activities after them. For many of our students, forming a new set of very diverse relationships is a real treasure and an unexpected highlight. While you may come to ECELA alone, you are quickly plugged into an instant social life.

Program Orientations

Upon acceptance to the program, you will be required to attend a mandatory pre-departure orientation. During this time, you will have the opportunity to meet other program participants, discuss in-depth the details of your program, and prepare of the overall education abroad experience. The fall semester pre-departure orientation will be conducted the Saturday before the end of Spring UAlbany classes and in late November/early December for the spring term abroad.

Upon arrival to the ECELA program, you will attend a mandatory program orientation. This is an important and informative set of sessions organized by International Office of your host university.

Support Services

UAlbany’s Office of Education Abroad staff assists you during the application process, in your preparation to travel abroad, and on-site if necessary.

The ECELA staff serve as an experienced resource for resolving issues that you may encounter in while abroad.