International Year of Ecuador 2014/15

Ecuador has been selected as our inaugural country of focus for 2014-2015. Kentucky and, more specifically, WKU have a number of ties to Ecuador that made this selection an obvious one.  Kentucky and Ecuador are connected through a similarly named partnership, Kentucky Ecuador Partners.  WKU has multiple programs going on in Ecuador, including student teacher and student exchange programs in Quito, as well as a faculty-led study abroad program centering on agriculture and sustainable development issues.


Want to learn more about Ecuador? Check out this Ecuador profile summary or click on the links below to find out about the culture, current events, and where the best travel spots are!

There are 24 languages spoken in Ecuador, but the predominant and official language of Ecuador is Spanish, in addition to Northern Quechua and other pre-colonial American languages, which are spoken by almost 2,300,000 Ecuadorians. Do you think you have some killer Spanish skills? Check out the quizzes and games below to find out! If you are really up for the challenge, take the expert Spanish test.

WKU in Ecuador

Megan Tan, a WKU student, is spending a semester in Ecuador. She is studying at Universidad San Francisco de Quito which is a WKU partner university. Click here to see her blog.

Ecuador fun facts

Below are some random, fun facts about Ecuador. Check back frequently; we’re always finding more facts to share with you!

  • Ecuador is about the size of Nevada. (CIA Factbook)
  • Ecuador get its name from the equator, which divides the country, placing either side in different hemispheres. (National Geographic)
  • Ecuador is the maker of the famous Panama hat- high quality hats are handmade in Montecristi, Ecuador. (Ecuador Guide)
  • Mike Judge, creator of the cartoon series Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill, was born in Ecuador.
  • Christina Aguilera is also of Ecuadorian descent. (Click here for a list of other notable Ecuadorians!)
  • Charles Darwin noticed the diversity of species in the Galapagos Islands and began to study evolution there. (National Geographic Kids)
  • Ecuador’s national sport is soccer. (National Geographic Kids)
  • A newly re-discovered species of gecko that is small enough to sit on the eraser of a pencil is indigenous to Ecuador. Learn more here.
  • The only three species of vampire bats in the world are all found in Ecuador (Ecuador Guide)
  • Prior to the Incas’ settlement in Ecuador, the country was inhabited by Native American peoples. (True Nomads)
  • Ecuador has recently become a producer of award-winning, locally-sourced chocolate. Learn more here.
  • Ecuador uses U.S. currency, but bills over $20 are rare and viewed with suspicion. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Ecuador is home to more than 20 different languages. (Ethnologue)
  • Ecuador grows about 160,000 tons of cacao beans annually. (International Cocoa Organization)

Additional links

International Year of … Country Calendar

  • 2014/15: Ecuador
  • 2015/16: South Africa
  • 2016/17: South Korea
  • 2017/18: Bosnia & Herzogovina

(Source: WKU)

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