Many students are deterred from opting for a homestay when weighing their study abroad choices, simply because they don't want to live with strangers. However staying with a local family, living and breathing the culture and being a participant in your new country will make your experience so much more beneficial in all aspects of your trip.
For parents with students hoping to study or travel abroad next year, the recent horrific terrorist attack in Paris is a nightmare scenario. With three daughters myself, I understand the impulse to keep the kids in the house for, I don't know, the next decade or so. However, isolationism is not an option for me.
When students take that leap to travel, they expect nothing less than a life-enhancing transformation. It's a tall order, but not one educators or administrators need feel anxious about meeting. Given the nature of such threshold experiences and the new worlds they lead into, students are practically bound for growth.
Ecuador's food is as delicious as the terrain is beautiful. Almuerzo (lunch) usually includes a soup, main dish with rice, meat, and (if you're lucky) some sort of vegetable. If you don't have the opportunity to stay, or at least dine, with a local family in Ecuador, there are a few restaurants, markets and coffee shops that will do the trick.