I miss Ecuador :(

Written by:Cassidy Eastman

Major: Speech Language Pathology and Audiology

Program: Quito, Ecuador

Over the past few weeks, I have had plenty of time to reflect and reminisce about my time in Ecuador, yet I am still at a loss for words. I have been to many family gatherings where everyone is asking me how it went, and all I can seem to tell them is that it was amazing. It’s hard to put my experience into words, but I truly had the best time of my life. I learned so much about not only the culture and the language, but also about myself. Before the trip, I never imagined myself doing anything to this extent. I was so nervous to travel by myself and to be in a different country alone for almost two months. But looking back, I can truly say that I was thriving the whole time I was there. I am so thankful to my family and friends who pushed me to go on this trip. Through all of my doubts and fears they managed to convince me that I would enjoy it and benefit greatly from it. And like always, they were right.
My biggest piece of advice I can think to give is to live in the moment. Try to take advantage of every day and limit your down time. I found that the best way to beat the homesickness was to get out of the house and keep yourself busy exploring somewhere new. Also, talk to local people! The best and easiest way to learn a new language is by speaking it in real life situations. If you are unsure of something to do or a restaurant to eat at, ask someone and they will give you great, local advice! Everyone I talked to was so kind and willing to help. Don’t be afraid of messing up some words or the conjugation of a verb, they are just happy that you are trying to learn. Most people are very understanding and willing to correct you in a good way. If you are willing to say yes to adventure and trying new things then you will have the best time of your life like I did.

A beach in San Cristóbal, the Galápagos Island that we visited! This island had the most beautiful scenery and wildlife that I have ever seen in my life.
Our entire program group in front of the Virgen del Panecillo statue on top of a large hill in Quito!
The view from the hill with the Virgen del Panecillo. You could see all of Quito from up here, and yes, those are all buildings and houses!

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