Balancing Travel

One thing that has been really different being in Europe compared to being in South America is the travel opportunities. In Europe, it is really easy (and pretty cheap) to travel to a variety of countries within a pretty short timespan. For example, I just returned from being in Istanbul for a long weekend. While […]

Early Bird Gets the Worm

A lesson I learned last semester: don’t wait to ask for opportunities. The semester isn’t as long as you think it will be and you don’t want to wait too long. This happened to me when I visited the archaeological lab in Ecuador. It was a fantastic experience and I loved visiting, but I found […]

It’s All Greek to Me

Γεια σας! That’s Greek for “hi everyone!” One of my concerns coming to Greece was that I didn’t even know how to say hello. Coming from Ecuador, where I spoke the language, this was really intimidating to me. How was I supposed to manage in a country where I couldn’t even ask for directions (and […]

Where am I?

We’re trying something different this time! I made a short animation to describe the situation I’m starting the semester with, and give a little background on how it’s different from last semester. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to study in such different countries and programs, and I can’t wait to explore the differences with […]


One of the major things I wanted to work on this semester was becoming a fluent Spanish speaker. Now that I’m almost done, I can’t help but wonder if I actually made it there. I started my Spanish journey in my early teens, and I don’t think that I’ll ever be mistaken for a native […]

Homesickness and the Holidays

So the holiday season has come in the US! It started with Halloween (if you consider that part of the holiday season – I think it kind of counts because so many people celebrate). Next up – Thanksgiving! Not here though. While Halloween exists in a very small way in Ecuador, Thanksgiving basically does not […]

Using Time Abroad to Live Your Dreams

So if you know me, you probably know that I love archaeology, particularly Latin American archaeology. That’s what I want to go on to study once I graduate. If you know West Michigan, you probably know that there’s not a whole lot of Latin American archaeology going on in the area. Not that I blame […]

Part of the Family

Now that I’m over two months into my semester abroad (crazy, right!), I wanted to talk about being part of a host family. My host family is made of my host mom and dad, who are about the age of my real mom and dad, as well as a host sister who is a year […]

Social Unrest – Let’s Talk

(I’m going to preface this by saying featured photos are NOT mine – they come from the newspaper El Comercio.) So I’m sure some of you are aware of what’s been going on in Ecuador recently, but in case you’re not, here are the basics: The federal government has been subsidizing gas for years, making […]

Service Abroad

One of the classes I’m taking while in Ecuador is called “Service Learning”. Half of the class is about serving as a volunteer in an organization in the community, while the other half is a discussion on what doing volunteer work abroad is and should be about. The organization I chose to do my volunteer […]