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 […]

Two Seasons by Vivaldi: “Rain”

Summer is ending for everyone in the US. Technically, it’s the end of summer here too, even though most of Ecuador is south of the equator. Actually, that means that the rainy season is upon us. Since Ecuador is on the equator, it doesn’t really have seasonal variation except in rainfall. It was kind of […]

Moving to the City

One of the things that makes this experience really different for me is that this is my first time living in a big city! Even though I, technically, live in Cumbayá, which is just outside of Quito. I grew up in a borough (not even big enough to be a town) that was small enough […]

Eating in Ecuador

So – plantains! They’re just one of the changes between the food here in Ecuador and the food in the US. Here, we eat plantains almost every day. I learned that there are about a million ways to eat plantains including boiled, fried as empanadas, and as “chips”. Also, I learned that there are approximately […]

What it’s like to Start Study Abroad

So I’m really probably not qualified to write this seeing that I just got to Quito this week, but I guess that’s why it’s called a beginner’s guide and not an expert’s guide. Anyway – here’s a little bit of my experience in the first week of being here! I’m going to start out by […]