Enveloped in Ecuador Past Review

By (Nursing., Brigham Young University) - abroad from 04/26/2012 to 05/22/2012 with

Brigham Young University: Traveling - Nursing in Ecuador

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
This box is not large enough to explain all that I learned and gained. It was most definitely worth my while! My Spanish skills have improved, and I have a greater love for the Spanish people. I better understand how people feel when they don't know a language and are in a foreign place. I also can better interact and relate with people of other cultures in both the healthcare and general setting. By the people there I was taught that I have more than enough, and that happiness is as close as you want it to be. I was taught generosity and humility. I served and worked with them, but overall they taught me.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Mostly we were applying what we had learned in previous semesters and teaching people about CPR, diabetes, high blood pressure and other things. It was really fun to learn about the culture and teach accordingly.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

We had a great teacher,wonderful grad students and other helpers who had been there before.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Housing was great with very nice hotels with complimentary breakfasts.

* Food:

The food was good, especially at the place we stayed in Otavalo. There we had breakfast and lunch provided. Which was nice because usually we made sandwiches for lunch. We almost always ate out for dinner.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Although we lived in very nice hotels for Ecuador and stayed for a short time, I felt pretty integrated with the culture as I got to walk their streets,shop at both markets and grocery stores, visit historical sites, eat their food,and talk with them.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

We are in the hospitals all the time and they know who we are. There is not much to worry about for that. The healthcare is obviously different from the US, but sufficient.

* Safety:

I felt really safe because we were always in large groups and didn't go out late at night. Drivers are a little more aggressive,so just be cautious when crossing the streets.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Breakfasts, some lunches and a few dinners were included in expenses.

* Was housing included in your program cost? Yes
* Was food included in your program cost? Yes
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Maybe $100-150 per week including souvenirs.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Budget how much you will spend before you go. Also Otavalo was probably the cheapest market.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

We used it all of the time; stores,hospitals, teaching, church, everywhere.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 3 years of high school Spanish
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Buy a Spanish Medical Dictionary that includes common medical phrases. Work on phrases you might use. Also learn basic get to know you questions,and be able to explain what you are doing there in 1-3 sentences.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Teaching health topics to the people and communities
  • Getting to know the people and playing with the students
  • Working with Hogar de Cristo and building the house
* What could be improved?
  • It would be cool if we could do more work in the hospitals rather than observation
  • List of suggestions of where to eat or what to see
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Write in a journal everyday. It is easy to forget. Eating healthy can be difficult when you eat out a lot so bringing a multivitamin is a good idea.