The scariest and most exciting experiences that I will never ever regret! August 10, 2015

By (Human Biology, Trinity University) - abroad from 01/10/2015 to 05/24/2015 with

IES Abroad: Quito - IES Abroad in Quito

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned how to get out of my comfort zone and survive on limited communication skills.

Review Photos

IES Abroad: Quito - IES Abroad in Quito Photo IES Abroad: Quito - IES Abroad in Quito Photo IES Abroad: Quito - IES Abroad in Quito Photo IES Abroad: Quito - IES Abroad in Quito Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

All of the classes were extremely interesting and there was enough flexibility for me to choose what classes I was actually interested in. One of the classes had many field trips and since the majority of our program took this class, it was great bonding time for all of us.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

They are definitely the best people ever! They become a second host family for you while you're away. If you're confused about any administrative things and are worried, just talk to Rene and he's got your back. If you're stressed, lonely, sick, or have any personal problems and need someone to go to, Gladys is amazing because she adopts you as her own. And then finally Juanca is the best because he's just like an older brother who can direct you around the city while also playing sports with you on the weekends. The professors are also very amazing! If you're looking for a relaxed semester abroad but that still has great opportunities to learn. This is definitely the one.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Wifi wasn't a problem in my host house, but it was in a few others. Otherwise my family was very welcoming. Be sure not to lock yourself in your room, but interact with them and you'll have a much better experience.

* Food:

Food at my house was typical Ecuadorean food which was good. But thankfully they had nutella and peanut butter for when I had to make lunches to bring to my Service Learning course or on trips. Food around the city is really good and really cheap! Just make sure that you go to a legit place and not street food and you shouldn't get sick.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I am Asian, and thankfully there is a company on the floor above the school that is a Chinese - Ecuadorean company. Therefore, I didn't feel weird being one of the only asians. But by the end of the trip, I definitely felt that I could walk around and handle myself comfortably traveling around the city or even within the country.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had a health issue in the beginning of the semester that caused me to want to drop out of the program and return home. Most universities and study abroad programs have some type of refund program as long as you cancel earlier than a few weeks into the program. For example, if you decided to quit after two weeks you could receive a 50% refund for your tuition or something like that. Unfortunately for me, there was no refunds AT ALL. So I had to stay in Ecuador and deal with this problem on my own. This refund policy is definitely something they need to handle.

* Safety:

Stay smart and nothing will happen to you. Stay smart and stay aware. Always keep your bags in front of your body and near you. As long as you're aware, everything is good. Pay attention to their safety presentation at the beginning of the semester!

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

Finances

* 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)

All food is super cheap there! You can find a huge lunch for $3. Same for dinner. For breakfast, I was able to find empanadas for $1. So its easy to save money on food.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Plan who you want to get souvenirs for before you arrive that way you don't accidentally over shop and waste money.

Language

* 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

They encouraged us to speak Spanish to our peers, advisors, and professors. Most of the people in the past programs only spoke Spanish throughout the whole semester (apparently). But our group spoke more English than spanish to each other and therefore we got a lot closer than most of the past groups (according to some of the advisors).

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had minored in Spanish.
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Free weekends to travel all around.
  • Simple courses with straightforward work.
  • Small group that is easy to travel with.
* What could be improved?
  • Refund policy if a student decides to quit.
  • Finals week schedule.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Don't over pack on clothes. Pack two big luggages only half full so that you can fill it up with all the souvenirs that you'll buy!

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!