Ecuador is an amazing and interesting country - I loved my program March 07, 2014

By (Race and Ethnic Studies, Whitman College) - abroad from 08/25/2013 to 12/07/2013 with

SIT Study Abroad: Ecuador - Development, Politics and Languages

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
The biggest take-away was probably the ability to communicate and relate to others on a cross-cultural level. Independent Study Projects are a testament to this. It was extremely worthwhile, and while challenging at times and not without its flaws, this was an awesome program.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The Directors are extremely knowledgeable about Ecuador and local communities in the country. They are very supportive throughout.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The homestay coordinator does a great job of placing students, and you are often in a family with host siblings your age.

* Food:

The access to local produce is amazing, host moms are great cooks and make delicious soups, and you will eat a lot of rice. It is also affordable to eat out.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Given that we only stay in each part of the country for 3-4 weeks max it was at times hard to integrate as much as I would have liked.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I was able to stay healthy (luckily) throughout the duration of program (minus a slight cold for a week) and pharmacies were very accessible for antibiotics, etc.

* Safety:

The bigger cities can feel a little less secure, but program directors are great at preparing students for different areas.

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)

The program gives you money for transport/ any meals outside of homestays weekly, and everything is very affordable. Buying gifts and going out/ taking taxis to explore different areas can add up, but it would not be too hard to stick to a modest budget.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $20
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Utilizing public transport/walking when possible will cost less than a taxi, but is not always the most convenient or comfortable.

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

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? 306
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? This program is great at immersing you in the language, but making a commitment as a group to speak as much Spanish between one another as students will make a huge difference. For example, during trips we agreed to only speak Spanish at meal times, and when my friends and I commuted to classes on buses we would commit to speaking only Spanish to each other.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • Language immersion
  • Ability to see lots of the country
  • Culmination of Independent Study Project
* What could be improved?
  • The ISP process is a little bit rushed
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? This program requires a willingness to be flexible and be present. It is extremely rewarding but can feel like a bit of a whirlwind while it's happening.

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!