For adventurous types looking for an immersive experience! October 07, 2015

By (Philosophy, Claremont McKenna College) - abroad from 01/26/2014 to 05/10/2014 with

SIT Study Abroad: Ecuador - Development, Politics and Languages

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much. About myself, about the world, and about people in general. Was it worthwhile? Maybe the most worthwhile thing I've ever done.

Review Photos

SIT Study Abroad: Ecuador - Development, Politics, and Languages Photo SIT Study Abroad: Ecuador - Development, Politics, and Languages Photo SIT Study Abroad: Ecuador - Development, Politics, and Languages 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.

A truly fulfilling study abroad experience in an amazing country. Challenging and immersive. Do yourself a favor and choose SIT Ecuador!!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The staff on hand take care of all the logistics, leaving you to soak up as much of the country and language as you can.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living arrangements were exactly what I wanted: caring host families who want to include you in everything they do. Seriously, everything. Be prepared to go grocery shopping, go to family weddings, leave in a car without knowing where you are going, etc. That's just how it is in Ecuador. They want to make you a part of the family. It can be exhausting at times, but totally worth it in your language gains and cultural immersion.

* Food:

Ceviche, maduros, sopas ricas. Everything is fresh. You will try so many incredible fruits and vegetables that you have never had before. If you are vegetarian you will be accommodated.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt very integrated into the local culture. Being a foreigner, you will always stand out, but that doesn't mean you can't become part of a community. People in Ecuador are very willing to include you in their plans, especially your host families. Your host family will be your best route to making lots of Ecuadorian friends. If you are worried that you won't be immersed because you won't be in an Ecuadorian university, don't be. I had the same worry going into the program, but I was so glad to have some time each day with the other SIT students. You will spend almost all of your free time with your host family or other Ecuadorian friends anyways.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I did not have any health issues besides some minor "indigestion" (almost unavoidable). Other students on the program received great medical attention for other issues.

* Safety:

Let's be real, living in Ecuador is like living in any other developing country: it's not always safe, but you can always stay safe by taking precautions. Travel in groups, don't go out alone after dark, etc. Taxis are perfectly safe as long as you know what to look for. Your program staff does a tremendous job advising you on how to do this. We had one student robbed, but this student simply got too comfortable and made the mistake of going out alone after dark. Follow the advice of the program leaders and you will be just fine!

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)

I did not spend very much money at all in Ecuador. Your program costs cover all meals and transportation, even those costs incurred on program excursions. Other things that you will want to spend money on (clothes, crafts, going out, nestle galaks) don't cost much by western standards.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $30-50

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

Your classes are in Spanish, even though they are taken with the other SIT students. You are placed in individual homestays, so you have no choice but to use Spanish there. On excursions with the other SIT students, you can talk in English but are of course encouraged to always use Spanish!

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? Spanish 44- the fourth semester of Spanish
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? Don't worry about saying stupid things or messing up. Because you will mess up, and no one will care. That's how you learn!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
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?
  • Program Staff, especially Fabian!
  • Ecuador's natural beauty
  • Getting better at Spanish
* What could be improved?
  • Adding a Galapagos expedition, but they already did! Just a bit too late ;)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It's normal to be stressed and uncomfortable at times. That's how you know you're learning.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.