An imprint on my heart Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 01/28/2018 to 05/12/2018 with

SIT Study Abroad: Ecuador - Development, Politics and Languages

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I grew as a person and gained new perspective on the world, my place in it, what I want to do with my future, and what matters to me. I understand the complexities/nuances of another culture better and feel better equipped to adjust to new places in the future. I met amazing people.

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.

Classes could have been structured a bit better, but content was really interesting and discussions were engaging. I feel that I also learned a lot of really valuable lessons outside of the classroom and through my ISP.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living with a host family was a great experience, and the program placed us all in families where we would have host siblings which was really nice. I lived farther away from some of my friends on the program than I'd have liked to but Quito is a huge city so this is hard to avoid

* Food:

Food is great but can get a little repetitive after a while (lots and lots of rice!) Fresh fruits / fruit juices are everywhere and are amazing. Lunches are huge and dinners are usually smaller which is something to adjust to

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

It's a bit hard to get to know Ecuadorians your own age when you are only taking classes with Americans, but host families are wonderful & classes & language skills help a lot with integration. There's also more opportunities to interact with a greater range of people during ISPs when you're often working directly alongside locals.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had some mild stomach issues throughout the program but never had to visit a doctor. For friends who did, the program helped coordinate everything.

* Safety:

Pickpocketing is the main concern but if you are smart about it you'll be fine. There's a pretty thorough safety orientation at the start of the program relating to preventing pickpocketing, navigating public transportation, etc. I never ran into any issues though I have a friend whose belongings were taken when she left them in the overhead on a long-distance bus.

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

I think I changed for the better and learned a lot.


* 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)

Food & transportation are generally much more affordable than they are in the U.S. but prices in large malls for imported items tend to be similar or sometimes more. I also ended up spending a lot of my money at artisan markets and on a few weekend trips that were separate from the program's pre-planned trips.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Ecuador is full of beautiful artisan markets and I wanted to buy everything at every one I visited - just remember that small purchases can add up fast


* 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 the majority of the time in all our classes, with host families, in public etc. When we were speaking amongst other Americans outside of that it was usually in English.

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? AP Spanish + a semester of college Spanish beyond that
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? It can be stressful at times to only be able to communicate in Spanish and not be able to express yourself fully but the more you do it the more comfortable you will get

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
  • 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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The freedom to explore our personal interests & the ISP portion
  • Meaningful discussions
  • The people
* What could be improved?
  • Better organization relating to planning ISPs
  • Better class structure
  • Interaction with Ecuadorians our age in the classroom
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Sunscreen is super expensive to buy in-country!