A splendid semester in Ecuador September 11, 2022

By (Oberlin College) - abroad from 01/23/2022 to 05/07/2022 with

SIT Study Abroad: Ecuador - Development, Politics and Languages

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained knowledge about a place and culture that I had not known a lot about before, greatly improved my language skills, made meaningful connections, and grew as an individual.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

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

The SIT Development, Politics, and Languages Program in Ecuador was a fabulous experience. Between the interesting classroom discussions, super fun excursions, and amazing people I met, I had an incredible semester. The academic director, Fabian Espinosa balances fun, laid-back chats with deeply interesting talks by him and other guest lecturers. Sofia, the program coordinator, was like a second mother and made sure we were always safe, comfortable, and happy. My host families (I had two during my semester) were incredibly welcoming and made me feel like a part of their family. In terms of academics, I learned so much both in the classroom and out in the country. The experiential learning approach was an amazing way to learn about issues from multiple disciplines and beyond a traditional classroom setting. We learned about traditional medicine and community resistance strategies on our excursion to the Amazon, we studied biodiversity and environmental protection on our trip to the Galapagos (plus we got to snorkel), and we heard from amazing activists and political figures with a wealth of knowledge in our daily classes. During the ISP period, I lived in an apartment in Cuenca with one of my friends from the program, and we both worked at organizations in the area, while simultaneously doing research for our respective projects. This independence was such an important opportunity to explore the country on my own and build deeper connections with local communities and with the other SIT students. At the end of the 3.5 months, it was hard to say goodbye. To say that the experiences I had in Ecuador changed me would be an understatement. I felt transformed, not only by all of the things I had learned and the people I had met, but by the personal growth that had occurred as a result of all of these things. If you want to improve your Spanish and spend several months in a beautiful and welcoming country, I highly recommend this program. I learned so much and I am so grateful to my host family, Faba and Sofia, and my wonderful friends from the program for making it an unforgettable trip.


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $15-$25


* 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? 3 semesters of Spanish at home institution
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? Try to use the language in your daily routines whenever possible. Especially emphasize speaking and conversation, as this is important for communications with the host family.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
  • Hotel
* 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?
  • Super fun excursions
  • Great support staff
  • Lovely homestays
* What could be improved?
  • More opportunities to connect with local university students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? It takes a while to adjust to a new place and culture. Give it time, take deep breaths, and if you're still not feeling settled, talk to the staff. They want you to have an amazing experience and will do everything they can to make that happen, but you have to advocate for yourself.