Amazing cultural immersion September 18, 2022

By (NA, NA) - abroad from 07/02/2022 to 07/30/2022 with

The Experiment: Ecuador - The Galápagos Islands and the Andes

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
When I first found out that I was accepted for the Experiment’s Ecuador trip, I was absolutely overjoyed. However, I don’t believe it actually hit me that I was going away for an entire month without anyone that I knew. It certainly was a bit overwhelming and daunting when I came to that realization. Now, after having experienced what I did, I should have never been even a little apprehensive about going. Being spoken to and forced to speak Spanish every day was at first annoying and made me nervous, but I quickly realized that it was extremely beneficial for my Spanish skills. I was forced to understand Spanish and speak it constantly, as opposed to learning Spanish in school, where you have to understand and speak it very little. At the end of the trip, my Spanish comprehension and speaking fluency had drastically improved, and I learned twice as much in one month as I have in all of school. We got to go to three of the four regions of Ecuador. The four regions are the coast, the highlands, the Galápagos, and the Amazon, and we went to the highlands, Galápagos, and Amazon. Doing so allowed us to experience the country from many different perspectives. The activities and learning that we participated in in every location added to the experience and understanding of where we were and the culture and norms. The home stay was the most culturally immersive experience of the trip because we got to spend a week with an Ecuadorian family and part take in their everyday lives. It showed me what the average day of an Ecuadorian family looks like, how they live, family norms and traditions, etc. It was incredibly engaging and an amazing experience. Going to the Galápagos was a truly unforgettable and amazing opportunity. I had read a lot about the islands, and seen countless documentaries, but never did I ever think that I would be able to go there for myself, but it happened. We got to stay on a boat for four days while touring the islands, and we explored and learned about the diversity of the life and unique ecosystems, and learned about the historical significance of the islands, and it was an unbelievable experience. Overall, with all the other locations, things we did, people we saw, and the things we learned, my Experiment experience has unequivocally changed my overall appreciation for and perspective on other countries all around the world and their cultures, and has made me a better, more independent individual.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

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? No

Because I want to travel to and experience different countries and continents, even though the trip was amazing.


* 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? NA
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? No


* 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? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Spanish 2
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? Duolingo

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?
  • Cultural immersion
  • Many different locations and regions visited
  • Language immersion
* What could be improved?
  • packing list
  • Overall Program organization
  • Community service project
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That I didn’t need to bring as much as I did, and that I probably should have known a bit more Spanish.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.