The anticipation is mounting. A new adventure is on the horizon. I am anxiously awaiting my first trip out of the country. Studying Abroad has always been a dream of mine, and on May 18th, I leave for the trip of a lifetime to Ecuador! Buenos Dias!
As an undergraduate, I never had the opportunity to study abroad and I was convinced I would never have the opportunity after I graduated. Starting graduate school this fall, I was surprised to learn that my program of study had a study abroad course offered. The program is titled, “Becoming Global Citizens” and is an 11-day trip to Quito, Ecuador. It is a faculty-led program by Dr. Raul Leon. Dr Leon is from Ecuador, so this is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity.
This study abroad trip will include cultural, tourist, and academic excursions to fully immerse all of us into the Ecuadorian culture. The excursion I am most excited about is to the Gondola ride to the top of the Pichincha Volcano, but every excursion will help us become true Global Citizens. We will stand on the equator. We will walk through a valley of a dormant volcano. We will visit the Otavalo Indigenous Market. We will relax in hot springs. We will go to a Chocolate Factory and the Mindo Cloud Forest. We will get to visit local schools and learn about their educational system. We will gain valuable skills through learning cultural competencies.
For this trip, I have a few goals.
- One is to open up more to my classmates and be more open to new experiences.
- The second is to learn as much as I can every day and write about it in a journal as a keepsake of my first experience abroad (and keep it to continue through my hopefully many more experiences abroad).
- The third is to let go of all of my preconceived notions about Ecuadorian/South American experiences and people to truly learn about their culture and to learn empathy and how to be a global citizen.
I will follow up on these in my blogs to come, but I am excited to share this experience with you and let you see my personal journey and growth on this short trip abroad.
Candace Tulacz is a Master’s Student at Eastern Michigan University. She will start the second year of her program in Educational Leadership – Higher Education Student Affairs this coming Fall.