Our last couple days of our trip were filled with opportunities for hiking through the Mindo Cloud rainforest and feeling the water of natural waterfalls beat down on our skin. We also got to see how natural chocolate is made at a chocolate factory (They sell the same chocolate locally in Dexter, MI as well)!
My favorite part of the last couple days in Quito was having the chance to hike and ride a horse up the side of the Pichincha Volcano; it was definitely a ONCE in a lifetime experience! Something we all were able to check off of our bucket lists!
Traveling internationally for the first time was such an eye-opening learning experience. I learned so much about resilience. Resilience of a nation, of a culture, of individual people, including myself.
During the trip we dealt with altitude sickness, dietary differences, experiences that pushed us to our limit physically and mentally, a language barrier, among other things, but we all came out changed and stronger people having faced these challenges head on with the support of our peers.
I will never forget this trip to Ecuador. I will never forget the 10 other students, our professor, his parents, or our bus driver. These people definitely made the trip the unique experience that it was for each of us.
The sunshine, the mountains, the rainforest, the streets, the parks, the schools… All unique in their own way, All make Ecuador what it is. Ecuador definitely lives up to its tag line, “Ama la Vida”, or Love Life. Although Ecuador is still considered to be a “developing nation”, it teaches you to enjoy the little things, to take time out of the hustle and bustle of everyday life and enjoy what the earth has to offer.
If you get the opportunity to study abroad, I would definitely urge you to try your hardest to make it work for you. Short trips, such as this one to Ecuador, are perfect for busy students to take a break from their normal and learn about and within a different culture. Thank you for following my journey and have a great summer!
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.