This is where the story begins…

For those of you that don’t know, I am going to be sharing my blog on the SU Education Abroad Blog. So, hello, my name is Alora McGavin and I’m spending my summer (and fall) in Quito, Ecuador. I’m doing two consecutive study abroad programs: the SU-Sponsored CIMAS Spanish Intensive program for the summer and a non-SU direct enrollment program at Universidad de San Francisco de Quito through CIS in the fall. I will be focusing my studies on Spanish (for my Spanish major), with a touch of environmental science in the fall (for my environmental science major).
This trip has been in the making since before I came to college. My mom has always told me how much she loved her study abroad experience and I grew up traveling, so study abroad was something I knew I wanted to do too. I choose Ecuador because it is a Spanish-speaking Latin American country rich ecological diversity and environmental issues. And I’m super excited to see the Galapagos Islands!
Besides the obvious credit requirements that I am fulfilling with these programs, Spanish language proficiency, environmental edification, and improved cultural awareness are my main goals for this trip. From an early age, my dad emphasized the importance of learning a second language. I took lots of Spanish classes and even visited Mexico and Costa Rica a few times, however, my comprehension and fluency have yet to reach the level for which I strive. I’m pretty sure that six months of language immersion will push me to the level that I’m hoping to reach, especially since I am planning to take upper-level ecology/environmental science classes in Spanish! Speaking of which, I can’t wait to see the unparalleled biodiversity that Ecuador holds. For a country smaller than the state of Colorado, the geographic as well as biological variety is astounding! As such a valuable ecological hub, the country has its share of sensitive environmental problems. Hopefully, I will be able to gain insight that might impact my future in environmental science. Additionally, I would like to experience every possible culture, and Ecuador is full of culture! Due to the geography, colonization, politics and probably some other stuff, there are a number of distinctive subcultures within Ecuador. Although I have a few preconceived ideas that I want to explore on my journey, I have a feeling that what I will actually gain will be pretty different.
I’m pretty sure that everyone, including me, is pumped about my trip to Ecuador. You wouldn’t be friends and family if there weren’t some missing going on, though. Oddly enough, I have felt a lot more reluctant to leave my wonderful community in Seattle (and Boise) in the past few weeks. There are so many people and events that I will have to do without for the next six months. Fortunately, the time is relatively brief and I’m definitely heading towards a lot of fun for now!
Here is a site with a lot of cultural info about Ecuador if you are interested:
http://www.everyculture.com/Cr-Ga/Ecuador.html

Alora

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