My Experience in Ecuador
This past summer I had the opportunity to visit Ecuador through a travel award that I got from EIL Ireland. I received one of the Mature Student awards that EIL offers after applying for it through my college’s mature students officer, Clodagh Byrne (TCD). The route that I took to avail of this intercultural learning experience is just one of many other pathways that EIL provides for the interested. More routes can be found under the Travel Awards section of the EIL website.
I loved Ecuador, so I often think of the things that I experienced and learned while there. My programme lasted for two months during which I took Spanish classes, lived with an Ecuadorian family, and worked as a volunteer at a day-care center in a suburb of Quito. From what I saw, most Ecuadorians have a lot less than what is seen as standard or basic living in Europe, even in compare to Romania, a poorer European country that I come from. Despite that, they seem to know how to be happy with little, valuing the family and loving life.The experience itself changed me a lot, as I learned to see life from a different angle. But what impressed me the most was the fact that although Ecuador avails of modern facilities, the Ecuadorians also value the traditional ways of living, so, one often gets to witness a pleasant mix of the traditional and the modern. This ability of Ecuadorians to allow the survival of the traditional in their modern society is what I appreciate the most about Ecuador, and what I hope they’ll continue to uphold. I saw in the Ecuadorian culture that there is more than one way to progress, and I believe that this is a lesson that the world should learn from Ecuador, and that the world should help Ecuador at the upholding of this attitude by acknowledging its value.