After landing at the Mariscal Sucre International Airport at 11 pm at night, I was promptly picked up by my host family and taken to their home in Cumbayá. Despite their warmness and hospitality, I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable. Everything was new and strange: the food, the house, the language, my neighborhood. Having studied abroad before, I knew that the only way to ease this discomfort was to simply force myself to wholeheartedly embrace the changes.
Since the initial cultural shock, I’ve explored the city with my friends, visited amazing places around Ecuador, and grown closer to the other students in my group and my host family. Somewhere along visiting the middle of the world and wandering through the open markets of Otavalo, I began to feel more comfortable. More comfortable with myself, my independence, and my ability to thrive in new and uncomfortable environments.
My experiences thus far in Quito have taught me that no matter the situation, I have the ability to adapt. Knowing this gives me the confidence to take on new and more difficult challenges later in life; including medical school and moving away from my home state of Indiana to explore the world.