When I was researching programs for a second study abroad adventure, I had many factors new to take into account. This time, I was going into my senior year, and had very few options in terms of classes. I hit many walls in the process, as it seemed that anywhere I wanted to go (Chile, for example) stopped short at the ability to provide me with the courses I needed. During this period of research, I felt part of some wild-goose-chase to locate a program that would work for me. Eventually, I gave up. The search proved too frustrating, and I tried to convince myself that I would be better off to stay home and focus on other things. I pushed the idea of studying abroad again out of my head, and tried to feel satisfied with this decision.
A month or so later, my housemate was recounting stories about her time abroad in London. I immediately felt nostalgic at the mention of her host family, which brought me back to memories of my own homestay in Spain. At that moment, I was desperate to relive the charm of residing with a family of another culture, and experiencing their way of life in all aspects: the food, the schedule, the social interaction, etc. Consequently, I then re-launched my search for another study abroad program. I went through a number of hoops, but needless to say, I finally worked something out!
Now, I am surprised that I haven’t talked about my host family before, as they play an integral role in my everyday life here in Quito. I would say I got lucky with my placement, but the truth is, I did do some prior research. A past student suggested that I request a certain specific familia...and listening to him was a valuable decision. Because I did, I ended up alongside the most compassionate family in Ecuador (Sure I might be biased - pero no importa!). Amongst these lovely people are my host mamá y papá, as well as my hemana mayor (older sister). We are joined by a fellow exchange student as well, and although I didn’t expect her, the vivacious New Yorker is now one of my closest friends.
Speaking of unexpected family members, the pets have been the cherry-on-top. Present in the household are two lovable dogs, Mafalda and Camus. They are a riot! Since Camus was just adopted a couple of weeks ago, I have painted his portrait as a gift for my host parents.
Occasional gift paintings are the least I can do to show my thanks. I have five weeks left in Ecuador, and my host family still hasn’t ceased to make me feel welcome and included. I can only hope that they understand the extent of my gratitude!
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<p>I'm Dani - a leftie, a henna artist, and a wannabe world-traveler. My passion for exploring began when I was 10: taking inspiration from Indiana Jones, I fancied myself "Indiana Dani." Ecuador will be my second time studying abroad, as I spent a semester last year in Granada, Spain. I'm hooked, and hope to one day work in this industry!</p>