Darwin was here...

Julian Garcia
October 7, 2016

            We had to leave mainland Ecuador after spending just one month there, but we all knew that there were plenty of adventures awaiting us in the Galápagos. We landed down on the airport’s landing strip just meters away from the Pacific Ocean, and then the flight attendants sprayed a mystery aerosol on the luggage overhead. Everything we did on the first day in San Cristóbal felt so surreal. Most of the orientation activities would have been ordinary at any other university, but we were doing it all in the Galápagos! I met my host family, Fernando, Mery, and their two sons Ronnie and Junior, who are all wonderful to be living with. Actually being here now has triggered my eagerness to spend the rest of the year in “the living museum and showcase of evolution.”

            The University of San Francisco’s campus is directly across the street from Playa Mann, a beach strewn with Galápagos sea lions. We can often hear the alpha male and others vocalizing while in class, and we can’t help but to break a smile. The birthing season for sea lion pups on San Cristóbal peaks between October and November, which will give us all something spectacular to look forward to.  There are also another five beaches and snorkeling spots within just a 20-minute walk of the university campus! This created a routine across the first week that went something like this: class, lunch, snorkel, study, beach games, sunset, and then dinner. What more could you ask for in a study abroad experience?

            Back home, I enjoy volunteering and community service whenever I get the chance. So, when I heard that there would be a beach trash pickup the first Sunday I was here, I was excited to get involved so quickly. Despite being in the Galápagos Islands, we still managed to fill about ten bags of trash including watches, chip bags and plastics, glasses, endless bottles, a hub cap, and so on. We helped make Loberia, a gorgeous beach with sea lions, sea turtles, marine iguanas, and sea birds everywhere, even more remarkable. When I returned to the town, I stumbled upon a memorial plaque with Charles Darwin’s head on it in the middle of the boardwalk. Inscribed on the plaque was a short epitaph recognizing Darwin’s arrival on San Cristóbal on September 18th, 1835. That Sunday’s date was September 18th, 2016. Exactly 181 years later, I stood reading about the place where Darwin himself had sailed upon so many years before. Maybe it was one of those “you had to be there” moments, but it was really an amazing way for me to kick off my semester here in the Galápagos Islands!


Julian Garcia

<div>Hi there all! My name Julian Garcia and I was proudly born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. I am in my senior year at&nbsp;Cornell University studying International Agriculture and Rural Development with interests in sustainable cropping&nbsp;systems and economic development. In my free time, you can find me hiking in the Adirondacks, spelunking 100 feet&nbsp;underground in a cave, trying to cook up something tasty, or reading a Hemingway novel. I hope you enjoy the blog!</div>

Home University:
Cornell University
Major Not Reported
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