The Beginning of a New Chapter

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Nicollee Hammer
January 5, 2024

Although I have been preparing for this semester abroad for the past few months, the past few weeks have been the most stressful and yet exciting. I have just found out who my new family is going to be and that I’m going to have a sister who’s right around my age! I have two older brothers but have always wondered what it would be like to have a sister. And I’ll have THREE new dogs, how fun! 

This last week has been days that felt endless full packing and preparing, but I’m glad I spent the time I did to make sure I felt that I had everything I needed. Coincidentally, my parents are visiting Quito and the Galápagos Islands a few weeks after I arrive, so I may even get to see them after I’ve settled in. 

Choosing a location to study abroad for me was never a hard decision. As a marine biology major, and always learning about Darwin and the unique diversity of the Galápagos Islands since I’ve been a kid, I’ve always wanted to experience the variety of ecosystems Ecuador has to offer. One of my older brothers also studied abroad in 2021 in the Galapagos Islands but did not get to spend time in Quito like I’ll have the chance to. I still hear him rave about the life-changing experiences he had and how much of a tremendous impact it had on his life and interests. 

Thankfully, I had taken Spanish since I was in kindergarten up until my senior year of high school, so I have a pretty strong background, but during college I haven’t had the chance to practice much other than with Spanish speaking friends so I’m very happy that I’ll get to brush up and hopefully be fluent by the end of the semester!

Thinking of moving to a completely different country and a new continent that I have never been to is a bit nerve wracking at times, but I’ve always loved to try new things that are out of my comfort zone so thankfully I am more excited and ready to dive into everything than I am anxious. 

Some of the things I’m most excited to see and experience are: the Amazon Rainforest, Carnivale, getting to scuba dive and use my new underwater camera, whale sharks and nudibranchs (hopefully), manta rays, Galápagos Giant Tortoises, playful sea lions, and obviously blue-footed bobbies!

In the days leading up to toady, the day I’m leaving, I’ve spent majority of the days saying my goodbyes to my family and friends, my pups, and to the only place I’ve ever called home. But I can’t wait to have a new place to call home, and a new family that is kind enough to welcome me in as their third daughter. I can’t wait for this new chapter of my life to begin and see what I’ll get to experience and the amazing people I’ll get to meet along the way! 

Bye for now;)


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Nicollee Hammer

I'm from Ohio but I've traveled since I was little so I've got to see many different countries and experience different perspectives and ways of life. I enjoy meeting new people and trying new things. I can't wait to see what Ecuador has to offer!

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Auburn University
Biological Sciences
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