I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to write for my last blog post. I feel like I’ve learned so much these past few months and met so many great people. I’ve been back in the states for a couple of weeks now and when everyone asks me how my time was abroad it feels wrong to just say “It was amazing!” and maybe elaborate on a few bits because that truly is the biggest understatement. I also honestly wasn’t even sure if I would make it to this point through the correspondent program, but I’ve learned that I actually really do love sharing my experiences through writing more than I thought I would. So, here are a few main points that I wanted to highlight:
Though my classes, my unique professors, and people in the program I learned on a surface level about the Galápagos and social and economic issues within the islands and mainland, but the classes taught me so much more than that. We had five different and unique professors that were all very passionate about their teaching and research. They showed us how things don’t always work out whether from a conservation, research, or life standpoint. From the other students in the program, I learned what life was like in their perspective states and countries and expanded my world views from my normal immediate circle that I was used to.
We got to see wild orcas, I scuba dove for the first time not in a pool, every day on my walk to school I saw the baby sea lions playing on the beach, I got to press sugar cane and make homemade lemonade from the lemons that we picked from a tree, I reignited my love of soccer and got to play so much with so many different people… you all get the gist, I could go on for ages. I got to see and do so many things that were drastically different from being raised in suburban Texas and going to school in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado that I will look back on fondly for the rest of my life.
Lastly the people I met through the program, the professors, people that lived on the island, and our guides in the rainforest. Between all of them I have met some people that have changed my viewpoints on life and some that will now even be friends for life.
To wrap this whole thing up I knew I was studying abroad from a young age. I heard my dad’s stories and I had always been fascinated with travel, especially growing up with social media and seeing that year after year it becomes cheaper and more accessible for many to do and see more of the world. I picked going to Ecuador and the Galápagos islands by random chance and I am glad that despite there being a pandemic, many people worked very hard to make this happen for us. I want to thank IES Abroad and all of their staff that also made this such a wonderful experience for me and I hope to return to Ecuador one day!
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<p>Hello! My name is Rachel Seyler and I'm going into my junior year and I am studying ecology and evolutionary biology & environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I'm studying abroad in Quito and the Galapagos Islands via direct enrollment during fall 2021. During my free time I enjoy snowboarding, hanging out with friends, and hiking. During my time abroad I'm very excited to expand my Spanish skills, learn about the local culture, and explore in depth the unique flora and fauna that the Galapagos and rainforest entails.</p>