Hola amigos !!
WOW! WOW! WOW! I STUDIED ABROAD!! I have literally been repeating this phrase for the past week. My last two weeks here in Ecuador flew by really fast that I felt I did not have time to really say goodbye to this amazing country. However, in the midst of final exams and quite a few essays, I was still able to enjoy the different aspects of Ecuador that I’ll miss the most.
Firstly, I travelled to Cuenca during my last weekend which was during finals week and I would highly not recommend anyone doing that. With a few exams to prepare for, remedial assignments and essays to write I underestimated the amount of time I personally needed to study without being stressed. Anyways, Cuenca is a beautiful little and the historic center is full of so many beautiful buildings and churches. Fun fact: Cuenca is considered to be the most religion city in Ecuador and possibly Latin America and there are about 52 Catholic churches in the city alone. In the midst of my Cuenca adventures, I went to the Cajas National Park which attracts many tourists for the beautiful scenery and hiking through the mountains. Even though I tried to enjoy “la naturaleza” I got really sick because for some reason I have had a hard time adjusting to the high altitude especially in mountains; but I realized it’s because I intentionally avoid heights since I know I get really bad altitude sickness. However, I can proudly say that I was the only person this semester in the program to have visited all 3 important cities of Ecuador, which are Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca. With that being said, I would highly recommend visiting Cuenca and also Loja which is about 4 hours away for an amazing weekend getaway. My second trip was an overnight class field trip to an indigenous community for my oral literature class. Honestly, being my third time visiting the Amazon region, it was one of my favorite trips for how simple and immersive it was. From the food, to the time spent talking with the community leaders and the hospitality it was such an indescribable experience that I will cherish forever. I would highly recommend traveling to indigenous communities with friends from indigenous families because the culture is quite vast and there is a lot to be shared and learned.
I am proud of myself of how far I have come in regard to adapting to the various Ecuadorian food. During my last few weeks my host mom took me to eat “comida típica” del Quito which many people do not get the chance to eat. I had the famous tripa mishqui which is the stomach/intestine lining of the cow roasted and served with potatoes. It is traditionally known to be food native to Quito and many believe it aids to relieve gastritis. Also, I had roasted green plantains (verde) with choclo con queso (a type of maíz roasted with cheese sprinkled over it). After my travels, my host mom prepared a lot of Christmas themed foods using family recipes. Personally, I enjoyed the variety of salads made of radishes, purple cabbage, potatoes and green beans. I honestly can say that one of my favorite things about Ecuador was the food especially due to the fact that my host parents intentionally tried to expose me to foods from all regions of the country.
I am sad that my exciting semester in Ecuador has come to an end, but I am glad that I was exposed to the vast and vibrant culture. Of the things I will miss about Ecuador the food and the people will have to be number one.
I am glad I chose to study abroad in Ecuador and it has been an amazingly indescribable and irreplaceable experience and I truly hope you enjoy your time studying abroad in the hidden gem of Latin America.
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I would describe myself as a fun but reserved person. I am curious and love learning and sharing about my experiences. I enjoy planning and organizing events but great music always gets me on my feet.