Posted by: Deanna | January 20, 2009

My Ecuador Experience

My journey began 16 days ago, with my ultimate destination being a small, unknown  country tucked away in the northwest corner of South America.  The country I speak of?  Ecuador, home of the equator (hence the name), the Galapagos islands, cuy (cooked guinea pig), the Andes, some of the most active volcanoes in the world, the Incas, a great futbol (soccer) team and some of the most fascinating people I will ever meet.

Most people don’t know anything about Ecuador, and I fit into that category up until about five months ago when I started planning my study abroad experience.  The way I chose it was shockingly arbitrary:  I perused the list of Spanish-speaking countries and stopped at one that sounded unique and perhaps obscure.  I was dead-set against Spain and Mexico, for a desire to go somewhere new, somewhere interesting, to boldly go where no man had gone before, and all that jazz…

And I ended up in Quito, the capital of Ecuador, attending a small, private, liberal-arts college right outside the city.  I cannot imagine being anywhere else.

Ecuador is distinct in so many ways.  It shares many characteristics of South America, yet it has it’s own identity through the diversity of its people, landscapes, and culture. It is a country filled with paradoxes, with conflict, with vigor, with incredible beauty.  I have seen so much after 16 days, but I don’t think even being here 16 years would allow me to experience all that this country has to offer.  Even so, I will do my best to relate what I have experienced here to readers in order to allow them to gain both a sense of their culture and an appreciation for their quite unique perspective on the world.   The country never ceases to amaze me, and I hope that comes across in what I post here.

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