I am spending the first couple days of Plus3 Ecuador getting to know the nation’s capital- Quito. My days are full of food, culture, and adjustments as I get to know those who are traveling with me and the rhythm of the program. It’s really great to start in a city, because I know there will be a point where I will be in the Amazon without running water or electricity. No matter my location in Ecuador, my academic, professional, and personal goals will remain the same; which I think is pretty cool.
Academically, I really want to take everything in as a learning experience. I am here to learn about the supply chain of chocolate and roses. But, as a student abroad, it is also my job to learn about every cultural norm, practice, and quirk, that the country has to offer. I have gotten into journaling more and I hope to stick with it throughout my trip. I believe journalling will help me internalize all of the new things I am experiencing as well as give me something to look back on several years from now.
Professionally, I hope my takeaways from this trip will give me insight into what I hope to do in my career. International relations is something I have always been interested in, but more in a business way rather than political. Practicing my Spanish will certainly help with these future endeavors. Of course, knowing the language of your host country is helpful, but I didn’t realize it would be necessary. I love it! Speaking Spanish has always been intimidating, but that’s because I never had many opportunities to do it; but now I do! This will be an asset as I speak with business owners and representatives during our visits.
I suppose that leads me into my personal goals. Not too different from my academic goals, I want to be intentional during every experience. Through vlogging, journaling, and reflecting, my experiences will be remembered through the eyes of a student and traveller, not a tourist. To that end, my free time will be spent exploring hidden gems of the country and pushing myself to try new things.