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Ecuador (2) - Su12

posted Sep 2, 2012, 6:52 PM by Joanne O'Toole   [ updated Nov 30, 2013, 4:40 AM ]
Adolescence Spanish Education major, Amanda Prince (, participated in the 5-week SUNY Oswego study abroad program in Quito, Ecuador, in Summer 2012.  She shares her experiences below and invites you to contact her if you would like to know more about the program.
What was the program like?

The program was truly amazing! I really wanted to travel abroad since I had only been to Spain in high school. Since I knew I really couldn’t fit a whole semester abroad into my busy schedule, I decided a summer program would be the best for me. I really enjoyed being able to experience the culture and the life of Ecuador. Some of the activities I truly enjoyed were zip lining over the Amazon, white water rafting, as well as learning about the indigenous people and their crafts. Living in Quito was quite eye opening and very lively compared to living on the organic farm in Río Muchacho.
How did the study abroad experience inform, influence, or change you?

This opportunity truly had a large impact on me. It gave me another outlook on life. I realized how fortunate I am for having clean, fresh water every day as well as other amenities. In regards to my language skills, traveling abroad really gave me the opportunity to use my Spanish every day. Having this opportunity made me realize what I need to work on and strengthen. I really feel blessed to have had this experience, and I can’t wait to share it with my future students.

What experiences helped you develop your target language skills?

The grammar class helped me tremendously.  The class addressed many concepts that may not be addressed in upper-level Spanish classes at SUNY Oswego.  It consisted of me and one other student, which was perfect for asking questions one-on-one and truly studying the language in depth. The first half hour was dedicated to speaking, and our teacher would ask us questions about the USA, where we lived, our family, what we did in Ecuador so far, personal hobbies, etc. It really helped me to build confidence, perfect the different tenses based on context, and eliminate the hesitation when I speak. Mere, the instructor, incorporated culture into all her lessons.  Everything was worthwhile and was centered around the different cities in Ecuador, foods, historic aspects and the things that we were going to do later that month. Living in the hostel for a month was amazing because everyone truly got to know the hotel staff that we could practice our Spanish with. I am friends with everyone on Facebook after the trip, and I keep in touch with everyone from the hotel and talk to them in Spanish on Facebook which keeps my Spanish on point.   Shopping in the market helped too because bartering was a huge part of getting the best deal there!
How did the study abroad experience help you develop cultural understandings?
Living in Quito really taught me a lot about other cultures, especially that of Ecuadorians. It’s interesting living in a foreign country because you are literally surrounded in their culture. I have always had a passion for culture and learning from others. This experience allowed me to do just that. One day we went to visit a woman in her weaving shop and we were able to watch her weave a piece. I realized how hard these women work to create such works of art. This is something someone might take for granted. Also, the process the weavers go through to make different colored dyes (using small bugs and varieties of plants) is simply breath-taking.

What special stories or experiences illustrates the value of the program for you?

One of my favorite memories was when we, as a group, attended a fútbol (soccer) game. It was a game of Ecuador versus Colombia. This game was a big deal because these teams were archrivals, and both had amazing teams. It just felt so amazing being there at the game because it was such an amazing moment, being surrounding by Ecuadorians, friends, new friends and having that feeling that you are a part of this, a part of Ecuador, a part of history.