Name: Kim Lally
Hometown: Vail, Iowa
Major: English, Speech/Communications, and Theatre Education
What country or countries did you study abroad in? Ecuador
How long were you there? 4 months
Why did you choose to study in that location? It was one of the only study abroad options our school offers for education majors and I was very interested in learning about country that was similar, yet very different from America. I also wanted to become more fluent in my Spanish. On a side note, it was the only place I could convince my parents was not too far away or in a completely different time zone that if something happened we could easily get ahold of one another.
What is your favorite memory? There are so many great memories I made while studying last semester, it's hard to choose just one! I loved every moment I spent with my host family as well as the friends I made while abroad. Of course, I could never forget the people who traveled with me into an unknown culture. Everything from making chocolate in the Amazon Jungle, to the beach trips we took during the semester, to our farewell dinner was a memory I will never forget. One of many memories, however, was dancing in a parade through all of Cuenca for a native holiday season called Carnaval.
How did your experience abroad impact you as a person? I feel like I completely changed but in a very good way. I always thought I was accepting of differences before I studied abroad, but now I know I am because I experienced being the minority in a different culture. It was a shock to realize how different and challenging it is to be a minority and an oddball. I am also much more appreciative of everything I have here-the technology, the efficiency in business, and how I am treated in our society because I am a majority. It took me a semester-long trip to Ecuador to realize the importance of family.
Do you have any advice to other students about studying abroad? Like those bright orange shirts on campus say, "Study abroad is good for you"... After I traveled I realize what that slogan means. It changes your life in so many ways but it will only make you a better person. Study abroad as soon as and as many places as you can!
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