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Winter at the Equator

March 2013

During Winter Break, MSW program director Katie VanBlair and three students went to Ecuador. The following is a brief account of their trip.

While in Ecuador we lived with host families in Cuenca for two weeks. This experience brought out many interesting learning opportunities, not only about the culture, but also about ourselves. Furthermore, living with our families truly immersed us in the culture and allowed us to see a different way of life. Many of the families opened their hearts and homes to each of us and made us feel like we were a member of their family. Mothers often called us "mi hija" (my daughter) and our siblings called us "mi ñaña" (my sister). This gave us an opportunity to see how the people of Ecuador live on a day-to-day basis which allowed us to experience the hidden treasures of the city as well.

No picture could do the daily scenery any justice, and it still seems that the only way to truly understand the immense beauty would be to travel there yourself. Everywhere you looked you saw a mountain.

We also traveled to the middle of the world (the Ecuador) and the Ecuadorians gave us a different perspective on the ways to view many things including our own globe. One main difference was the great amount of color all throughout Ecuador. Color was in nature all around us and the natives proudly recognized this and represented their beautiful land with their colorful clothing.

Although we were able to travel and see the scenery we took classes to further our knowledge in our respective majors that applied to a broader worldview, which also included writing a blog. Survival Spanish is how we started our weekdays to help us better communicate with the people of Ecuador. This also gave us an opportunity to bond with the other Ambrosians from different majors. Not only did this allow us to make new friends, but we also got to learn a great deal about other health science professions.

All in all, Ecuador was an amazing experience that left us all wondering if we could extend our visas!

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