Samantha Beattie recently graduated from Oregon State, where she studied History and Spanish. She ended her college experience studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito through OUS International Programs. Now, Samantha is pursuing her Master’s in Library and Information Science at the University of Washington.
My experience in Ecuador was one of the most profound and immense experiences of my life. Since I returned, I have tried to ruminate on my experiences as a whole, but I have found that this is very difficult to accomplish. There is no way to explain the experience of being immersed in the sights, sounds, and culture of another country that is so phenomenally wonderful, beautiful, and welcoming as Ecuador. My time in Ecuador was more than a vacation or a semester abroad; my experience in Ecuador will be a part of me forever.
One of my favorite parts about Ecuador is the immense beauty of the region. What makes Ecuador so unique is the incredible diversity in its landscapes. Ecuador has everything from the beautiful beaches and stunning coastline of the Galapagos Islands, to the awe-inspiring Andes Mountains, to the amazing ecosystem that is the Amazon jungle. The most amazing part is that all of these vastly different landscapes fit into a country roughly the size of Oregon.
Another reason why my experience abroad was so memorable is that I was able to immerse myself in the culture. Traveling around the country relying on only my language skills was one of the most fulfilling parts of the experience. I also enjoyed going to a University that had a mixture of Ecuadorian students and international students. However, the most beneficial part in immersing myself in the culture was living with my host family. My host family is absolutely amazing; they opened their arms to me and really made me feel a part of their family. We still keep in touch, and their friendship is one of the things I value most from my Ecuadorian experience.
Before I left to study abroad I was very excited, and had high expectations, however there was no way to really know how phenomenal the experience would end up being. Living in Ecuador is one of the most profound and shaping experiences of my life.