Reflections on Quito – A Year LaterQuito, Spring 2010

It's hard to believe that a year has gone by since I left for Quito, Ecuador. It feels both like a lifetime ago and at the same time only yesterday that I left. There is no question in my mind that study abroad changed my life, my perspective, and broadened my mind to a completely different world. Before studying abroad I was not confident in the major I chose, Foreign Language and International Affairs. I wasn't sure if I would ever be as good at Spanish as I wished I could be. I had no idea what I had gotten myself into or what I would do with it when I finished. But studying abroad not only allowed me to become confident in my major but to learn to love it, and remember why I chose it to begin with. I am confident in my Spanish now, and I hope more than anything that it becomes a part of my career path. Although I may not know exactly what I want to do with my life, study abroad opened my eyes to a world of possibilities-literally. In the year or two after I graduate I would like to return to South America and hopefully teach English, or sustainable education, or work in a community. Simply put, I want to go back. If you were to ask my friends and family how study abroad changed me, they would say I've become obsessed with Latin American culture, and they would probably complain about having to put up with me still listening to reggaeton. And I would agree with them, but I also better understand the importance of taking risks in life, and putting yourself in new situations in order to grow as a person and to be able to understand and empathize with people who are coming from different perspectives, experiences, and cultures. One year later, not a day goes by that I don't think about Ecuador, the people I met, the places I went, and the adventures I had. Even though I miss everything about that semester, it also makes me excited for the future and to continue exploring and learning about our world.
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