November 19, 2009
From: Flyer News
If you get a chance to participate in any of the university's cultural immersion or study abroad programs, take advantage of those opportunities.
Last May, I had the chance to spend 28 days in the South American country of Ecuador. The study abroad program which I went through fulfilled seven credits in the areas of biology and geology, while fulfilling something personal in my life as well. I went with 10 other students and two professors and without any doubt, it really was the trip of a lifetime.
Ecuador is a strange region of the world because the geography ranges from a tropical paradise to frigid mountain terrain. During our stay, we visited the Amazon Rainforest, the major Ecuadorian city of Quito and the Galapagos Islands, and we also spent several days in the mountains, among many, many other places.
Such an experience is hard to sum up in one short article; however, it is very easy for me to try to convince other students to take advantage of such opportunities. The impression that the study abroad program made on my life is permanent. From understanding the country's use of child labor to swimming with sharks, the program covers a whole gamut of crucial experiences.
Ecuador provided a huge variety of culture and education that a student cannot achieve through taking classes at home. Every day was packed with activities and exciting, interesting people. The food was excellent and the traditions were rich with heritage.
For example, in Quito I ate a huge guinea pig. Though it seems like such an unconventional food here in the states, everyone in Ecuador loves guinea pig, and for good reason; they taste like chicken!
Going out at night was a blast. The food and drinks were cheap and the people were friendly. Everyone spoke Spanish and loved to dance.
I picked up many authentic Ecuadorian souvenirs at the giant marketplace that is held in a town called Ottsville.
Wild dogs ran rampant and the natives cooked great big pots full of rice and other tasty foods. We visited the equator and I played with squirrel monkeys in the rainforest. We roomed with tarantulas and lizards in our small cabin. I ate ants that tasted like lemons and swam in the Amazon River.
In the mountains we climbed Mount Cotopaxi at over 16,000 ft. Before heading to the Galapagos Islands, we stayed in a tourist town called Banjos where we spent our time relaxing in the natural hot springs, heated by the mountain.
Most of the group even went bungee jumping off a bridge! When we finally got to the Galapagos, we snorkeled every day and swam with sharks and sea lions. I don't want to brag, but I got to do some pretty amazing things.
While these programs can often be quite pricy, they are worth every red cent. There are also funds made available to students to help them pay.
So, with all that being said, take advantage of the opportunities we have here at UD. We are lucky to have them.