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Anna Johnstone’s Blog

Spanish & Service Learning Program in Ecuador – After arriving in Quito with a couple other NSCC students, we met up with the rest of the students for orientation, who were going to be in the program with us. Eight of us in total. We spent the first few days learning a little bit about the program and what to expect within the school, city, and our host families. We had city tours of Quito, visited the equator, and got to shop the Otavalo market. When we finished our touring, we flew from Quito to Guayaquil, met our families in the airport, and our group parted ways for the night.

The next day in class is when it really sunk it what I was doing. I have travelled before with groups, my family, and on my own. It was always for pleasure, never to study abroad. So during my first Spanish class at UEES here in Ecuador, my teacher was asking me, very intensely, how to make an apple pie. I didn’t know how to answer her, and she kept saying more things to me in a language I didn’t fully understand. It resulted in tears. Culture shock is a real thing.

 That is when it all hit me that I’m away from home for 7 weeks. I’m living in a brand new city with an Ecuadorian family, studying their culture and language at a new school, and so far away from everything I’m used to having in my life every day.

It wasn’t until the end of the third week in the program that I started my service learning. I consider myself to be lucky with the placement I got: working at an animal rescue centre. The first day my friend and I went, we had to take the public busses for the first time. We didn’t know where our stop was, so we asked a guy on the bus. Next thing you know, we had a few different men, including the driver, looking out for us making sure we got off where we needed to be. It was honestly the best part of my day to go to the shelter to look after, cuddle, and play with the dogs and the cats.

Living an Ecuador was definitely an adjustment to make and something to get used to. And now that I have gotten used to life here, between living in this country and being able to travel on the weekends, I’m happy to have come here and experience everything that I did.

Anna Johnstone

Tourism Management Student

NSCC Akerley Campus 

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