About My Study Abroad Program
Major/Minor: Environmental Studies minor, Spanish for the professions
Program: Universidad de San Francisco de Quito
Location: San Cristobal Island, Galapagos, Ecuador
Term: Spring 2022
Why did you choose to study abroad and how did you select your program?
I decided to study abroad at USFQ Galapagos because I wanted a program that focused on ecology and the environment in a Spanish speaking country. I wanted to study abroad to experience a new culture as well as get to learn about the environment and ecology in a new and unique ecosystem.
What did you learn about yourself?
I learned that I am so much more adventurous than I thought and that trying new things is not so difficult, especially when you are in a situation where other people are trying something new too. I also learned that I love traveling and hope to move back to South America when I graduate.
What is one of your favorite memories from your program?
Definitely snorkeling with my class on a field trip to Santiago Island. We hiked around in the morning and saw blue-footed booby nests and then snorkeled for a couple hours in the afternoon and saw rays and sharks and so many starfish. It was so cool!
What advice do you have for future study abroad students?
I would recommend leaning on your support system of other students and faculty at hyour program as they are there to help and want you to have a good time. Don't be afraid to go tot he director if something feels off or you need help. I needed to switch host families a couple weeks in and I was really nervous to tell someone but the program was very helpful and accommodating when I explained my concerns.
How do you identify?
Could you share any experiences where your identity played a role in your time abroad?
It was a little bit difficult being gay in such on such a small island in a predominantly catholic area. I there were times when I encountered men harassing me and I was pulled over by the cops once for holding hands with a girl.
Is there any advice you would give to other students who share your identity?
I would say try to surround yourself with people in your program who are supportive and affirming. When situations occur it is nice to have other students who you can talk to and who will support you and your side of the story.
If you faced any challenges abroad, where could you turn to get the support you needed?
My friends were the most helpful.