Sunday, August 15, 2010

Getting Ready for Ecuador

I’m going to Ecuador in three days! :) This fall I’m studying abroad there for fifteen weeks and I figured it was about time to start a blog to inform my family and friends about what's going on.

Here’s a little background info on the trip: as part of my Spanish minor at George Fox University I chose to study with NILI (Nazarene International Language Institute), a new program that GFU is supporting. The program is at a South American seminary and focuses on the Spanish language and Missionary work. There is also a travel practicum, which includes trips into the Amazon and Galapagos, and I admit, this is what first attracted me to the program.

My summer has been great. I’ve worked a lot at a bike/kayak rental shop and got to rent/repair bikes, have fun, and meet a lot of cool people. Tourists come from all over the US to visit and this summer I’ve even met people visiting from England, France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, and ironically, Ecuador. I also worked at the school as a summer teaching assistant. We had a three-week reading program for elementary schoolers and that was a lot of fun as well.

I was also able to hang out with my girlfriend Lauren, who lives in Portland. I stayed down there for a week in May and we did cool stuff around Portland, the coast, the gorge, and her family’s cabin in central Oregon where we fished and snowmobiled up to Crater Lake. She came up here for the first week in August and we did lots of island stuff like hiking, biking, kayaking, crabbing, and snorkeling. Overall it’s been a great summer and I’m almost ready to leave.

I leave the island on Wednesday night and fly all day Thursday, from Seattle to Houston to Quito. I’m hoping that this experience will improve my cultural understanding and give me a taste of what missionary work is like. But most importantly I want to become a lot better at Spanish so I can become less of a gringo. Anyway, I’ll try to post whenever fun, interesting, and awkward experiences come about. Hasta Luego.

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