In exactly 1 month, 9 days, 13 hours and 5 minutes, I will be seated on an airplane headed to Quito, Ecuador. I am unsure of where I will be living, what classes I will take, and who I will become friends with, but for me, that's the most exciting part. Here are some details (the ones that I know) of the time I will spend in Ecuador:
6 weeks volunteering on an organic farm on the side of Cotopaxi (one of the highest active volcanos in the world!)
10 months attending classes at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito where I will be taking classes in environmental studies, Spanish literature, and KICHWA!
Kichwa is an Indigenous language spoken by over 13 million people throughout the Andean region. My academic (and personal) interests involve the effects of extractive industry on the environment and Indigenous peoples of Ecuador, so learning an Indigenous language is important not only to communicate, but to be knowledgeable and courteous.
The most exciting part of my trip is that I am going to do it completely independently. I have chosen to directly enroll myself instead of going with a group of American students. I made this decision because I am familiar with the region, language, and culture, and I did not want to be tied down to the whims of a program director.
This information is basically all I know about what the next year of my life will look like, but I know it will be filled with adventure, friends, excitement, and traveling. (Not to mention bug bites, blisters, sun burns, food poisoning, and getting lost, but that's all part of traveling!). I am so excited and anxious to start my adventure in Ecuador and I promise I will keep posting stories and pictures!