Where in the World is Miami Wednesday: Ecuador

Sophie on a balcony with dining tables overlooking city in Ecuador

By Nicole Richards

Editor's Note: Although Spring 2020 programs were recalled due to the pandemic, this week's "Where in the World is Miami Wednesday" offers a look at a program while it was in progress, as well as a postscript after it ended.

If you are an international student or a student who has a study abroad/away experience to share, look for the link at the bottom of this page!

In this week's, Where in the World is Miami Wednesday, we meet Sophie, a junior French Education major with a minor in Spanish who studied abroad in Guayaquil, Ecuador during Spring 2020. At Miami, Sophie is involved in Navigators.

What are you studying with your current program?

I am taking a variety of university classes here - Spanish, Screenwriting, Analysis and Production of Texts, and Ethics.

Why did you choose your study abroad program?

In choosing a program, I wanted to be immersed in Spanish in order to further develop my Spanish speaking ability. I also wanted to learn about the cultures of Ecuador, which is a very diverse country.

What are the coolest places you have visited on your program?

I've been to a couple of beautiful beaches. I even had some surfing lessons at one beach! I also visited Cuenca and Baños, two beautiful towns in the mountains. There are so many beautiful things to see and do!

What is your favorite part of your program?

Sophie and friends lie on their backs and look up at mountains in Ecuador

I have the chance to get involved in the community in the area where I am living, which gives me the chance to get to know new people and learn about the local culture here. I also have taken advantage of a lot of opportunities to travel around the country, which gives me the chance to see a lot of beautiful things and experience the diversity of Ecuador.

How has the study abroad experience changed you so far?

I'm constantly learning how to best adapt to new living situations and new experiences. I now feel better prepared to adapt to new situations. Also, my Spanish has improved a lot since arriving!

September 2020

Having my time in Ecuador cut short because of the pandemic was a real bummer. I only had a couple of hours to pack up and get ready for my flight out of Guayaquil, which was stressful and sad because I didn't get to wrap everything up the way I would have liked to.

There are a lot of good things that have come out of my time in Ecuador, though: even some things that have only happened because of the pandemic. For example, I was helping to lead the youth group at a local church while I was in Guayaquil, and I've been able to keep joining the youth group every week over Zoom, even now (almost six months later).

Sophie with her host family

I am still in contact with my host family, and I am hoping to go back to Ecuador to visit them when I have the chance to travel abroad again. I've also kept in touch with the other U.S. students who were studying abroad with me. We've bonded over our experiences both in Ecuador and coming home from Ecuador. And of course, I brought home everything I learned about Spanish and about the beautiful country of Ecuador!

Catch us next week as we continue to travel around the world to feature the amazing opportunities that Miami students are taking and the experiences our alumni have had since graduating!

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