Anna details her impactful experience as one of many students from the University of Louisville who traveled to Ecuador in March 2020 as a part of the Kentucky-Ecuador Chapter’s study abroad program in Ecuador. The students visited seven schools in five days, where they provided fluoride varnish to improve children's dental health and taught English. All 10 students who participated are now Kentucky-Ecuador Chapter members.
My International Learning Program trip to Ecuador was an experience that I will never forget. For me, it was all about stepping out of my comfort zone and being proud of my decision.
I have always been a super anxious person and tend to not push myself out of my element. Applying to this trip was the first of many times that I stepped out of my comfort zone. When I heard the news that my application was accepted, my prevailing emotion was excitement with some nervous undertones.
As the departure date approached, I had second thoughts about going at all. All of the “what ifs” swirled around in my head. I once again stepped out of my comfort zone and walked onto the airplane. Doing this was one of the best decisions I ever made.
One of the greatest challenges I faced on the trip was socializing, both with everyone in our travel group and the students and teachers at the schools we visited in Ecuador. The nine other students on the trip were really easy to talk to and get to know.
We were told that we would all be super close by the end of the week and I didn’t believe it for a second. To my surprise, we were all crying on the last day because we didn’t want the trip to end and to leave each other.
During this trip I not only gained valuable experience teaching, providing lesson plans, and using my Spanish, but I also gained a sense of accomplishment. I was able to achieve something I’d only dreamed of doing and had an amazing time. I would recommend this trip to anyone who is seeking an incredible teaching experience and wanting to step out of their comfort zone.