Sarah Nostdal ’09
Environmental Sociology major Sarah Nostdal ’09 studied in Quito Ecuador with SIT Ecuador: National Identity, Ethnicity, and Social Movements.
I did an independent study project that dealt with my experiences living with an indigenous family and working with monkeys at an animal rescue center.
While in Ecuador I had the opportunity to live in three different households all with very different lifestyles. The program also traveled around Ecuador giving us the experience of living in various hostels.
It was hard for me to gain enough confidence in my Spanish-speaking abilities to be comfortable conversing with Ecuadorians. But from the beginning, the program found ways to force us to go out and talk with people to show us how easy it can be. After that it was just a matter of finding ways to let my personality show in a different language.
I feel like my Spanish finally clicked; over the course of the program I jumped from the intermediate level to advanced. I also was able to gain a new understanding for Ecuador that ranged from history to politics to geography to overall culture and beliefs.
Two pieces of advice for future students: You can definitely survive without your laptop; And it's better to pack lightly and have room to bring stuff back.