Ask me where I've been: Ecuador

Anna Fiastro

Major(s) Biology
Hobbies hanging out with friends, soccer, basketball, dancing
Hometown Tucson, Arizona
Program/Study Site SIT Study Abroad Ecuador Comparative Ecology and Conservation
Anna Fiastro | Ecuador

Why study abroad?

Study abroad is a unique opportunity to go somewhere completely new but still have a support structure while you are there. Academically, SIT stresses the importance of experiential learning outside of the classroom that we are all so comfortable with. You end up with great stories and insight in addition to a diverse group of friends that you will never forget.

Why did you choose Ecuador?

I chose South America to immerse myself in the Spanish language. For biology majors, the tropics contain ecosystems with unparalleled biodiversity; my program included field research in the Amazon rain forest and the Galapagos Islands.

What courses did you enroll in while abroad?

Spanish Language, Comparative Ecology Seminar, Environmental Field Study Seminar, and an Independent Study Project researching sea turtle nesting beaches and a juvenile population.

What was your living situation?

The program had us moving around a lot from week to week. I stayed everywhere from a rural homestay in a cloud forest, a research station in the rain forest, a homestay in Quito, to a boat in the Galapagos. Each was very different but all meaningful. Although sometimes difficult, the homestays provided the most insight into the culture.

What did you do for fun?

Soccer! I have been a soccer player since I could walk, stuck in a culture that prefers baseball and football. I really enjoyed going to the professional soccer games in a stadium filled with people who loved the sport as much as I did, singing and chanting in unison until hoarse.

The most challenging aspects of your experience:

The most challenging aspect of the program was facing some of the more extreme cultural differences. Given the core values that Scripps has instilled in me, living in a machismo culture, while eye opening, was frustrating.

Final comments or suggestions for future participants:

It's more difficult coming back to your own culture that you thought you knew so well but seems to have changed, than entering an entirely new world.


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