Monday, November 16, 2015

Why would anyone want to study abroad in Latin America?

Mitad del Mundo...the middle of the World
Studying abroad in Latin America is difficult. You deal with expensive plane tickets, corrupted governments, active volcanoes, and a complicated language barrier, if you do not speak Spanish. There is a reason why Europe is more popular and more glamorous. In Italy you can take wine tasting classes, in Greece you can learn about the Spartans, and in Germany you can eat some of the best food in the world. So why would anyone choose to spend a semester in Latin America?

Why would anyone want to experience the World’s tallest capitols that tower at well over 9,000 feet in La Paz Bolivia and Quito Ecuador? Experiencing daily life at 9,000 feet above sea level is not for the weak of breath because altitude sickness can kick in at any given time. But, experiencing living in the Andes Mountains, in my opinion the most beautiful mountain range in the World, is well worth the strain on your lungs! Plus once you return to a normal elevation you can basically concur the world.

Why would anyone want to visit Machu Picchu? It’s only one of the 10 Wonders of the World and the site of one of the strongest ancient civilizations the world has ever seen (and this is coming from a Greek). But you’re right flying into the tiny Cuzco airport can be a little overwhelming, especially when WIFI doesn’t exist and you can’t get in contact with you friend whose flight was delayed because we are talking about Latin America here. However, you can always spend 10 hours hanging out in Plaza de Armas contemplating whether you will make your train to Aguas Calientes or not! But if you have any questions of course you would ask the locals who are all more than happy to answer absolutely any question you may have. Be advised that Spangilsh will become a part of your everyday speaking expeditions.

Why would anyone want to travel to the edge of the Rain Forrest to participate in adventure sports? Sure there are more mosquitoes than tourists in New York in Baños; but bug bites are temporary, memories are forever. It is not every day you can ride in the back of a truck to the swing at the end of the world, then go zip-linning through the jungle, go puenting off a bridge (similar to bungee jumping), take a chiva to a huge waterfall, and then end the night salsa dancing at a bar called Leprechaun next to another bar called “Why Not?” Where else in the world can so much be accomplished in one day in one of the most beautiful locations in the world?

Why would anyone want to take a two hour plane ride to the Galápagos?
Maybe you are religious and don’t believe in evolution, but don’t hold that against the tortoises. In the Galápagos you can swim with
any creature you have dreamt of from sea lions, turtles, sting rays, puffer fish, sharks, and penguins. So there are no unicorns, but I am sure they are working on it! Being able to walk on the beach where Darwin once sat observing the wild iguanas is a sight that you will never be able to have anywhere else in the world!

Why would anyone want to live in Quito, Ecuador? Besides for the fact that no parent of any student studying here knows how to say the name of the city, what is there to do in Quito? Let me begin with the people. Except for when dealing with public transportation the people are never in a hurry to do anything and there are so many of them you can never be bored! Ecuadorians are lovers of life and non-spicy food and they are constantly trying to make the griengas feel less nervous about not having the beautiful skin color of the Ecuadorians. I believe everyone wants to fall in love with a “Latin Lover” at one point of their life and that is probably the hardest part about studying abroad.
Ecuadorians love to dance and they will put any American to shame with their hips that do not lie. Dancing is always a part of life in Ecuador even at an Oktoberfest there will be salsa dancing. And of course Quito has a lot of beautiful landmarks you have to see while living here, before time runs up.

Why would anyone want to study abroad in Ecuador? There is not enough time for love, for traveling, for exploring the city, or trying every type of food that you want. Along with school work and going away to experience other areas there leaves little time for anything else.
And timing is never right, whether you are waiting for a bus that already left, a train that you didn’t know where to find it, or the person you suddenly feel passionately about there will never be enough time. Because, studying abroad is a race against the clock. You become friends instantaneously with people that have the same mindset as you and suddenly you are doing everything with them without even thinking about the fact that come December 24th you will be living thousands of miles apart. You try to plan trips to everywhere you want to see when all of the sudden you realize you are out of money and weekends. You try to build new relationships only to have them crumble under time constraints and language barriers. You learn to use google translate as a part of your everyday life and when you don’t have wifi you are searching for it continuously because you can’t lose a moment when the time you have left is so short. So let me ask you... 
Blue Footed Boobie

Why would anyone want to study abroad in Latin America? The question is why wouldn’t you? Maybe you are afraid of adventure? Maybe you are afraid of being pushed outside of your comfort zone? Maybe you don’t want to make new friends with people from not only Latin America, but from everywhere in the World? Or maybe you are just afraid to live?


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