“It was surreal” – Reflecting back to Ecuador

By: Brianna Barbarise

If I could sum up my experience in just two words, I would say that it was surreal. I never imagined myself visiting a paradise like the Galapagos Islands, and 1 month later I am still looking back at my pictures pretending I was still there. I got to do many activities for the first time, such as snorkeling in the open ocean at Kicker Rock, that I would never get to do here in New Jersey. I played with sea lions, took pictures with blue-footed boobies, and swam under giant sea turtles. My favorite part was getting to attend class while sitting on the beach next to sea lions. There is truly no better way to learn about the biodiversity found in the Galapagos Islands. I also got to immerse myself in the culture with my host family as I spoke Spanish every day and ate traditional Ecuadorian food. I met the most amazing friends in just two weeks, and we are already planning to visit each other soon. I am also so excited that I made connections with locals on the island of San Cristobal so I have a reason to go back in the future!

I am so thankful that GCU has given me this opportunity through the Sister Mary Catherine Sullivan Award for Global Education. I think that if anyone is considering studying abroad, they should definitely go for it! You will learn so much about a new culture by simply being there and asking questions. You will also learn a lot about yourself and your place in the world, it is truly an eye-opening experience.

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