I sat staring at this blank white box for a full 20 minutes, trying to come up with the perfect words to sum up my experience; to solemly bring closure to this life changing journey.
Suddenly, like a sign from God, I recieved this notification from our Facebook group “Ecuador Study Abroad 2013” from my peer and 4 time Ecuador veteren, Erik Brown:
“What a wild, crazy ride we’ve had! We’ve stood on the exact middle of the world, climbed a volcano, sailed the sea, snorkled with sea turles, manta rays, and sharks, danced underwater with sea lions, and visited with the largest & most endangered tortoises in the world. We’ve tubed down river from a huge waterfall, and shook hands with wild monkeys. We’ve played Pitch in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on one of the purest & least visited Islands on Earth, and insured nearly 700 Ecuadorian children’s smiles for 6 months. Who else can say this!?!”
Hit the nail on the head, Erik Paul Brown.
The relationships I have developed with my peers and the faculty on this trip is definitely the most valuable thing I will walk away with. While hiking up a volcano, I got to know Suzanne, a pre-med student looking to specialize in pediatric oncology. It turns out, we had Animal Physiology last semester together and did not even realize it. I got to know Lauren, who broke her foot the third day of the trip but snorkeled with us every day and never let it slow her down. I could go on for hours about each person I met and something I learned about them. It was amazing that 35 strangers could be dropped off on a desolate island in South America and walk away friends (we should have made a reality show it would have been super inspirational).
Dr. Coffey and Dr. Guffey: Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for sacrificing your time to making these trips happen. The knowledge I have gained abroad is incomparable to anything I have ever acquired in a classroom. I wish that every single WKU student, regardless of their major, could experience this. It truly has been a blessing and you two were definitely placed in my life for a reason.
I am blessed to return to the United States with many new experiences, lessons, and new friends.
I’ll see you soon, South America.