Hello friends! My name is MaryEllen Krah and this semester, I am studying abroad in Quito, Ecuador. On August 15, I arrived here and after a few days of transitioning to the altitude, I quickly settled into the apartment in Quito. My host family has had at least 15 BC students over the past five years, so they know exactly how to help me figure out the city, plan weekend trips with other BC kids, and most importantly make the apartment feel like my own home. I was nervous to be living with so many strangers, but I cannot think of a more perfect way to get to know the country.
Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ) is in a valley outside of Quito (think Chestnut Hill vs. Boston but add a 600 meter elevation difference). By looks, it is completely the opposite from BC. The buildings are made out of stucco and almost everything is open, the way I imagine schools in California where it is always sunny to be. There is a garden and pond instead of a quad, and two Great Danes wander around the campus. While everything visually is so different from BC, there are a lot of similaritites in the organization of the university. I am taking five classes — Ecuadorian culture and history, Bilingualism and Bilingual Education, Spanish conversation, Language and Film, and Physics. All of my classes are in Spanish and I am already overwhelmed by this! Living with a host family gives me plenty of time to practice, but my notes for my classes have already turned into a lot of Spanglish.
I am so excited that my semester has only just begun! There is a lot to do in this beautiful little country and I am excited to explore as much as I can. Hasta luego!