It’s a bittersweet ending to the month of May. I successfully (somewhat) completed my first year of college, far away from home. I was able to partake in a once-in-a-lifetime experience by studying abroad in Ecuador. Before I start my school year, I never imagined that I would be travelling abroad this year. My next move is to drive back home to Massachusetts and then go visit some family.

I absolutely loved seeing various spots in Ecuador. The beginning of the trip was in the cloud forest on a reserve called Maquipucuna. The views were stunning. Then we travelled to the rainforest on a reserve called Yachana. The views there, of the Napa River, were even more incredible (if possible). But my favorite part of the trip was going to the Galapagos Islands. They were amazing. The views, the air, the water, the people. All so amazing! I would love to live on the islands, too bad I don’t have family roots there.

Reflecting on my trip, I grew so much. I learned so much from my two courses, Animal Behavior, and Entomology, but I also learned so much from/about the culture. It feels like I am coming back to the States a new person with a fresh mindset. A new way to look at the world (especially in a more appreciative lens) is healthy for me. I have always unintentionally been biased towards my own American culture, but this trip allowed me to witness and understand a different culture. I have already decided that I will return and hopefully do some veterinary work by vaccinating all the stray dogs. I am so grateful that UGA gave me the opportunity to further my learning while being enriched by a different culture in a foreign country.

P.S. I also got to take a picture in a hollowed-out tortoise shell!