Hi there! I am Taylor Hogan and I am a graduating senior that just got back from my UGA Study Abroad Program: Tropical Entomology in Ecuador and the Galapagos. I applied for this program last year, but it was sadly canceled due to Covid, so I was ecstatic to be able to go on it this year. As a College of Agricultural and Environmental Science student at UGA, I believed the opportunity to travel to Ecuador would allow me to achieve a deeper understanding of animal sciences related to species beyond canines and felines.  While no longer on the pre-vet pathway, I was still dedicated to my animal science major even though I was on the production and management side of it.  My goal was to get out of my comfort zone so that it could lead me down a new path in life of traveling that I can enjoy. I wanted to enhance my last bit of college before going off into the world and what better way to do that than travel with UGA?

I have never been anywhere outside of North America, so I was a bit nervous to travel far from home. In order to make myself feel at ease, I started to make a list of all the things I would need on the trip pretty early on to allow myself to prepare. Once I was able to meet with my professor and fellow classmates for the trip, I started to feel confident in traveling. I also organized my passport, health declaration, vaccine card, and itinerary in a folder to keep everything organized when going through Customs which ended up helping a lot.

After our 5 hour flight to Quito, we headed to our hotel for the night called the Selina. For our first full day in Ecuador, we made our first stop at the Intinan Museum which is located at the center of the world! We did a tour of the museum that included discussions of the native tribes of Ecuador along with seeing a live guinea pig farm. Of course, we also took some pictures on the equatorial line! (Fun Fact: you feel lighter when walking on the line!) After that, we visited the Pululahua Crater which offers the most beautiful views I have ever seen. The Pululahua Crater is interesting because it is one of two volcanoes in the world that is inhabited (the volcano is inactive). Our last stop of the day was at Yunguilla which is a small community that makes homemade marmalade, cheese, yogurt, and crafts. The views from there were spectacular as well.