Hi y’all! My name is Logan, and I am a graduating fourth-year student at UGA earning degrees in applied biotechnology and biological science from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). I recently returned from Ecuador and completed the study abroad program Tropical Entomology in Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands offered through CAES.

This space will be used to enlighten and encourage those who are interested in pursuing this study abroad while also sharing some insight into my own experience. In this post, I want to share what I feel is relevant to those of you who are on the fence about committing or even applying to this study abroad – it’s okay, I wasn’t sure either.

In all honesty, I was between two programs, Ecuador: Tropical Entomology, and Scotland: Youth Engagement in Agriculture. I spent many weeks debating on which program to attend since this would be my last hurrah as a UGA student. While the cost and length of the programs certainly differed, I didn’t let those factors control my decision. I recognized that I could learn something from each of the programs despite their length and that the cost could be offset through various scholarships.

What I considered more heavily was the adventure being offered. The Ecuador program offered high adventure activities and the opportunity to learn about the natural world. Meanwhile, the Scotland program offered the ability to teach and lead elementary students through service-based learning. Ultimately, the deciding factor for me was a conversation with Amanda Newquist who encouraged me to pursue the adventure of a lifetime, one that I wouldn’t be able to replicate. The choice was more obvious than ever. I thought, “When would I ever get the chance to hike through the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest or sunbathe with sea lions in the Galapagos?”

After I was accepted to the Ecuador program, I was unsure if I made the right decision. I only knew one other person going on the study abroad and was worried that I wouldn’t make any friends. A week before our departure, I met everyone during the orientation session in Athens. I knew then that I made the right decision. I came to know a group of unique, kind, adventurous, and enthusiastic individuals all pursuing their own path, and by God’s grace we were blessed that our paths crossed.

The next few weeks included countless adventures, numerous selfies, and lifelong friends and memories throughout our time in Ecuador. During the trip I was periodically affirmed by my decision and grateful for Amanda’s insight. Therefore, I highly encourage you to reach out to Amanda or anyone involved in your study abroad program including the professor(s) and teaching assistant(s) to ask for their guidance. They will direct you to the program best suited for you, the program that will inspire and challenge you, and most importantly the program that will be the adventure of a lifetime.