Ecuador (Leah Zwiers)

When I first thought “Ecuador”, I definitely expected a major change in almost every aspect of my life. And it is safe to say that I got what I expected. My life here is anything but boring, but this took a lot of getting used to. When our plane arrived late to Ecuador, it was no surprise that my host mother was excited to see me, but in a hurry to get out of the airport. So we rushed home and rushed me into the Ecuadorian style of living.

Now, having been here for about two months, I am definitely accustomed to the lifestyle. You get to be late with no nagging on the other end, plans can change at the last minute, and you can almost always count on people to go out of their way to do something for you (not always in a timely manner, though). A few other things you can always count on in Ecuador: there’s always more room on the buses, even if they’re filled to capacity (so don’t count on “personal space”); Ecuadorian men have no reservations with staring, muttering words, or blatantly saying “BEAUTIFUL” or “HELLO” (or something in spanish) to you as you pass them on the street; and taxi’s will always try to overcharge you. But enough with the bad, and onto the good. The people here are so warm and kind, and they’ll share anything they have with you, whether it be their car, their food, their money, anything. Ecuadorian young adults are also very into the party scene, or, “la farra”. It is perfectly acceptable to have a beer at 10 in the morning if you have a break between classes, go out on a¬†Wednesday¬†night, and stay out until the wee hours of the morning. No complaints there.

But in all seriousness, compared to the U.S, the culture here is relaxed but busy at the same time. There’s never a dull moment in this big city. No, really, car alarms and stray dogs bark at all hours of the night…I call that not dull, just annoying. I’m also fairly certain that you won’t ever meet people as warm and endearing as Ecuadorians. I have fallen in love with the people of this country. I mean, when you start off by meeting someone with a kiss on the cheek, you’re bound to become attached.

Leah Zwiers is studying abroad at Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Quito, Ecuador.

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