It is now past midterms at USFQ and I still have not gotten over the mentality that I am on vacation here in Quito, and that vacation does not include homework. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get over it, but I just pray that my grades don’t reflect the same mentality. College here is just like any other place. However, college for me, is completely different. When I’m at home in the states, I usually have 5 or 6 classes, spread out between the entire week, and I’m also used to having at least one part-time job on the side. Here, I have 4 classes and only have them on Tuesday and Thursday. I also don’t have a job, and barely have any responsibilities around the house. Thus, my feeling of being on vacation all of the time. However, when Monday night roles around, I’m quickly reminded that I have a test the next day and about 200 pages of reading (in Spanish) that I should have read last Thursday night. Now, normally I have motivation problems at home too, because who wouldn’t rather watch a movie or sit on facebook instead of doing homework? But it’s not just minor distractions. I have a never-ending city to explore here, and friends to hang out with and Ecuadorian food to eat. It’s a great wonder to me how Ecuadorian students do it semester after semester, and with about two times as many classes as me. They never seem to be stressed out or too busy with school to do something fun. Some of this might be attributed to the fact that class is in their native language, and in my second language. Or maybe they’re slacking just as much as I am, but don’t stress out about it. Either way, homework on vacation is never fun.

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