"Ecuador's elevation changes mean
you can go to the Amazon, see a snowy
peak, and hit the beach in the same day."
The Tale: I lived in Ecuador with a wonderful host family in 2015-2016 through Trent University's International Development Studies department. I lived in Quito for a semester taking classes at La Universidad Andina Simon Bolivar, and then embarked on a community placement internship in the Amazon for a second semester. This placement was with Union de Afectados por Texaco, an environmental organization taking on the oil giant Chevron for unlawfully polluting huge swaths of the rainforest. In those eight months, I made lifelong friendships, became fluent in Spanish, and learned more than I could have ever imagined. I returned in May of 2017 to visit my host family for a month and climb Chimborazo volcano. I visited again for two months from March to May of 2018 while teaching English. I ventured to the cloud forest a few times and climbed another volcano.