[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his past Christmas break I was blessed with the unforgettable opportunity to travel to Ecuador as a part of the Ohio University Documentary Storytelling in Ecuador study abroad group. After discovering this prospective study abroad trip, I immediately applied, as I saw nothing but great outcomes beneficial to my future career, personal goals and life dreams.

I cannot say with enough enthusiasm and sincerity that this trip did not disappoint. The amount of astounding information, bitter-sweet realizations and new, dissimilar perspectives that I collided with head first is unexplainable and currently drawing tears from my eyes as I write this post. I could not avoid the things I saw or the real-world experiences I was struck with, and I cannot say that from this I am upset or saddened. Instead, my horizons are broadened, my goals are over-flooded and great knowledge has been gained. This was my first time traveling to another country, my first time traveling outside of the United States, and it was to the indescribably beautiful “third-world” country named Ecuador. Not surprisingly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Living in Quito, Ecuador was truly fascinating, along with our various treks to Pichincha Volcano, Ibarra and the Galapagos Islands. I was able to witness everyday Ecuadorians, the hustle and bustle of Old Town, the solitude of being on a farm in Ibarra and the remote, serene landscapes throughout the Galapagos Islands. While taking this all in, my group and I also produced a documentary on American expatriates moving to Ecuador. Through this documentary I not only learned multiple new aspects of documentary filmmaking, and filmmaking in general, but I was also given the opportunity to see another side of Ecuador.

Ecuador has been rated as one of the world’s “best places to retire” by various sites and sources, such as International Living, Forbes and US News. Many Americans have moved to Ecuador, especially in locations like Cuenca, as a result of cheaper living, beautiful scenery and a warmer climate. Ecuador also provides three completely different terrains; to the West you will discover the Pacific Ocean, through the middle of Ecuador and up North are the Andes Mountains and Eastward is the Amazon Rainforest.

While producing our documentary, my group and I were able to meet with a multitude of individuals from the United States who moved to Ecuador for disparate reasons. We were also given the chance to view gorgeous landscapes, film in fabulous housing and meet some amazing individuals. Through our documentary, we hope to bring light to the many positive and negative effects resulting from American expatriates moving to Ecuador, for both Americans and Ecuadorians. I am very proud of my team for working so well together and becoming one in an effort to produce this short film in a VERY short time.

Espero que os guste!

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