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Journals from Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador

2009-10-01 Classes and weekend trips

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Standing in two hemispheres at once

The classes here at the Universidad de San Francisco are pretty similar to those at Linfield. They are pretty small: there are about 20 people, give or take some in all of my classes and the professors seem to really care about the students and make sure that we learn the most that we can. The classes Im taking are Advanced Spanish, Advanced Conversation, Andean History, and Enlightenment in Ecuador. Andean History and Enlightenment in Ecuador are by far the most interesting classes that I have. I have the same professor for both of them and she really focuses on how we can connect the past with the present, so I am learning a lot about the Ecuadorian culture at the same time. In Andean History weve been talking about how Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia and Peru are united by the fact that they are all in the Andes, have the same language and were conquered by Spain, but their histories, economy, and cultures are all so diverse that it is difficult if not impossible to make comparisons between all of the countries. Enlightenment in Ecuador is all about the effects of the Enlightenment in Ecuador in the 18th Century, the role it played in the revolution, and the relationship between the Catholic Church and the great thinkers in Ecuador at the time. So most of my weekends here I have spent exploring Quito and hanging out with my host family. My second weekend in Quito I went to the Mitad del Mundo (the Middle of the Earth) with some other students in the Oregon program in order to be super touristy and take pictures standing on two hemispheres at once. It was pretty cool, even though the GPS says that the museum is a couple hundred meters away from the equator. We also went to a museum called the Templo del Sol (Temple of the Sun) and saw the largest volcanic crater in South America. The crater was really interesting because it is large enough for agriculture and a small community. Another weekend I went with my host family to the zoo, which is a little bit outside of Quito. Other than the fact that the zoo was really small, it was cool because the only animals they have there are native to Ecuador, except the lions. The habitats of the animals were also quite a bit smaller, which is sad for the animals, but cool for us because they were a lot closer and easier to see.

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