Hola from Galápagos! Here is a look into the first couple weeks of my study abroad experience!
After a adventure-packed and quick month on the Mainland in Quito, I have finally made it to the Galápagos! I am staying on the island of San Cristóbal, and attending the University of San Francisco’s extension program here. I am on the Marine Ecology track, so I get to spend the next 3 months learning all about the marine wildlife here on the islands and doing research to know more about them. Traditional class schedules aren’t offered here, instead we take 5 classes in intensive, 3-week intervals (kind of like mini Jan Terms!). I am currently taking a Marine Life class, which includes lectures in the classroom about identification, anatomy, conservation status, and other facts regarding endemic species of the islands, and then time spent out on the island and in the surrounding ocean studying the species. Earlier this week our class took boats out to scuba dive and snorkel with hammerhead sharks and manta rays (let me add that there were no cages present, we were free diving with sharks and I was terrified)!
Aside from school, life in San Cristóbal has been a blast. It is obviously very different from the United States, and even mainland Ecuador. With only 6,000 people, it is a very small, tight-knight community where everyone knows everyone. So much so that you can get into a cab, tell the driver the last name of the family who’s house your going to, and they will know exactly where to go! I live with a host family here, which has been another adjustment, but also one of my favorite parts! I have had kind of a unique experience, and only had host moms both in Quito and here in San Cristóbal, with no host siblings. However, spending time with my host moms has been the best way for me to get immersed in the Ecuadorian and Galápagos cultures, and has presented me with so many learning opportunities. You become so close in such a short time! It is also summer here right now, which means heat and humidity. Much different than the polar vortex that is the United States right now, but it’s not too big of a problem when campus is right across from the beach!
Here’s a couple photos from my time here:
I am enjoying island life more and more every day, and am so excited for all the other adventures that await me in the coming months!