Becky Ward was a Music intern in Ecuador from January to May of 2015
It’s now been almost 4 months since I returned from my time in Ecuador earlier this year. Having done some volunteering abroad since then in Ghana, it is nice to be back in the UK for the time being, especially as my time in Ghana (with a non-PAA program) was much less enjoyable than my time in Ecuador. I’ve had some time to really think about my time in Ecuador and to begin to process what I learnt whilst I was there.
I have realised how much Spanish I actually managed to learn whilst I was out in Ecuador after conversing with a friend in Spanish and reading books in Spanish. I didn’t really think about how much of a skill this would be once I got home; I was only really concentrating on trying to understand what was being said around me and to me. I also found that I really enjoyed learning the language and getting progressively better as time went on.
I have also really noticed the monotony of the English landscape since returning from Ecuador, where there are volcanoes everywhere as well as the rainforest and the Galapagos Islands. I miss walking out of the house in the morning to see the volcano Pichincha towering over me. It’s impossible to reach any higher than 1000m in the UK whereas in Ecuador I was living at 2800m. Big difference!
One of my favourite things about Ecuador is the range of fresh fruit and vegetables that is readily available. I really love drinking fruit juices and smoothies, and some of my favourite fruits are things that I tried in Ecuador that you just cannot buy in the UK. Some of the fruit is available at specialist markets but I miss being able to walk into a supermarket and buy Guanabana and Granadilla and dragon fruit and so, so much more.
I have talked a lot about what I miss, and it is easy to forget that there were things that I missed a lot about the UK whilst I was in Ecuador. I can eat some of the foods I love most, like cheeses and chocolates and pasta and pizza which were very rare in Ecuador! It is nice to be in the same time zone as my family and friends again, and to be able to see them so much more easily!
For now, I have no plans to go back to Ecuador but I would really like to show friends and family what a beautiful country it is. Pictures are great but there’s no substitute for seeing Ecuador’s mountains, volcanoes, beaches, valleys, rainforests and cloud forests for yourself. I feel very lucky to have been able to go to such a great country and to be able to do something so worthwhile whilst I was there as well!