YESENIA IN ECUADOR
Luis: What dates were you in Ecuador?
Yesenia: In July 2 weeks. Last 2 weeks of July and first of August.
Luis: How was the experience?
Yesenia: I loved it. It was very short.
Luis: You did not want to come back here right? Lol
Luis: So you stayed with a family right? How did you get the contact?
Yesenia: Where I studied medical Spanish. They know the families and they contact them so you can stay with them.
Luis: So how was it with the family?
Yesenia: Very nice. They treated me really well.
Luis: Was the Spanish very different?
Yesenia: Yeah it was so different. They had many different words!
Luis: Like what words?
Yesenia: Like choclo, it’s like corn. “Que bestia” or chevere. I was so confused at first haha.
Luis: haha. How was the experience there besides the family? What else did you do? Work, volunteering…?
Yesenia: I went to the school in the mornings and they taught me medical Spanish. Vocab and grammar mostly. In the afternoons I did service learning with kids who had speaking disabilities, some of them were paralyzed, and others could not speak. I would speak to them, play, watch movies, and brush their teeth…stuff like that.
Luis: How was that experience? Did you feel like you were doing something meaningful?
Yesenia: Yes I did. It was very beautiful.
Luis: So you were doing medical Spanish, then helping the kids, and that experience in general how would you take it, has it been very impacting?
Yesenia: Yes, it really was.
Luis: How would you say studying abroad has impacted you between the time that has passed from when you went to Ecuador to now? Has it changed your perspective on things?
"It impacted me a lot. Ecuador is very different and people are really humble. Also, the kids are so happy. It makes you see things in a different ways. It just made me realize that materialistic things do not matter. People and emotions is what is important." Yesenia Beltran
Luis: You value more emotions and human interaction and life here seems to be more materialistic correct?
Luis: Since you have been back, that has been really the big impact then?
Yesenia: Yes pretty much. They do not have much there but they are happier and we have so much here we are not.
Luis: How do you think this experience will change your life from now on? Where is going to lead you?
Yesenia: I think I would like to come back. I do not know how long. I would also love to go to other places. After this experience I want to help people who do not have medical resources to give them health care. If they don’t have money then provide that so they can afford it. Fundraiser.
Luis: Would you like to do that here in Kansas City or in other places?
Yesenia: Here too, but I would like to do it in other places.
Luis: What about positive and negative changes you have experienced since you have come back?
Yesenia: Mostly positive. A lot of learning. Very short time but I learned much. My very first day with service learning I had to go with the professor but after that I had to do it on my own and it was about 40 minutes away from where I lived.
Luis: Can you apply that learning to here or to you future life?
Yesenia: I feel like I confronted that fear.
Luis: It feels like I overcame the fear and barriers, now I can go anywhere right?
“I feel like I confronted that fear” Yesenia Beltran
Luis: Any negative experiences?
Yesenia: No not really, everything went well.
Luis: Any other positive changes you want to share? Becoming indecently, helping others…?
Yesenia: I think it was very positive to get to know people. I loved learning about the culture and they told me if I wanted to come back I could.
Luis: Comparing traditions and day to day life, how would you say Ecuador’s is different than USA?
Yesenia: For example, lunch is big there as opposed to here. Dinner is very small, not a big deal really. For lunch everyone gets together share food and talk. I liked that because people here do lunch mostly for work purposes or it’s fast.
Luis: People here are more focused in work and there is more towards family right?
Yesenia: Yes exactly.
Luis: What would you have liked to know before going there?
Luis: Did you understand the question?
Yesenia: haha yes I did I am just thinking.
Luis: I know lol it is just my Spanish is different than yours so I wanted to check if you misunderstood anything. Continue.
Yesenia: I would have liked to know more about the political situation. I heard many things there and most people did not agree with the president and the economic situation there is in the country.
Luis: You would have liked to know more about the general situation of the country there and how that would affect the population, correct?
Luis: Anything else you have preferred to previously know before going to Ecuador?
Yesenia: Yes language for sure. I know Spanish, but is much different. I did not think it was going to be that distinct.
Luis: Would you have desired to learn anything else there?
Yesenia: Maybe more foods. Like different foods, dances…etc. There were classes and stuff.
Luis: Did you dance there?
Yesenia: Yeah we went to dance salsa. It was a lot of fun! We went to a Salsa club.
Luis: nice! Anything else?
Yesenia: Being at a hospital. I would have enjoyed and learned a lot but I did not have the opportunity.
Luis: Ok. So, how would you advise someone who wants to study abroad? Like in someone who wants go to a different country? What would you tell them?
Yesenia: To just go and not be afraid. You can do fundraising to raise money. To me the money part was an obstacle. The experience is more important. You will have this experience forever so not be afraid to spend money while experiencing abroad. Experience as much as you can, learning the culture, meeting people…etc.
Luis: Basically you would advise to raise money through fundraising, to not be afraid and just do it, and to experience and get involved in the culture as much as I can. Also to not worry about spending money abroad because I will have this experience for the rest of my life, right?
Luis: Any other suggestions?
Yesenia: Learn about the country, the situation, language, culture, how they live…to have a field of what It’s like there.
Luis: How do you believe our center has helped you getting to study abroad?
Yesenia: You guys have helped me so much. Without you I would have not been able to do this. I asked Dr. Parsons and he helped with the plane tickets, the family, program information, what to expect from the experience there…etc.
Luis: I am glad! Do you have any recommendations for our center? Anything we need to improve?
Yesenia: Maybe have more information about the places students can go. Like have the different options available so students know where to study abroad.
Luis: Basically, give more information about the country they are going to correct?
Luis. Ok thank you. Why did you choose Ecuador?
Yesenia: I have always wanted to go to South America. Dr. Parsons mentioned Ecuador and I said yes I am going!
Luis: Why did you choose to study abroad?
Yesenia: I wanted to see what the difference is and what is like there. I was also interested in learning medical Spanish.
“Like I said I would like to travel and help children so I wanted to see how that experience would impact me” Yesenia Beltran
Luis: Would you like to go to a different country other than Ecuador?
Yesenia: Yes! I want to keep traveling and help people who do not have medical resources.
Luis: Would you like to share something from your experience abroad?
Yesenia: when I went to service learning I had to get in the bus and it was so packed I could not even move. The bus would also go so fast and the road was not in good shape so it was scary lol.
Luis: haha, and here you drive with your own on car in nice roads…
Yesenia: Yes lol.
Yesenia: Also food was more fresh and natural there.
Luis: How was the weather there?
Yesenia: During the day it was around 70s and at night it would go to 40s. The sun is very strong there! Even stronger than here.
Luis: Haha. Did you go to the beach?
Yesenia: No, I did not have time.
Luis: Do you still keep in contact with people there?
Yesenia: Yeah I still do. I talk to my family, friends, and people I met there.
Luis: To conclude how would you define your traveling experience, a brief summary of it?
Yesenia: With one word?
Luis: No, no. haha. I mean just a short conclusion of it.
Yesenia: It was definitely a trip that took me out of my comfort zone because there were many new things. I never traveled by myself and flying by myself…etc. Another story, I got there at 5am. Someone was supposed to pick me up and that person did not show up but she sent another person with small sign looking for me and I was at the airport for three hours looking for the person who was going to pick me up lol.
Luis: Thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate this and it will help others greatly!