The first week of the study portion of SST continued the daily immersion of new sights, sounds, and experiences that began in orientation last week. The contrast between SST and many other international exchange programs is that after each day full of classes and activities, students return home to their Ecuadorian host families. The host family stay offers students a chance to more fully experience the day-to-day life of Ecuadorians as a true part of the family. Students who have participated in other international travel experiences highlight the continuous host family stay as a significant difference in the SST experience from other international experiences.
This week we began the expansion of Spanish language skills, visited art and history museums, and heard lectures about recent Ecuadorian political and indigenous ideological clashes. As we continue to experience the uniqueness of this beautiful country, we have the opportunity to wrestle with the darkness and light of the human experience in a context very different from our own. It is a privilege to deepen our understanding of our own place in this vast world we inhabit.