Overall Experience!

Overall Experience & Thoughts — Jan 14th: Home

After being back for a couple of days and have had time to tell friends and families about my journeys and to reflect a little more — my overall experience was incredible. I’ve been saying it was a trip of a lifetime, that is almost changed my life. I wouldn’t of changed anything that happened… well maybe a couple things….

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Definitely, wished no one got super ill — Chessa and Tonja or lost their phones. But besides those things, everything went super smoothly and in order. It was AWESOME that we got to squeeze in Banos last minute. I would make it more clearly to the students next time that they can offer adventures to you to plan in cause I am sure we would of made that happen sooner if the communication was there.

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Definitely try to stay in Banos next year. That place felt like the Amazon and there was a volcano right there you could have dinner in front of. Also, the swing and zip lining was one of the most memorable things on this trip and more first for me that why not add it to the program for other students to experience that. And the hot springs would of been super cool to see since we have some here in Colorado.

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Everywhere we stayed was beautiful and new surprised, I loved that. They all had their own character where we went. It was really hard for my pick a favorite city so I was breaking it down by: favorite town, Otavalo, favorite city, Cuenca, favorite hotel, Ingapirca close second of Otavalo. That way I could show love to more than one place cause it all was so beautiful.

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I also loved how our program included a lot of the meals. I would say it was 50% of them and the fact it was a set menu most of the time was the BEST — almost spoiled feeling. Just walking into the restaurant and they brought me food without me having to speak HA. And the juice, wow the juice was the best. I am a full on water drinker here in the States so to have juice all the time was a lot for me but this juice was freshly squeezed with nothing added — pure deliciousness.

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I do think there were a couple times that I felt the meal should of been added to our program fee, like add more meals to the program dues. Because it was a set menu anyway and people didn’t really have a choice to eat there or not but yet we had to use our cash we brought. It took up a lot of time for all of us to pay and just would make it easier. There was after Devil’s Nose Train and after the Otavalo market — are the two I remember.

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I know the other group was not as close to each other as we were as group but I felt as if the rooming assignments were not very mixed or planned randomly enough. I loved who I stayed with and didn’t have any problems but I thought it would of been more mixed rather then just alphabetically doing it.

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One thing I wish we did more was hike or be outdoors. I guess we were there to see the culture and experience the business part of Ecuador instead of the nature of it but it still would of been cool to do. See more flowers, plants, animals, breath in the fresh Amazon air — especially with our famous amazing tour guide we lucked out with!!

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I tried to comment in each blog post something that I think could of been improved with the program and with just me and my experience. Looking back now, I wish I blogged more while I was there but we all clicked so well that we just want to hang out and play heads up!!

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I am super bummed about my bag being the only on that got lost of the stuff from Otavalo market. I spent a lot of money there and gave it to Natalie in full trust she had it from Otavalo on that I didn’t even think to ask her if my bag was still there. It blows my mind that it did not make it to the States but at the same time I didn’t put my hands on it after Otavalo. So it could of gotten left behind — I don’t know, I thought she was responsible for it and that may of been my fault as well to think like that. I am just really bummed and sad that it was mine. I was really looking forward to my llama blanket and scarf & then my boyfriend didn’t get his gift either. Such a bummer. Can you get me one next year Tonja?? HA.

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I was really happy to have two advisors on the trip since it especially made it useful when Tonja got sick for the last tail end of it. It was fun being a team together, having announcements and inside jokes. I think one of the things I will always take and remember AND say — is Mark’s extreme photography taking and how he would yell “LEFT SIDE, LEFT SIDE.. get the pics” or it would be right side. So funny!!! Our group couldn’t of been better. With all of us being business minor connecting us, it was great to hear the quirky facts or knowledge different people could bring to the table. Also with all the different age groups — it really made it a broad spectrum of human beings hanging. I remember at one point, I was at a table and we all were born a year apart starting with my at 1992 & there was 8 of us at the table!!

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I don’t think much needs to be changed to this program. Everything was jammed packed of learning, of seeing the culture and jumping into it. I loved every second of it. This was a great hurrah after graduation for me and I definitely made some friends for a lifetime.

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Thanks Colorado State & thanks Natalie and Tonja for a great two weeks!!

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Off to the real world now 🙂

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