In the Words of All Nine Ecuador 2012 Returnees…

“This trip has been a great experience. Travel like this will expand your mind and allow you to see the whole of a country from different perspectives. When I have traveled before, it has been to big cities and not as much about the indigenous people, or the culture.

“The trip leaders are super nice and our guide was one of the coolest people I have ever met. DGA is a great program and I am seriously considering going again on a different trip.”
- Presso

“It was a perfect mix of adventure, fun, and immersion. This trip is ideal for someone who loves to travel, enjoys learning about different cultures, is bold, and enjoys being adventurous. We had an amazing time hiking, rafting, and touring the country as well as an unforgettable cultural exchange.”
- Alex P.

“For students looking for language, culture, to see some of the world’s most incredible sights, and a broader world view, DGA’s Ecuador trip is an incredible opportunity. The Amazon, volcanoes, the equator, and Quito are just some of the sights. This is an opportunity you don’t want to miss.

“My personal highlight was the homestay in Agato. Knowing the kids, the families, the food, and the house was an experience of a lifetime. I’ll never forget my first night with the family, the meal on the blanket, or when Chosky, my little host brother, cried on our last night… those will stick with me for a lifetime. The genuine warmth that flowed from the people made it a highlight.”
- Jake

“The Dawson Global Adventures trip to Ecuador is a perfect fit for someone looking to see another culture without immersing themselves to the point of discomfort. The Spanish level is a nice balance, and the program gives you options if anything is too much to handle in the homestay. It is well thought out, safe, and a great learning experience. I feel more willing to stray from the beaten path as a traveler now, and try to see what hidden beauties the world might hold. I have never before seen a culture as close up as this.

“The cultural experience in Agato was spectacular. The way Rumi’s speech during the first night awakened me was unlike anything else. If I could spend a month there, working with the people and living as they live, under the Imbabura Volcano, I’d do it in a heartbeat.”
- Mike

“I truly got to know my host family’s lifestyle and live like they do. It really touched me how they wanted to hear about my life and be friends with me on Facebook. By the end of my stay I could truly see I touched them and helped or taught them something in some way. I could honestly never forget them. They changed me for the better and helped me realize that family won’t always be there, so spend time with them while you can and never take them for granted. I not only love my family, I can say I truly loved and love my host family.

“You should go on this trip because it is a lot of fun. I wasn’t quite sure what this trip was going to be like at first. To be able to bring 9 students from 4 completely different schools together is awesome. These people are not just some friends – they’re my family. You don’t get to say that a lot. Plus, you get to do some amazing things. You don’t always get the chance to go to the rainforest and do community service or go live with a host family and truly immerse yourself in their lifestyle. This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip and there is nothing like it. I think I would have truly regretted not going on this trip because it was truly unbelievable!”
- Meaghan

“This was a fantastic experience. We visited so many amazing and culturally rich places. We also got to experience many fun things. Visiting the community of Agato is something I will never forget. The people at Agato are a group of native people who have flourished due to their rich cultural heritage. The families we stayed with were so kind and loving and always put us in front of themselves. The rafting and horseback riding were also really fun, awesome experiences. In total, this is an amazing trip.”
- Chris

“This program is great because of its size and purpose. On a previous trip I’ve taken, our group was nearly five times the size of this one. So most of the time, the leaders were double-checking to make sure all of the students were still there, whereas with DGA, the small group allows for each student to bond with all the other students as well as the leaders. Also, on other trips I’ve been on, the itinerary has been jam-packed. Here in Ecuador, though, the purpose isn’t tourism-oriented. We aren’t constantly going, so we have more time in each place we visit to really let our surroundings sink in.

“I really enjoyed our service project in Machacuyacu. I was amazed at how many people wanted to help and how fast we finished it. It’s great knowing that we helped fund and build a preschool that will be appreciated.

“I really think the culture will stick with me. We visited so many diverse places.  After living in the same city in the same state in the same country for my whole life, I’m so used to the culture that we have. But to be completely immersed in other cultures and seeing what “normal life” is like for them is like a huge wake-up call that there’s a lot more going on than you realize. Plus, I think my Spanish really improved on this trip!”
- Logan

“I would recommend this trip because of how much we were able to do in a short amount of time. You really do see totally different cultures, you improve your Spanish, and you help others. Also you leave with a more worldly perspective.

“My best experience of this trip was the homestay. It was an extremely different experience because none of the teachers or parents were with us. We were independent. The homestay allowed me to use my Spanish and at first I was afraid to. I thought I was going to mispronounce or say the wrong thing, but I eventually just grew comfortable with my family and if I made a mistake, that is how I learned.

“Our host families live much more simply than we do. They live off the land and rely on handmade items for a source of income. Also I admired how much family meant to them. Even though they didn’t have as much, they wanted to give as much to us as they could. I will take away how although they weren’t as rich in terms of wealth, they were still rich in the sense of family and their roots.”
- Alex E.

“You should go on this trip to Ecuador because it is full of really cool experiences that I would have never done in my entire life. I feel like my Spanish improved and I liked getting so many opportunities to speak Spanish. If you don’t go on this trip, you are missing out on some of the greatest experiences I have and probably will encounter in my life.

“The homestay was an amazing experience because all of the people there were so nice and grateful to have us there. I also like being able to see how our family lived on a day-to-day basis, how they got their food, how they prepared it, and most of all getting to interact with them in Spanish. The ceremony the village put on for us before we left was something I will never forget. It really showed me how much our stay meant to them. I also really enjoyed going to different markets and seeing all the beautiful things the people have made and the experience of seeing them make it was also amazing.”
- Morgan