What a start to the summer!

I just returned from a three and a half week study abroad trip to South America traveling through Peru and Ecuador. I had the best time! I got to see and experience some amazing things. A group of 15 other students and myself got to spend time in some great cities. Cities such as Quito, Mindo, Otavalo, Galapagos Islands, Cusco, Lima. I have never traveled so much in my entire life! We were immersed in the culture and we loved every second of it. Study abroad programs are so great because I got to meet a lot of great friends along with gaining some great knowledge of other parts of the world. Also getting credit hours is always a nice thing.

Peru and Ecuador are made up of culturally strong people with many traditions. To us, their life-styles and living conditions may seem of a less quality then we prefer, but as I spent more time around the people, everyone was happy and enjoying life with their friends and families. Life there is less stressful and more simplistic. Something I was sort of jealous about.

We stayed in many hotels and hostels and got to meet some great people. It is amazing to meet some of the random people you do. One student that was in our group met the owner of one of the local restaurants in Mindo, Ecuador, and she graduated from his high school in Arizona! How crazy is that?

The food there is amazingly fresh. Every meal is served with a fresh glass of fruit juice. That was my favorite part about their meals and I already miss the freshness back in the states. All of their meals come fresh weekly by animal markets they have on weekends. After eating organic and clean for a couple of weeks our group found a McDonalds in Lima, Peru and we all about got sick from all of the processed fatty foods we were not used to.

If you are considering studying abroad during your time at Purdue, DO IT! There will be no better time to travel and experience something new. Never in a million years would I ever see myself in Peru or Ecuador. But I am so thankful that I got the opportunity to travel while I am young. Purdue University and HHS offer many great trips all around the world. All are different focuses and different time frames. There are many scholarships that can help cost out as well. Or if you plan it like me, this Maymester gave me enough credits to graduate one semester early. So now I have cultural experience and graduate in December to cut out one semester’s of tuition. Look into it because there will be no better time!

— Megan Finger, Hospitality and Tourism Management

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