For the majority of the 18 international students that recently completed a semester studying at UIDE, their exchange was a total success. Last March, students came from six different countries—China, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands—and for many, it was their first time in Ecuador and even in Latin America.
They took advantage of their time here to travel a lot, including to the Galapagos Islands, the Pacific coast, different national parks and the Amazon. Some trips were organized by the International Student Club and the UIDE Buddies program. Local student involvement with the exchange students has been very important: they helped their classmates with university-related issues, planned get-togethers and trips, accompanied them to the hospital when they inevitably got sick and they saw them off at the airport. We are sure they created lasting relationships.
The exchange students have finished their classes and returned to their home countries, but they’ve left us with some insightful reflections on their time at UIDE and in Ecuador:
“Doing this exchange made me even more independent and gave me more insight. I learned a lot about Ecuadorian culture, which will help me in my professional life because I’m specializing in trade between Latin America and Europe. I’m going to miss everyone at UIDE, be they classmates or staff and everyone who was part of my exchange, changing me and my way of seeing things.” – Daniel Amador, Spain
“Starting with my first week in Ecuador, I felt like part of a family. Everyone was really nice and helpful, and I’ve made a lot of Ecuadorian friends. I never felt in danger anywhere in the country, and I never felt alone.” – Robert Jan Haman, The Netherlands
“My UIDE exchange was a success. I made a lot of friends, both inside and outside the university with whom I had a lot of great experiences: we traveled to the Amazon, the beach, Baños, etc. and I learned a lot. I lived in an apartment with two roommates who are now my good friends. I’m glad I was able to spend time with both Ecuadorians and other foreigners like myself, so I could get a better perspective of what life in Ecuador is like.” – Michael Lenoir, France
“I really enjoyed Ecuadorian culture, and I learned a lot about Latin America. I had the chance to travel to incredible places, and I met some really great Ecuadorians who I will definitely see in Italy in the future. My overall experience was great; I recommend it and everyone at UIDE was very nice. Thanks for everything, I feel really satisfied and happy.” – Dario Azzaro, Italy
“My favorite experience in Ecuador was the excursion to the Amazon and Yasuni National Park. The biggest challenge for me was taking classes in Spanish, but I felt supported by my classmates. Through my exchange, I was able to experience a reality of life different from my own, and this will help me be more understanding and empathetic in all my personal and professional relationships in the future.” – Elena Schio, Italy
This semester we received 15 new international students, part of UIDE’s cultural and academic exchange program and its effort to integrate internationalization in all its activities.