Life could not be more fabulous down here on the equator. - April
Hope everything is great in Dallas. My trip started with a month in mainland Ecuador. I lived in Quito on the Universidad San Francisco de Quito's main campus, but traveled to Riobamba, Coca, Otovalo, and the Tiputini Biodiversity Station in the Amazon rainforest. I took Population ecology and really enjoyed the class. Our classes are in three-week module formats.
We (I'm in a group of 22 students mostly from the US, but also from Ecuador, Bolivia, Austria, Norway, and Canada) came to the Galapagos Islands on February 4 and have been living in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (population 6000) ever since. I live with a host family, which is wonderful for improving my Spanish and getting to know the local population. My "dad" is a fisherman and also my family owns a small pig farm in the highlands of the Island. I have traveled to Espanola, an uninhabited island full of wildlife. Blue-footed boobies, iguanas, sea lions, frigate birds, and other amazing marine life is so abundant. Â This Thursday, I will be going on an eight-day boat trip around the Islands. I have been scuba diving about six times and am getting advanced certified. Also, I took my second class, Evolutionary Biology, here on the islands. These three weeks, I decided to not take a class and only volunteer. I volunteer at a summer camp for children aged 6-12 teaching English in the mornings and in the evenings, I volunteer at the local hospital. I have had so many opportunities at the hospital including observing two births (one caesarean and one natural) and doing my first injection. All of these experiences have also really helped my Spanish improve. Pictures should follow soon; my memory cards were in a purse that was stolen, so the task is a bit more difficult than it seems. Also, internet connections on the Islands are pretty shaky. Besides that, all is so well. I'm feeling great and learning so very much.
Thanks for all!
Laura m Anderson
Six months after arriving in Dublin Ireland - March
I have been exceedingly happy with my entire study abroad experience thus far. The International Student Office at Dublin City University (DCU) has been very helpful and supportive and I have been very impressed with the quality of the teaching and faculty here at DCU. I have been exposed to a number of quality events and guest lectures related to my postgraduate field of study in Globalisation, many more than would have been the case had I remained at UTD for the 2006-2007 academic year. The Postgraduate Globalisation program at DCU has been everything I hoped for and more.
I have made many friends from Ireland as well as from other countries around the world over the past 6 months. My on-campus apartment is modern, clean and roomy and has a beautiful view of the park next door. I am a 5 minute walk from all of my classes, the Library, Sports Club and DCU's campus Canteen, Pubs and Lounges. The bus stop, which has a bus into the city centre every 5-10 minutes, is also only 5 minutes away from my apartment building. There is a lot to do and see both in the city and on weekends when I sometimes travel to other areas of Ireland or other cities in Europe, like London, Barcelona, Paris and Amsterdam.
Be forewarned that the DCU library has shorter operating hours than McDermott (8am-10pm) and is closed on Sunday. You don't want a car here because it's like New York City, expensive to own, operate and to park, but you don't need one because public transportation is so good. A bike or motor scooter would be a better idea. The Irish don't like President Bush but they love Americans (and our accents) in spite of him. The Irish economy is booming and the cost of living is much higher than it is in Dallas, but the people here are just as friendly if not more so. I have made so many friends here; it will be hard to leave them behind at the end of this summer. All in all, coming here for a year of postgraduate study in a different culture and environment is one of the best things I have ever done. But bring an umbrella because unlike Dallas, it rains almost once a day in Dublin. That is the main reason why this country and its vegetation are so green, thus its nickname, the Emerald Isle.
Visit my website at http://myspace.com/charleslaffiteau if you want to see more pictures of what I have been doing and where I have been since I arrived in Dublin, Ireland.