Ecuador is a small country in the northern Andes Mountains. A true jewel of diversity, Ecuador boasts the Amazon rainforest in the Oriente, the Andes highlands in the Sierra, and the a coastal plain bordering the Pacific Ocean. Matching its geographic diversity, the cultural landscape of the Ecuadorian people blends African, Indigenous, and Spanish into a modern tapestry.
Despite this beauty, diversity, and history, Ecuador is a relatively poor country in the Andes region of South America. Political instability, natural resource extraction, market liberalism, structural inequity, corruption, and many other factors make life difficult for many, and job opportunities scarce for most.
My experience with Ecuador is connected to my volunteer work, and living in Ibarra, for almost two years as a English teacher with the WorldTeach, NGO, soon after I graduated from college. It was quite a transformational experience that led me on a fork in the road to where I am today, professionally and personally, in many ways.
More recently, my connection with Ecuador was a study abroad class that I taught in 2015 at Arcadia University about Ecuador; particularly international volunteerism and the context of international volunteerism in Ecuador. The syllabus from the course is posted.