Summer in Ecuador 2008

IUS Horizon

Kelly Dehr, elementary education senior, said, “I enjoyed the trip very much. It changed my life in so many way.”
Dehr was speaking of the Summer in Ecuador 2008 trip.  

This is a partnership that began five years ago, where students and coordinators from IUS School of Education can experience first hand teaching students of other cultures, as well as living the other culture. 

Dehr was not the only student excited over her summer experience.  

Coordinator of graduate students, Magdalena Herdoiza-Estevez, talks about the commitment of IU Southeast to the program, as well as the benefits to students and the people of Ecuador.
Coordinator of graduate students, Magdalena Herdoiza-Estevez, talks about the commitment of IU Southeast to the program, as well as the benefits to students and the people of Ecuador.

Other participants and presenters were Chris Barnes, Transition to Teaching; Susan Dixon, junior elementary education; Rebekah Carroll, graduate secondary education; Rachel Sander, graduate secondary education major; and Beverly Caple, teacher Mt. Washington, Ky.

Each expressed the same sentiment in that they came back with more than they expected from the trip. Also attending this session were others who had traveled with this program in years past.

During the summer I term, eight education students and graduates along with Magdalena Herdoiza-Estevez, coordinator of graduate students, and Amy Freyn, associate professor of graduate students, traveled to Quito, Ecuador, as well as other rural areas to focus on educational and cultural issues.  

The academic activities involved a hands-on experience with a total immersion approach. 

While teaching in Ecuador, these participants were able to develop their own international, as well as cultural awareness. 

During their off time, those traveling could visit cultural and historical sites, with short weekend traveling thatincluded a weekend trip to a subtropical rainforest.

Each participant in the program was paired up with a teacher from the school in which they were teaching.   

Their main goal was to help teach English to students with various levels of understanding of the English language.  
They incorporated many activities in their teaching strategies from games to dancing to singing.    

This was Dehr’s second trip and she noticed something about one of the rural schools she had visited last year. One year ago, she noticed that many of the students knew very little English, but this year she noticed a significant increase in the use of the English language. 

All participants in the program said that the students they met were very enthusiastic learners and also were very warm and open to the travelers.  

Prior to the departure, the participants collected money and purchased presents to take to the students of Quito.  They purchased items for care packages, as well as a small stuffed animal for the students they would teach. 

The young students eagerly accepted the gifts. Not only were items purchased for the younger students, but materials for sewing was purchased for the adults.  

Many of the women in these small communities sew and the bright materials purchased from here were appreciate by these women. In one community, they set up a display of what had been made from materials brought to them the prior year.  

Herdoza-Estevez spoke about the benefits of such a travel, not only for the IU Southeast participants, but for the communities they would visit.   

Guest speaker Leticia Altamirano from Ecuador spoke how the people of Ecuador enjoyed the visits from the IU Southeast students and how it benefited the people of Ecuador.

Plans are underway for next year’s experience with an orientation session scheduled for February.   

It is open to any education student and provides not only the traveling experience, but an experience in education in a different culture.

Staff Writer