¡Vamos a Ecuador! Moorpark offers full semester to study abroad

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¡Vamos a Ecuador! Moorpark offers full semester to study abroad

Image courtesy of don Quijote.

Image courtesy of don Quijote.

Image courtesy of don Quijote.

Image courtesy of don Quijote.

By Alexandria Alejo

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Moorpark College is offering a Study Abroad Program for the 2020 fall semester in Quito, Ecuador. Students will be able to complete a reasonably-priced, full semester of units in multiple disciplines while becoming fully immersed in Ecuadorian culture.

The program is open to all VCCCD college students and has allotted for a maximum of 40 participants. Those partaking in the program will be studying at don Quijote, a leading Spanish language learning school with locations in Spain and Latin America. In a recent press release, don Quijote stated, the school has “more than 30 years of experience customizing study-abroad programs in Spain and Latin America.”

Study Abroad_1.JPG

Image courtesy of don Quijote.

In recent years, John Baker, an anthropology teacher at Moorpark, and his colleagues reached out to former Moorpark College President Luis Sanchez to reignite the study abroad programs within Moorpark. Since then, Moorpark has offered summer sessions in various locations, such as London and Paris. However, according to Baker, this will be Moorpark’s first full semester abroad in many years.

Students will now have the opportunity to fulfill a full semester in Quito through courses in Spanish, anthropology and optionally, service learning. The service learning courses will include volunteering at a local retirement home and local schools. Students will be required to take one Spanish course and one anthropology course, and through accelerated classes, will have the ability to take more than one of each course.

However, the program is not limited to Spanish language majors or anthropology majors. According to Ashley Vaughan, an advisor of the program and professor of Anthropology at Moorpark, the program can be a benefit to anyone.

“You learn so much about life, yourself and your place in the world,” said Vaughan.

Study Abroad.JPG

Image courtesy of don Quijote.

With the guidance of advisors on call throughout the entirety of the trip, students will be gracefully introduced into the culture and lifestyle.

“For people who are very curious about living somewhere else but don’t know how to do it, having this kind of guided introduction to another culture is a really, really good way to do it,” said Baker.

Students will be accompanied by faculty members who have an extensive background in studying abroad. Baker shared his remarks by stating, “It’s a safe and understanding context to expose [themselves] to something new.”

Through holistic approaches such as focusing on all aspects of the Ecuadorian lifestyle and society in their classes, students will be fully immersed in the culture.

“We’re really going to focus on Ecuador. You’re going to be learning about all different aspects of the history, the economy, the political system and the religions,” stated Vaughan. “We try to learn as much about a place as possible to understand it.”

With the various educational aspects and cultural immersion of the semester, students will gain a range of skills to take back home.

“It’s a great way for everyone to develop this kind of new skill set—the most obvious one will be Spanish—but the one that is going to take them further, but is not quite so tangible, is the sensitivity and the understanding of cultural differences,” elaborated Baker.

Quito is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has a plethora of various historical destinations. During the semester abroad, students will be able to participate in two full-day excursions, one half-day trip and weekly cultural activities.

Participants will also be partaking in a homestay not far from the don Quijote campus, where they will be living with host families. The homestay will consist of double rooms and include both breakfast and dinner for students. According to Vaughan, “the benefit of doing a homestay is that you really are immersed in the culture when living with a family.”

Everything minus the plane ticket and personal expenses is covered for $4,580. According to don Quijote’s press release, “full-time students are eligible for financial aid and are encouraged to apply for scholarships.”

Registration for the trip opens on Dec. 1 and has a reservation fee of $150. Following the registration opening, the first fee due date is Feb. 15, 2020.

Contact Ashley Vaughan at [email protected] or Helga Winkler [email protected] with any further questions.