Galapagos trip mixes majors for ‘one-of-a-kind’ study abroad experience
Published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 09:06
Cynthia Rubio traveled to Ecuador and the Galapagos for nearly the whole month of May. The junior, who is majoring in communication and Latin American studies, left the states on May 8 and came back on May 21.
“The trip to Ecuador and Galapagos was by far a life-changing experience. I could not have imagined a more diverse group of people,” Rubio said. “We had biology majors, civil engineers, math, anthropology and communication.”
Rubio says the diversity made the trip all the more special.
“Although we were all so different, it made the trip just perfect,” Rubio said.
Rubio says the trip was a one-of-a-kind experience; however, snorkeling and swimming with sea turtles, white tip reef sharks, sea lions and penguins is something she says she will never forget.
“Zip-lining through the cloud forest in Quito was also extremely fun,” Rubio said. “Although, once or twice I thought, ‘This is it,’ as soon as I would get to the other end, I could not wait to do it all over again!”
The adventures did not stop there.
“We literally hiked to the top of a volcano. The view from the top of Sierra Negra Volcano was spectacular. Once we were all up there, we thought, ‘Holy crap, we are on the edge of a freaking volcano! And that’s not fog…those are clouds!’”
The group was offered four courses to study during their stay: History and Politics of Latin America, Colloquium, Latin American Environments and Natural Selection.
According to Rubio, during the History of Politics of Latin America course, the group got to be part of an oral history project that meant interviewing natives from Puerto Ayora about their experiences in the Galapagos.
The group also got to put on a play for kids at a local school.
“That was one of the most amazing experiences,” Rubio said. “Just interacting and laughing with the kids and watching them draw, the many methods they use to take care of the environment, was so unique.”
Colloquium overseas isn’t much different from Colloquium at FGCU. Both groups get to enjoy sizzling temperatures.
“That group got to work extremely hard, under ridiculously hot temperatures,” Rubio said.
The group’s job was to clear the field from mora, branches that have pointed thorns infested with fire ants, so native trees could be replanted.
“We all have scars from there,” Rubio said.
According to Rubio, during the Latin American Environments course, the group had to keep a journal and write about the interaction between humans and the environment.
The fourth course offered was Natural Selection. Although Rubio did not take this course, she says it was concerned with Evolutionary Biology.
Rubio said she learned a lot about conservation and sustainability during her stay in Ecuador and the Galapagos.
“I became friends with a bunch of crazy people, but most importantly, I learned that if you are determined and 100 percent committed to something, you will accomplish it.”
Students interested in a faculty-led study abroad program like this experience should visit the international services page at http://www.fgcu.edu/International/StudyAbroadMain.asp.