A Whole New World

Elizabeth Warren - Ecuador

September 7, 2011

I live in a city that is located in a valley between moutains, it’s 9300 miles above sea level, the city is 3 miles wide and 20 miles long, this city is my current home for the next month. This city is Quito, Ecuador.

A year ago today I would’t have pictured myself attending Stanford University, in California for training and making 56 amazing new friends. A year ago I wouldn’t have pictured myself in Quito after two weeks of training in California, and a year ago I wouldn’t have pictured myself to have the wonderful opportunity to be a part of the Global Citizen Year Class of 2012 and the Global Citizen Year family. Yet, here I am sitting in Quito – a whole new world for this smalltown Florida girl – and as the other fellows like to mention daily (guys you know who you are), my southern “twang” does still come out on a daily basis.

After the very long plane rides, I finally arrived in Quito and it still hadn’t hit me I was actually here! We loaded up and headed to our hostel, our home of four days and settled in, in much need of sleep. The next morning, it hit me that I am here in Ecuador for the next 8 months and I couldn’t have been more excited! Our hostel was huge and had the most beautiful view of the moutains, now all we had to get used to was the cold weather, no heat and only one night of a warm shower (I loved the food). In such short days I had already experinced and seen many new things – for example, my first time in cab made me realize that traffic in Ecuador is crazy and scary. Pedestrains do not have the right away in this city, and riding in a bus or a cab is just as scary, for a bus you better be fast and paying attetnion when it comes to getting on and off, they speed and they rarely stop. So watch out for traffic, pick pocketers and getting mugged. It may sound a little scary but all it takes is some common sense and you won’t be refferred to as a “gringo”, or foreigner. So this new world has me making some adjustments and getting use to new sights and taste…but it’s not fun unless there is some kind of challenge (though that may just be me)! I couldn’t have asked for a more awesome group of Fellows and staff; you can basically say instant friendships happened and even instant best friends.

I am so lucky to have gotten this wonderful opportunity to be here today, loving Quito but super excited to move to Ibarra for the next 6 months in October and start my appertenceship. I hope that I can inspire many upcoming seniors and soon to be graduates to take a part in the “gap year” experience. It better prepares you for college, colleges are starting to encourage it and many people today say they wish they could have gotten the chance that we did. I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity.

Elizabeth Warren