Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
The Daily Gazette interviewed Nick Palazzolo ’13 about his study abroad experience this semester in Ecuador. Nick writes reflections and shares photos on his blog, Mis pasos por las calles del Ecuador. We asked him to choose his top five moments thus far and give us a glimpse into his life in Ecuador.
Nick’s Top 5 Moments in Ecuador
It’s difficult to pick out the top five moments of my trip. Ecuador is such a beautiful and diverse country!
Number Five: Ibarra
I took a trip to Ibarra with my host mom to visit my grandmother. I enjoyed this trip because I found myself experiencing various sights, smells, and tastes that brought back a flood of memories. It was in the midst of new life, new sounds and smells, that I found myself transported back to old memories, at times lost in a cloud of nostalgia.
Number Four: Capilla del Hombre
The art of Guayasamín is powerful. His poetic quotes (translated on my blog page) tell us that his art is a form of praying, loving, and screaming. His art in the museum portrays the suffering of the many cultures of Latin America. He paints with great force and yet a gentle tenderness that comes from deep feelings of love.
Number Three: Otavalo
My trip with a friend to visit his family was a lot of fun. At a party that lasted until 4:00 a.m., I realized that I need dance lessons. You cannot get away here with whatever it is that we do at PACES.
Number Two: Yasuní (Amazonía)
My experience in the Amazon was amazing. It was a mix of a beauty: walks through the forest, trips to the observation tower in the canopy, boat rides through the river, and a sadness that comes from seeing the destruction and contamination of years of oil drilling.
Number One: THE PEOPLE!
Above all, I am meeting new people and learning so much from all of my interactions and experiences. I have an internship at an education center located in a poor neighborhood of Quito and I am doing research at an LGBTQ center. While working with a student on his homework, we ended up having a conversation about the agriculture in Ecuador. I told him that he taught me more than I helped him. He replied that we help each other and offer what we can. I think his words demonstrate that we all have something to share with others, and we are all forever students.