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Exploring Ecuador

News | July 30, 2019

Editor’s note: Destiny Ellingsworth is the communications intern at St. Paul. In June, Destiny traveled to Ecuador for an internship through her school, Western Illinois University. She lived and worked in a suburb of Quito called Cumbayá. Below, she shares some recollections of her experience.

Time
My everyday life at home in the U.S. consists of scheduling nearly every minute of my day. One of the biggest shocks to me was how time is prioritized in Ecuadorian culture. Slight fear enters me when I hear the words “go with the flow,” so arriving in a country where that is the norm was terrifying, but even more enlightening. Upon arriving at the airport in Quito around 9 p.m., I thought I would head to bed by 10 p.m. and get a good night’s sleep after a long day of travel. Instead, I ended up at the 40th anniversary party of my host grandparents and danced with my new family until 2 a.m.

One weekend we visited the mountain Cotopaxi. After arriving at our hostel, we thought our guide was going to show us around outside on a short walk. Instead we hiked for six hours and ended up at a 15,000-foot elevation. Those are just a couple examples of where I had no choice but to learn to go with the flow.

In general, time is such a relaxed concept in Ecuador and not the top priority as I feel it is in the U.S. My first thoughts were “how does anything get done?” But by the end of my trip, I realized I had been extremely productive all month with significantly less stress. Every morning, regardless of the time, I sat down to breakfast and conversation with my family before we left for work.

Family
Less than 24 hours into my trip I was “ñaña”(sister) and “hija”(daughter). I’ve never been welcomed and loved by strangers so quickly and unconditionally like I was with my host family. For a scared, first-time international traveler, my host family was the biggest blessing I could have received. From watching my dad make paella to doing my mom’s makeup for a party to playing soccer with my little brothers, I truly fell in love with my family and cannot wait to see them on their next trip to the U.S.

My favorite part about their culture is the importance of family. My host mom’s parents live in a house connected to ours. On the other side of them was an attached apartment for my host mom’s grandpa. In the same neighborhood were two other households with my aunt, uncle, and their families. Close doesn’t quite describe it. It was illuminating to see that everyone in my family was successful and had a career and a life of their own, but still valued family. Oftentimes there is a pressure on young people to “leave and go make something of themselves” but the difference in culture showed me success is not contingent on leaving your home or putting distance between you and your family.

Work
Most of my time was spent creating content for the social media accounts of Universidad San Francisco de Quito, the highest-ranked university in Ecuador. I researched information from the school’s website or articles to obtain information for my content. I chose photos that the university photographer had taken or if needed, stock photos to be a visual representation of the topic. Next I used Photoshop to combine text and photos to create an image for a social media post.

I was blessed to be in an office with the entire digital marketing team. Each of the eight people had different specialties and I learned from each of them. I was so impressed with their eagerness to learn about how digital marketing is done in the U.S. and what draws the attention of a U.S. student. The number of international students at USFQ is increasing quickly, as well as the number of English-speaking students.

The university has about 32,000 followers on Instagram and believes that there is now a large enough percentage of English speakers to have some English content included on their pages. For those reasons, most of the content I created was in English.

During my internship I was able to dig deeper into the importance of social media in the world of marketing, allowing me to help shape my career path.

Gratefulness
My fear and anxiety towards the unknown almost held me back from this opportunity. I did not know any students going on the trip, details of my internship duties, or any information about my host family and home. I am beyond thankful that I took a leap of faith and was able to see this beautiful country and create so many lifetime relationships. My time in Ecuador, although much too short, enhanced my perspective on life and I am eager to see where my next adventure will be!

One comment on “Exploring Ecuador”

  • Robert Ellingsworth

    August 1, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    Very proud of my granddaughter and the wonderful experience she had.

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Malachi 3:1-4

The Coming Messenger 3 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.[a] 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Hebrews 2:14-18

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters[a] in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple 22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;[a] this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[b] 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[c] came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon[d] took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant[e] in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon[f] blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophet, Anna[g] the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child[h] to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. The Return to Nazareth 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.