Milvian Goes Abroad

Reflecting back on my time in the Galápagos

During my time in the Galapagos Islands, I would jot down my experiences for the day in a journal every night. The next few posts will be some excerpts from my journal along with some pictures!

Day One — After a long day of traveling, delays and layovers, we finally made it to the Galapagos Islands! On the way from the airport, we stopped to see Los Gemelos, which are two twin craters on Santa Cruz Island.

imageSteve and I at Los Gemelos


We soon got to the hotel, settled down for a bit and had lunch. We then headed off to the Charles Darwin Research Center, which was walking distance from our hotel, and checked out some land iguanas and large tortoises.

imageExcerpt from journal — “In these past 24 hours, I’ve probably had about ~2 hours of sleep. Although now I’m exhausted, this whole day has been filled with such excitement. I’m getting to know all of my fellow classmates and I’ve been on such a high for the sole reason that it is my first time in South America. I’m extremely happy that I’m here and can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings!

Here’s a fun video I made highlighting my time in the Galápagos Islands.

I couldn’t have asked for a better group to travel with! We all learned so much from the various professors and tour guides.

More detailed posts of my experience day by day will be posted soon!

Glad I was able to spend part of my last night with these people. Most of them don’t have cell phones and barely use social media. Time or money doesn’t worry them. The main thing that matters to them is the company of family and friends.

Each night after they’re done working at the gift shops, docks, tourist sites, etc. they meet up here with a couple beers and all of the instruments and begin singing the night away. The more the merrier. What was theirs was ours.

The motto of Ecuador is “Ama la vida” which translates to “love life.” They’re willing to share their native culture and island life with whoever is willing to listen. Galápagos 2014 was a great way to start off the new year and I couldn’t have asked for better people to share it with. Ama la vida!

On a volcano that erupted 125 years ago on Santiago Island. Felt like I was in Mars ✨ (at Galapagos Islands)

On a volcano that erupted 125 years ago on Santiago Island. Felt like I was in Mars ✨ (at Galapagos Islands)

Bonding con mi amigo.  (at Isla Plaza)

Bonding con mi amigo. (at Isla Plaza)

Chillin with my sea lion! 😄
Day 2: Island hopped to Seymour Island. Saw some blue/red footed boobies and a bunch of other endangered species. Snorkeled off the coast and then headed to the south of the island.  I love this place! (at North Seymour Island)

Chillin with my sea lion! 😄
Day 2: Island hopped to Seymour Island. Saw some blue/red footed boobies and a bunch of other endangered species. Snorkeled off the coast and then headed to the south of the island. I love this place! (at North Seymour Island)

Day 1 was solid. 🐢🌴🌵 (at Santa Cruz, Galapagos)

Day 1 was solid. 🐢🌴🌵 (at Santa Cruz, Galapagos)

Ciao for now, USA. ✈ (at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK))

Ciao for now, USA. ✈ (at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK))

A Year Ago — January 7, 2013

Exactly a year ago today, I was embarking on a  journey of a lifetime. For those of you who have followed this blog since day one, you’ve all been able to experience this journey with me. Barcelona is a city I fell in love with. I fell in love with the culture, the food, the people, the football culture — everything. I’ve been able to meet some amazing people that come from all walks of life around the world. Spring 2013 will always be close to me.

image

This past fall semester was viewed as a “transitioning” semester. I was transitioning back from an amazing spring semester and fun-filled summer. It was also my hardest semester. I was taking 18 credits and had a handful of jobs/internships to juggle. Throughout all of this, my experiences from abroad always came to mind at least once a day.

From taking the metro everywhere, speaking Spanish everyday and traveling to different cities frequently with all of my new friends to returning home and being thrown with a bunch of responsibilities — let me tell you, reverse culture shock does exist. My internship in Communications with the study abroad office (Center for International Education) has exposed me to a plethora of international students and a bunch of students who have recently studied abroad whom I could connect with about our experiences living and studying in a different country.

With a bunch of international students in September

Although my study abroad journey may be over, it’s not something that I just left behind at the airport. The experiences and lessons I’ve learned are things that will stay with me forever. All of this has shaped me into the person I am today and have influenced my future and have made more of an impact on my every day decisions than I probably realize. 

Tomorrow, I continue my travels to the Galapagos Islands where I will be taking a course called “Documenting Cultures.”

Stay tuned!

“Realizing that you’re not really sure what “home” is anymore, because even though this is technically where you come from, you’re not sure you fit into the shape of the puzzle piece that you left behind. In a lot of ways, your time abroad felt much more like home, and maybe you won’t ever really feel settled until you can actually call it that — even if you’re all too familiar with how difficult immigration is. Being where you belong, maybe not today but someday, is something you’re willing to work for.”