Over Spring Break, I had the opportunity to participate in a faculty-led study abroad trip to Ecuador through the Agronomy Department here at K-State. We traveled for 9 days staying in the cities of Quito, Otavalo, Santo Domingo, Quevedo, and finishing up in Guayaquil. So we were everywhere from the Andes mountains all the way down to the Pacific coast.
Guayaquil City Lookout
Up in the Andes
The trip was agronomy based , so many of our stops revolved around agricultural production in Ecuador. On our trip, we studied: potatoes, corn, quinoa, cassava, tropical grasses, bananas, roses, coffee, cacao, pineapple, oil palm, vanilla, and quail. These stops including not only production, but processing of these products as well. We also visited a government research station called INIAP where they do research with imported corn varieties and with breeding new cacao varieties and testing for quality. We went to a traditional fruit and animal market where we were able to see many of the traditional fruits and products grown by the native people in the Andes Mountains.
Chocolate Quality Lab at INIAP
Corn Research at INIAP
But we didn't spend the whole trip out in the fields, we also had some great cultural stops. We visited the Presidential Palace in Quito, the most decorated church in South America, La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, a pre- Colombian art museum, the Equator, the Peguche Waterfall, as well as toured the city of Guayaquil, Ecuador's largest city.
On the Equator
Overall, the trip was an eye-opening experience. It was amazing to see the diversity in cultures as well as the biodiversity in Ecuador. I learned more about international markets and trade. It was fun to be able to brush up on my Spanish skills and enjoy the beautiful weather while learning lots. I will remember this trip forever and already cannot wait to visit again!
The Best Part: Getting to share the experience with my Big!