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EPPP Community

EPPP feels fortunate to have established a positive community of learners, educators, psychologists, social workers, principals, and administrators who are committed to the notion of, "Thinking globally, but acting locally." These talented and engaging individuals have joined us from universities across the United States, Canada and Caribbean. 

Far Exceeded My Expectations

Posted by Cassie Bailey, Sam Houston State University 

2019 EcuadorPPP Participant

I have studied abroad before. The summer before my junior year of college I went to Seville, Spain to take several classes to fulfill my requirements for my Bachelor’s degree in Spanish. Yet, I learned more in the two weeks I spent in Ecuador than the 6 weeks I spent in Spain. My experiences in Ecuador far exceeded my expectations, and I formed friendships that will last a lifetime. Not only did I make friends with others in the program, I befriended various Ecuadorian people with whom I continue to communicate. It was my experience that people in Ecuador are very friendly and always willing to help you out if you cannot think of a word in Spanish, for example. The Ecuador Professional Preparation Program seems to use Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development to give each participant the perfect balance between independence and guidance to ensure personal growth. Spanish classes and work responsibilities are tailored to each participant’s level of knowledge and personal goals. For example, my Spanish teacher is an English teacher by day and licensed psychologist by night (I continue to take classes with him online). He was able to create lesson plans that peaked my interest yet challenged me daily. Outside of work/classes we were given structure if we wanted, yet freedom to choose between activities or stay back if too tired to explore. The excitement and fast pace of trips and activities kept me interested in cultural learning experiences during the day until I laid my head on the pillow at night to pass out. I was always looking forward to future activities as the variation in schedule makes it impossible for someone to become bored. Additionally, Ecuadorian living is inexpensive, making it easy for the poor graduate student like me to splurge on activities (e.g., canyoning, white water rafting, horseback riding, salsa lessons, shopping, etc.) without breaking the bank. For a foodie, Ecuador can be a huge problem. The food is delicious and abundant. I bought fresh baked goods every morning for 20 cents; and what made my food addiction even more satisfying was that proceeds went to a local orphanage. You can get by each day spending less than $3 for lunch and breakfast and dinner were covered by host parents. My host parents were amazing and I cannot wait to return to see them. In addition to the 3 alpaca blankets, 2 alpaca sweatshirts, 2 alpaca scarves, 1 backpack, 1 fanny pack, 1 leather notebook, and 25 souvenirs, I returned with more experiences and Spanish knowledge than I ever could have learned in a graduate level class. In sum, I loved EPPP.

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