Well, I have spent one month here in Ecuador so far (actually one month from yesterday). The first month has been fantastic but also filled with adaptation! I can look at the current moment optimistically that I am more adapted or pessimistically that I am a quarter of the way through my time here. Luckily there are many more adventures in store. In this post I am going to write about school and other miscellaneous items.
School: The university follows a similar schedule to OSU. I take one class Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for 50 minutes and two classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, each 80 minutes long. It is a little bit different taking liberal arts classes than science/engineering classes because they are based upon ideas and concepts rather than problem solving. My schoolwork and studying have been very manageable. Next week I have two exams, so I am starting my studying now. I think part of the whole idea of study abroad is to study and learn but also have time to travel and enjoy the country.
Today I had a meeting about my research with all of the other students in the same program. My research has been the slowest to get started since a new lab is in the process of being built and will probably be ready next week. However, I have finally gotten started by taking measurements of a dental implant provided by someone at the School of Dentistry at the university. The next step will be modelling it in CAD software and then going somewhere that can machine it.
Misc: The weather in Quito can be quite erratic as I have discovered in the last couple of days. Right now the wet season is commencing. This doesn’t mean that it’s cloudy and rainy all day. Instead, it is sunny and somewhat hot in the late morning and into the early afternoon. Then thunderstorms with rain that can be fairly heavy arrive later in the afternoon. The other day I got caught without my raincoat—something that won’t happen again.
As of yesterday, it had been 7-8 weeks since I got my last haircut, and I was in need of one. In Ecaudor, there is usually a convenience/grocery store, a panaderia (bakery) and a hair salon all in walking distance. I went to one around the corner from my house. The barber, Jose, was very friendly and asked me what type of haircut I would like. Apparently my Spanish was good enough to result in a good haircut, which is a win. We chatted a lot about Ecuador and general things. He went to New York recently and wants to learn English, so he had American TV news on and asked me to write out a couple of phrases related to haircuts, translated from Spanish to English. I found a friend and someone to go back to for the other one or two haircuts that I need during my time here. While it was not a revolutionary experience, sometimes the everyday encounters can be very rewarding.