Tag Archives | cuenca

The Spanish Challenge: Achieve Fluency Before Leaving South America

Six months ago, I relocated to Ecuador, a Spanish speaking country, with little to no Spanish speaking skills of my own. I moved in with a host family, started volunteering as an English teacher at a local high school, and attempted the task of learning Spanish. Half a year later and I’m sad to say […]

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Lessons Learned from 200 Hours of Teaching English Abroad

“¿Tres ensaladas de frutas, por favor?” I leave the tiny serving hatch, where three women wearing hair nets and harried expressions rush back and forth. Plates of food scattered around the kitchen are ferried to the multitude of teenage hands reaching through the bars at a speed my eyes can’t even keep up with. Heading […]

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Volunteering with Children Abroad: the Issues You Should Know

When looking for volunteering projects in foreign countries, one of the first things to catch people’s eye is working with children. There are so many orphaned and impoverished children around the world in need of love, care and affection, and those of us who want to help know that we have the ability to deliver […]

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Colour, Chaos and Crazy Graffiti: Travelling the Age Gap

“Do you feel older than us?” asked Mhairi, as we sat in a cosy cafe on a Wednesday afternoon, discussing our travelling plans for the months ahead. I didn’t know how to answer for a minute. It’s a pretty loaded question to be honest, particularly when you’ve chosen to spend six months of your life […]

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Eating All the Food in Ecuador

As is often the way when travelling, my daily lifestyle in Cuenca tends to revolve around food. More specifically, the time of day and my location in the city dictates what exactly I’ll be eating. So there’s a strong likelihood that a bowl of fruit salad will be sat in front of me at 10:20 […]

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A Fiesta of Fireworks at School Founder’s Day

It’s been two months since I started working at Collegio Miguel Merchan as a voluntary English teacher. In that timeframe, there a few things I’ve become certain of. Firstly, teaching is not as easy as I thought. Secondly, there are elements of the Ecuadorian school system that I can never hope to understand. And finally? […]

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Cuenca to Cusco and Back Again: the Pitfalls of Planning a Trip to Peru

I stood in the small office, studiously trying to avoid the unflinching gaze of a prostrate Jesus. Under his crucified frame, a nun was peering at a computer screen, clicking idly through her Facebook page. “So…is it ok if I go to Peru next week?” I shifted uncomfortably as the nun looked me up and […]

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Learning the Ropes at the Rodeo

“Hola Piña! Como vas?!” I turned around for the fifth time in half an hour to see a group of girls eagerly clambering down the stone bleachers towards us. In front of me, the tall figure of ‘Piña’ – otherwise known as Jose, and still further known as my friend Sherri’s host brother – stretched […]

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Citizens of the World: A Manifesto

“Excuse me.” A middle aged woman passing our table stopped for a moment. She looked down her heavily made-up nose at us haughtily; a group of English girls in an Ecuadorian coffee shop on a weekday evening, eagerly discussing our travelling plans for the next few months. Clearly the concept was not at all appealing […]

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Coping with Cuenca’s Crazy Weather

“So you know when you said today was supposed to be sunny?…” We looked out at the torrent of water that cascaded furiously down in front of us. Only moments before, the sky had been bright blue; now the fat droplets were hitting the flagstones with such force that they almost bounced right back up […]

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