Why I Decided to Drop Everything and Spend a Year Abroad


Studying abroad has become a common thing in almost all universities. Whether you want to cross the border and go somewhere close, or cross continents and experience a whole new world, the options are endless. You get to go to a new country and experience a new culture, meet new people, try new things you may not be able to try anywhere else, and sometimes even learn a new language or two.

I chose Ecuador, a slightly lesser known country in South America. Some reactions from friends and family consisted of, "Will you have internet and running water?" and "Isn't that in Africa?"

I am actually quite far from Africa, and I do in fact have internet and running water. The tap water may not be clean or safe to drink most of the time, but it's here and almost everywhere you go there’s a filtered or bottled water option. Pretty livable conditions, despite what many people envision.


I chose Ecuador because it was new and I didn't originally know a lot about it. I love learning new things, and being able to live in a whole new, unknown culture was absolutely fascinating to me.

I also wanted to improve my Spanish because being bilingual in today’s world is a huge advantage that puts you just one step ahead of the rest.    


The way I see it, if you have a chance to go out and experience something new, you should always go for it.

An eight month experience is something I just could not turn down. I get to live in Quito with a host family and truly learn what it's like to live in a developing country. This is not your everyday North American experience.

To keep up with Rachel’s journey, follow her on Instagram, @rachellmcleod.