Junior men's soccer forward Brent Richards will spend the 2011 winter quarter studying abroad in Ecuador. Keep up with Richards via his blog posts here: http://brecuador2011.blogspot.com/. Read part of his first entry below.
I've never been a real big fan of blogs and have only followed a few of my friends' blogs. I wasn't planning on making one for this trip but figured it would probably be an easy way to keep those who are interested up to date on what I am doing while I am abroad. Instead of personally emailing and calling my friends and family, it was suggested that having a blog for them to read was a good alternative.
(For those of you who don't know what this "trip" I'm referring entails) I will be traveling to Quito, Ecuador for the winter quarter of 2011 (January 8th until March 19th). The program is through the Spanish Department at the University of Washington (institution I normally attend) so I will be taking a 300-level grammar class, a 300-level Latin-American Literature class, a 300-level Intro to Hispanic Culture class, and a 1 credit service learning that I do not exactly know the details of yet.
For a long time I have wanted to become fluent in the Spanish language and have taken many classes (in high school and college) to make that goal more realistic. However, I have heard from many people that to actually become fluent in a language, you pretty much need to move to or live in a place that speaks it so you're practically forced to learn it. I think this will be a great opportunity for me to get closer to reaching my goal of becoming fluent.
It's hard for me to believe that I am actually going to be studying on another continent in less than 3 weeks. Until the middle of Fall 2010 quarter, I was under the impression that I wasn't going to get the opportunity to study abroad because of my involvement with the UW Soccer Team. I was pretty bummed about this because I'd had several friends who had studied or traveled abroad (in Italy, Chile, Guatemala, and other places) and said it was one of the greatest, if not, the greatest experience of their lives. So I got more and more upset that I wouldn't be able to experience that. In the middle of fall quarter, however, the Quito Program director came to my Spanish class and gave his spiel on the program and I (as well as several others in my class) were sold. I went to my coach and asked him about the policy for study abroad. I was prepared to be shut down immediately but to my pleasant surprise, Deano (my coach) said, "Well YEAH! Go for it!" So I applied and here I am now, sixteen days away from embarking on what I am sure will be the experience of a lifetime.