Ecuador to be newest GSL site
By Aster Chin, associate director of global programs
Over the past few years, more and more students have sought to participate in Global Service Learning trips and we’ve been looking to expand to keep pace with the interest. So we’re excited to announce that we are adding a new GSL country this summer: Ecuador.
Upper School students can apply to become the first GSL group to explore Quichinche Parish, Ecuador, with our partner organization, the Tandana Foundation. Tandana, a nonprofit that promotes cross-cultural understanding, will help us to coordinate meaningful service work initiated by the villagers living in highland Ecuador in the village of Aqualongo. The students will spend a few days in a more developed area around the capital of Quito to become better acquainted with Ecuadorian culture and participate in a one-day service project before journeying to the less developed region of highland Ecuador. Aqualongo is about 45 miles from Quito and 10 miles from Otavalo, a town of about 50,000 primarily indigenous people.
The majority of the students’ time will be spent in highland Ecuador, where they will work with the indigenous villagers on a community development project and teach English to the children attending the local rural elementary school. Our students will plan the lessons and field trips throughout the summer for the Ecuadorian students. Lakesiders also will help Tandana with its native tree nursery project by helping to plant new trees and care for existing ones.
As with other GSL trips, Lakesiders on the GSL Ecuador 2013 trip will study Spanish and interact with local community members. They’ll have a chance to experience local culture—learning how to cook traditional Ecuadorian cuisine, make bread using a wood-fired oven, and weave—and have fun singing and dancing in traditional Ecuadorian style.
All the trips for the summer of 2013 promise to be very exciting, with new opportunities we have not yet explored. We hope that many Upper School students will apply!