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Zuheir Sofia Endowed International Faculty Seminar

ZSEIFS Alumni: In Their Own Words - Ecuador

One month after their in-country experience, OIP followed up with the ZSEIFS Ecuador alumni about their experience with the ZSEIFS, Ecuador, and what they learned from it all.


Click here to read a one-year post-ZSEIFS follow up interview.

(click on each question to see assorted responses.)

How has the ZSEIFS contributed to your understanding of the region? Did the ZSEIFS contribute to your views on interdisciplinary learning and teaching?

“As a Spanish professor, there are dozens of Spanish-speaking nations to be familiar with and Ecuador is the first Latin American nation I’ve now had personal experience with. I am particularly interested in President Correa’s administration and the Constitution, political matters I will be much more engaged with. I plan to include content from these areas in my composition class when asking students to write opinion pieces and research papers. Additionally, I will have students in my literature course read about the artist Guayasmin and share my photos of his works with them, highlighting the connection between visual arts and literature.”

“I learned a lot from the other disciplines on our trip.  It is so easy to get in your own “silo” of specialty knowledge and not see things from other perspectives.”

“I knew virtually nothing about this region prior to my involvement in this seminar. Now I feel like I have a working knowledge of the culture, politics, and economics associated with Ecuador.  Also, the diversity of the group helped me to see how everything is truly interrelated from an educational/instructional perspective.”

“Having dedicated time throughout the fall semester to read about Ecuador created a baseline of knowledge prior to entering the country.  However, the “book knowledge” I’d gained came to life once we entered the country.”

Has your participation in the ZSEIFS contributed to your understanding of the student study abroad experience? If yes, how?

“The ZSEIFS experience has greatly contributed to my understanding of the student study abroad experience. One of the most important aspects that I learned was that even though you want to include a lot of places and experiences for the students, quality is more important than quantity. There were a few places we visited that felt very rushed, and we did not get a full experience. Another aspect I would implement on my faculty-led study abroad trip would be to include more information about the planned activities ahead of time. Either spend time on them during the pre-departure meetings, or assign the activities for topics of presentations by participants to be performed on the trip.”

I’m more keenly aware than ever about the need to be incredibly organized and incredibly flexible. I’m also more familiar with WKU’s resources and support for study abroad as well as faculty-experts who can share their experiences.”

“I learned how challenging it is to create a study abroad experience, especially all the complicated logistics of travel, housing, in-country transportation, etc.”

Would you recommend the ZSEIFS to a colleague?


“Definitely!  It was a wonderful experience and I learned a lot about a country and region that was previously unfamiliar to me.  The group faculty travel experience was very valuable.”

“Without reservation; this truly was a life-changing experience for me.”

“Yes, and I already have.”




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 Last Modified 8/11/15