The experience I had in Ecuador was, without doubt, the greatest experience of my life so far.
I would recommend the programme to anyone who has even the slightest interest in playing or coaching football. The playing experience I gained with La Universidad Catolica was second to none. The standard was very high and I feel I developed a great deal. The coaches and players at the university are very friendly and I loved every minute. I also progressed a great deal as a coach whilst volunteering at the local football school.
Working in a completely new environment and facing difficulties, such as the language barrier, is a daunting task but one that I found to be very fulfilling. I found the project extremely useful for improving my grasp of the Spanish language. I spoke very basic Spanish before travelling to Quito but now I feel confident holding a conversation and I improved dramatically during my time there. Staying with an Ecuadorian family was also a fantastic experience and gave me the opportunity to improve my Spanish further. Also, it is great to come back to a homely atmosphere after a long day. I met some great people over the course of my time in Quito – at the Spanish school, the university and fellow travellers in the household I was staying in and I am sure I will stay in contact with them for many years to come.
Ecuador is a beautiful country and if possible should be explored to the full. I feel that I missed out on some other opportunities by only being there for a month as there is so much to see. The people are friendly and exploring their culture is extremely rewarding. I really hope to return in the future.