I will miss meandering through the open, European-esque plazas of Old Quito. I will miss the walks through the dozens of parks teeming with joggers, dogs, futbol players and the occasional couple. I will miss the sound of Spanish rattled off at lightning speed, the friendliness of Quito’s people, the food and the stunning scenery that surrounded me at every turn. All things considered, it was both an enjoyable and successful ten days in Quito, Ecuador, documenting the education system in the South American country for a fellowship from the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. While in Ecuador, my partner and I spent three days alongside members from the iMedia program interacting with and interviewing students (the children were the cutest), teachers and alumni from the Escuela Nuevos Horizontes del Sur, a tiny, rural private school a winding and mountainous 45-minute drive outside Quito. We also spoke with professionals involved in the higher education system in Ecuador, including a member of the university accreditation board, the head of a language immersion program for both exchange students and native Ecuadorians and an American professor who helped revamp the teacher training programs in dozens of schools across Ecuador and other nations. The interviews helped shape the narrative of a nation that for many years, and even still to this day, lacked quality education for its citizens, but now is trying to turn the tide to provide a better life for its people. Once upon a time, children in rural areas who spoke an indigenous language struggled to succeed in a Spanish-speaking school system.
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