Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I am in Ecuador! I am only several days into my AFS experience and my preception of America, Spanish speaking countries, education and life in general have significantly changed. I am writing this e-mail on my new friend's laptop. His name is Adrian and were are incredibly similar, it is as if we have know each other our entire lives. I have observed that the AFS experience attracts people of the same kind, no matter what language they speak or their country of origin. Since I arrived in Quito, I have been living in a small hostel located around ten miles from the airport, in the middle of the city. There are twelve other kids from AFS: two from America, three from Sweden, five from Belgium, one from Denmark, and one from Norway. Incredibly, all the kids from Europe speak relatively good English, they are all very friendly and we have become somewhat of a small family. In the hostel, three meals are served a day. Breakfast is nearly non-existent, however, lunch and dinner both consist of: fresh juice, soup, some kind of meat accompanied by a vegetable, and a desert. All meals are prepared with fresh ingredients, on daily basis, and portioned at a healthy size. Beginning on Monday of this week, I have received eight hours of Spanish instruction a day, at a local school know as Cristobal Colon. In only three days my Spanish has improved at rate incomparable to Spanish class in the United States. On Friday, Spanish class ends and on Saturday I will fly to Guayaquil to meet my family.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Thank You AFS

American Field Service,


            With great thanks and overwhelming excitement, I accept the Global Leader Scholarship you have awarded me. The funds will help finance my semester trip to Ecuador. I am honored to be recognized as a global leader.

 This is the first scholarship I have been awarded and I cannot explain the sense of satisfaction and accomplishment it brings me. A trip with AFS has been my goal and dream since well before I graduated high school. In the past several months I have worked two minimum wage jobs and conquered what seemed to be an endless application in order to ensure my goal was met.

I extend my deepest and most heart felt thanks to AFS in awarding me the Global Leader Scholarship. As a global leader, I will continue to work diligently and conduct myself as a hardworking, kind and intelligent young man.




Jesse William McIlwain