More than 130 students from 30 universities are traveling to Ecuador, Greece and Cape Town, South Africa this summer with the official launch of Oglethorpe’s partnership with LeadAbroad. Each will participate in LeadAbroad’s unique LEAD study abroad experience, which connects leadership, service-learning curriculum, adventure and local culture to help students better understand their role in a larger, global context.
Among the group heading to Ecuador later this week are Oglethorpe senior Bri Mongerson, a communications and rhetoric studies major, and junior Emmanuel Brantley, a business and Spanish major. Dr. Mario Chandler, associate professor of Spanish at Oglethorpe, is serving as academic director for the Ecuador program.
Dr. Chandler has an extensive background in study abroad trips, and will lead the academic curriculum for the group of 25 students in Ecuador. In addition to the core elements of leadership, service learning and personal development, Dr. Chandler will weave in Ecuadorian history and context into the class to further connect the curriculum with the host country.
Before they leave on their adventure, we asked Bri and Emmanuel to share how they were feeling. Check out what they had to say below and in the video above…
“I decided to go on LeadAbroad after meeting (LeadAbroad staff) Caro, Joanna, and Lauren at the study abroad fair at Georgia Tech,” said Bri. “When I met them, I had no idea that OU was going to partner with them. Once I found that out, it made my decision that much more easier. I wanted to go to Ecuador for the different environment and culture. I am so excited to meet the people and learn more about their community. One thing that makes me nervous is the fact that I will be gone from my family and friends for five weeks but I know that this experience will be life changing!”
“The chance to stand on the equator, breathe the Amazonian air, tour the Galapagos Islands and mix with a distinct culture while exploring a new side of me in this capacity made Ecuador seem like it a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Emmanuel. “However, I was hesitant to apply and not sure if I would want to go through with it. This would be my first experience abroad… After a conversation with my Spanish professor, Dr. Mario Chandler, I was completely sold on the idea of going to Ecuador. He reminded me that I would have my awesome LeadAbroad family (how could I forget that?) and made me realize that sometimes it is okay when things do not go as originally planned and that I have to continue growing in my academic career… Today, I am most excited to visit some of the smaller towns in Ecuador like Tena and Otavalo. There I expect to gain a true feel of Ecuador’s hidden treasures.”