Study Abroad

Austin Miller

Austin Miller 2 (Quito, Ecuador)

Name: Austin Miller

Major: Business Administration – Marketing, Supply Chain Management, & International Business

Year: Senior

Study Abroad program name: Spanish Ecuador: Quito

Term of the program: Winter 2016

What were your expectations going into the program? Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. Living in a brand new culture with a family that I knew nothing about was nerve-racking to say the least. I knew that it would be exciting and fun, but I underestimated how truly life-changing it would be.

What was most surprising to you? The most surprising part was definitely the relationships that I built. After less than a week in Quito, the 24 students in my program were like a huge family. We traveled every single weekend together and shared memories that we’ll be talking about for years. 

Why did you study abroad? There’s nothing in this world that I love more than traveling. Seeing new places, experiencing new cultures, and meeting new people is the best way to learn about the world and yourself. I studied abroad the summer after my freshman year in Rome, Italy, and I was hooked. One of my main goals in life is to become fluent in another language, so I figured it would probably be a good idea to move to a country where no one speaks English. 

What was your favorite food/dish while you were abroad? My favorite food in Ecuador was empanadas. There was this tiny restaurant near our school called Campo Viejo that served a huge variety of empanadas. I probably went there more than I should have. 

The weirdest “food” I tried in Ecuador was a live ant. During a hike through the Amazon Rainforest, our guide picked up a random plant off the ground, peeled it open, and dozens of tiny ants crawled out. He told us to try them, and I thought he was joking at first, but he insisted. So we all ate these live ants, and they were sour like lemons. I’ll never forget that.

What is one tip you would give to another student who is going to study abroad in the same country? TRAVEL. Ecuador is one of the most beautiful and diverse countries in the world – with beaches, lakes, rivers, the rainforest, and much more just a few hours away. We had classes every week from Monday through Thursday and then hopped on a bus immediately after for the weekend. We were exhausted, but it was 100% worth it.