Students, staff on 2024 Ecuador, Galapagos trip

Lilly Hall, Campus & Features Editor

An opportunity to go to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands has emerged for students enrolled in Spanish. Spanish teachers Elizabeth Stickely and Erin Boldin are organizing the trip, which isn’t sponsored or endorsed by Valley, through a company called Education First. This company, better known as EF, specializes in educational trips. 

Both Stickley and Boldin were excited and ready to plan the trip, but were put to a halt by COVID-19. As pandemic safety measures became less severe, they jumped back in, strongly considering their options with EF. 

“When we saw the variety of activities we could do in Ecuador and the Galapagos, we knew we had to try and organize something,” Boldin said. 

Although the trip is set for June 2024, students interested in going were required to have enrolled by Nov. 25.

During the trip, students will participate in various activities such as snorkeling, visiting the equatorial line, seeing various types of wildlife, hiking at Chimborazo Volcano, exploring the local markets and much more.   

Boldin is excited for the trip, as students will be exposed to different cultures, of which she hopes they will gain a deeper respect and understanding. 

“There is nothing better than traveling and seeing how other people live,” she said. Boldin wants students to recognize how day to day life in other places compare to their own. 

“I hope they have increased confidence in their language abilities even if their Spanish is not perfect.” 

Though Boldin hopes for students to gain confidence in their Spanish speaking abilities, that is exactly what many are concerned about going into the trip. 

“I’m hoping to develop my Spanish speaking skills more, and learn more about the different cultures,” Sophomore Ella Sutton said. “I’m only worried about having to speak Spanish to fluent speakers, and hoping I won’t say the wrong thing.” 

Sophomores Charlotte Smith and John Hall look forward to the trip.

“I’m really excited to just experience a whole new place and do fun things with friends,” Smith said. 

Hall plans to go for similar reasons, especially the fun.

“I wanted to do it because it is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” he said. 

Only being out of the country a handful of times, Hall is looking forward to snorkeling while putting his four years of Spanish to use. 

“My hope is that students gain a confidence that only traveling abroad can give you,” Stickley said.

 She’s excited for students to go to a real market because creating one in the classroom doesn’t give students the same experiences. 

“When you walk away with that poncho for yourself or that gift for your mom, you are so excited. You feel like you have accomplished something really important.”