Another truly wonderful place in Quito is my university, Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador, or simply, La Catolica. It is a super chill place. The Ecuadorians, and other latinamerica natives, along with about 100-200 some international students consist the 4,000 strong student body. As is normal for Ecuador, the education system is largely privatized. PUCE is no exception, and it is actually one of the more expensive universities in Quito. So, many of the students are of higher social economic status. Many of them have had nose jobs. Yes, nose jobs. On average, I see 20 different students daily with bandages above their mouths indicating exactly this: more money and higher social economic status, ergo, better noses, apparently. Depending on how much this fad costs, I’m considering making my nose more perfect.
La Catolica is known for its outstanding international programs. I believe one of these reasons, is that I am paying so little for my education. It’s terrific. As is common in countries other than the USA, things work out less well. Particularly, communication regarding paperwork is inconsisitent, slow, and not too steady. I do not know how to go about the process of paying, and no one seems to know or care. It’s not a problem, but it is an interesting aspect of life in Ecuador!
As well, PUCE is safe. As is the case anywhere, it’s important to be aware at all times, but I’ve never heard of any problems at my university, which is comforting. I made my first transaction today at a non-charging ATM on campus, and I made it out with all the goods. That I withdrew. In fact, I haven’t had any problems with theft or safety in Quito yet! Granted, I often look like a hippie or homeless gringo, but regardless, I expected to be robbed by now. So, I have yet to use my getting robbed strategy, which is essentially freaking out like a psychotic flailing idiot speaking a combinations of languages in a variety of dialects, accents, and etcetera. I’ll keep you notified.
Panederias are bread stores, and naturally so, from the word “pan” meaning bread, and “eria” meaning store. Kind of. It’s the gist in the Spanish speaking world. Panederias are in the top 5 things I love most about Ecuador, and they are so common. And Tiana, Panederias have so many sweet goodies. If you were here, we would get so fat. This sweet-tooth induced rant does have a connection to Universidad Catolica, because there is a panederia most excellent right across the main road from campus. I go daily. Thus, the bakers and cashiers greet me with huge smiles and hidden inside jokes, which I have found to be quite common here.
As for my schooling, I am currently taking one, 7-week course at PUCE right now. While that sounds almost too easy, it is a daily occurrence from 9:00-12:30-45 depending on the inspiration of my profesora. So I have a significant amount of homework, but never too much. Guadalupe is my professor’s name and she is marvelous. Her accent is most beautiful, I love it. All of us learn so much everyday. It’s truly incredible. She is challenging, but she likes guys (not husbands, apparently), so I’ve not had any real problems yet. I have 13 fellow students, and they all are great people who read, speak, and write in Spanish with similar fluency as myself. We are the tercer nivel: third level. It’s great. Also, the classroom setting is typical, with a computer and white board. After this 7 week course, and a two-week break, I will enter the fourth level, assuming I pass. I should be coming back to the States with 9 credits more than necessary for my Spanish minor, so this is good. A Spanish major may be in my future.
PUCE also offers many different clubs and extra-curricular programs. It’s a wide variety: ceramics, percussion, capoeira, salsa and a few other forms of dance, chess, basketball, fútbol, and yoga as well. My name is on two different lists, capoeira and fútbol. But I’m not very committed. I attend the soccer practices about once or twice a week, on campus with the club. It’s great fun, but we do not yet have our grass field prepared. So, we play in various parking lots, or in the gymnasium when it’s not in use. Capoeira commenced on Monday, but I did not attend. I will in time, though. For those of you wondering what Capoeira is, it is a form of brasilian martial arts and dance in tandem. It’s super physical, and super beautiful to watch with talented dancers. I’m really looking forward to this rare and unique experience.
Well, that’s that on my education here in Quito at la Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Ecuador. Stay tuned to this page for pictures of the campus and more!
A view of my University at dusk. It was a sweet evening, and I just happened to have my camara.