The School of Education offered its first study abroad course this past summer. Twenty-five students across the Counseling, School Psychology and Early Childhood Education programs traveled with professors Elizabeth Stoddard and Brian Leung to Imbabura, Ecuador, approximately 90 minutes outside Quito. Before the trip, the students read texts, wrote blogs and conducted research on Ecuador. During the trip, there were lectures on helping skills, identity, resiliency and multiculturalism, reinforced through debate, journaling and simulation exercises. There were also opportunities for service learning in the community surrounding Imbabura.
Jennifer Sewell, a student in the Counseling program, describes her experience, “Over the last year I have studied, learned and embraced the theories and techniques of counseling. When I traveled to South America I wasn’t quite sure if all I had learned would apply to cultures in other countries. After all, I was experiencing a culture that had its similarities but also its differences. I learned that everything LMU has prepared me for translated across the world. I felt so happy and proud of my education. That experience has inspired to consider counseling abroad.”
For Lauren Plumb, a student in the Early Childhood Education program, her single-biggest takeaway from the study abroad experience was “meeting the other students and professors, and the relationships I made from the trip. Everyone had a few things in common, enough so to bring us to Ecuador, but we were so different at the same time and were able to bring a lot to the table, which not only contributed well in the classroom and during discussions, but in the friendships we made thereafter.” She concludes, “I would highly recommend the trip and I hope Ecuador and many more study abroad options become available for SOE graduate students.”