YFU Switzerland

The first week in Portoviejo

Buenas tardes mundo

Now I’ve been in Portoviejo for almost one week and there’s a lot to tell.

The ride and arrival:

We travelled from Quito to Portoviejo by bus. It was a bit sad to say goodbye, but we were all excited. We swiss girls

We saw the Cotopaxi once more and of course I took a photo

We saw the Cotopaxi once more and of course I took a photo

still keep in contact through whatsapp, so we didn’t worry to much. The ride took about 6 hours and it was very nice. Ecuador doesn’t have a real highway like in Switzerland, so you can imagine in which stade my back was when we arrived. We saw a lot ofย  nature and I got a first impression of the 4

landscapes in Ecuador.

When we arrived in Portovieo the families were all waiting. I recognized mine

My room

My room

immediatly. They had even made a welcome sign for me. It was very exciting to see them. We went directly to the supermarket, where I got kisses from everybody my host mum knew, so I was really impressed by the openness of these people here.

Then we went to the house, but just very quickly, because my family wanted to go to Manta to see my uncle, who just had proposed to his girlfriend. So at that evening I already got to know all the family here. It was quite much for me, so in the evening I was really homesick.

My host family:

My host parents are really really nice to me. Also my sister here, whom I share room with is very cute. But like every little child she likes to get attention, so that can be quite much sometimes.

I am missing my home in Switzerland very much, but my host fam. says they totally understand me and respect my feelings. That is very nice and helps me a lot.

Culture:

The "iglesia" right next to my house (inkl. loud bell ringing every morning and evening)

The “iglesia” right next to my house (inkl. loud bell ringing every morning and evening)

I guess I have what you call a cultural shock. It is so extremely different here from home, that I sometimes get the feeling everything overwhelmes me. I guess this is normal, but I would never have thought it would be so hard. I feel bad for being sad so much, but I just cant turn my feelings off. I really want to enjoy my first time here, but it’s hard.ย 

Dear future exchange students: Count with some personal problems in the beginning. I don’t want to make anyone afraid, I’m sure this will be awesome, but just count with it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Let’s start with walking outside: South America is known for its “Macho culture”. This is true. I can’t walk through the streets without hearing some comments from men. It doesn’t make it better that I’m blonde and white… But I guess that’s something you just will have to get used to. Another thing is the food. I really like everything I’ve eaten here until now and I’m very happy my family accepts that I don’t eat meat, but everything is sooo unhealthy.

These are Epanadas.  A delicious Ecuadorian dish

These are Epanadas.
A delicious Ecuadorian dish

They eat at 8:30 at night, so in the morningI’m never really hungry, but then I have breakfast. And everyone eats so much. I already feel like 5 Kilos heavier. I don’t even want to imagine what I look like when I come back ๐Ÿ˜€ For me it’s quite difficult because in Switzerland I was used to move everyday and here I feel like I don’t move at all. I really really need to change that, I just don’t know how. I think it would also help with my homesickness. I also don’t sleep very well. Becuase we live in the centre of the town it’s very loud outside at any time of the day/night and closing the windows doesn’t help at all. Also it is new that I don’t have my own room.

School:

On monday I had my first school day at the colegio nacional de Portoviejo. There are 3 more YFU exchange students at that school too. We needed to say something in front of all the students, so that was quite special, because there are about 1000 students. Then I got into my class and the first thing everyone did, was run to my table and talk and talk and talk. And of course I didn’t understand anything and was totally overstrained. But they are all very nice to me and try to explain every word to me. But I started bringing a dictionary to school ๐Ÿ™‚ But it still is very difficult for me because of the language. I find it quite boring becuase I don’t understand the teachers, so I just learn some spanish words for myself and try not to fall asleep.

Here you see my school uniform

Here you see my school uniform

To be honest I don’t like the school very much. It is quite unorganized and we are 40 students in the class. So you can maybe imagine how loud it is in class. Everyone is talking, putting on make – up, listening to music, drawing in their books, the teachers are shouting and I’m just like “Why did I never appreciate the silence at my swiss school?” On tuesay my english teacher even asked me to correct some tests, because she hadn’t had time, so I actually made grades for people here.
Also the teachers don’t seem to care very much about what their students do. I think they just want to finish their lesson as fast as possible.

So maybe you understand that because of this and many other cultural reasons, I don’t have a very easy start. But I’m trying my best and hope that it gets better soon.

3 things I appreciated

I wrote quite many negative things, so now I just want to list three little things that made me happy last week:

  • At the first school day to girls of my class offered me to follow me home because they thought I maybe didn’t know the way (What was true ๐Ÿ˜‰ )
  • Like I mentioned before, my host parents understand me and support me with my homesickness and everything else, like that I’m a vegetarian. That means a lot to me
  • On thursday a girl in my class told me that she noticed I had improved my spanish since monday. I didn’t notice that myself, so that little comment of her made me very happy