Alumni Spotlight: Marie Rios


Marie is 24 years old and is currently studying German and History in Berlin. Her goal is to become a teacher, and so she decided to get basic knowledge in the most important German languages: Spanish, French, English, and Arabic.

Why did you choose to intern abroad in Ecuador with Ailola Quito?

I chose Ecuador because my best friend traveled there in 2010 and fell in love with this little country. In addition, the tourism is not too developed over there so you can avoid the mass tourism that you see in other South American countries.

Ecuador offers an amazing variety of landscapes and cultures. There is the highlands, the jungle, the coast, and the famous Galapagos Islands. Everything is reachable by bus, and the Ecuadorians are very welcoming and interested in you and your traveling.

Describe your Ailola Quito program.

I studied three weeks in total in Quito and traveled afterwards to a few important spots and to Galapagos! During my stay I visited all the important places around Quito (reachable within two hours) like Mindo, Quilotoa, Mitad del Mundo or the Cotopaxi. The school offers trips on the weekends and will organize everything for you – no matter if you want to do it on your own (they can give you advice, book hostels etc.) or if you want to do it with their partner agency.

We also arranged my whole trip to Galapagos together and they helped me planning my route, choosing my cruises and booking my hostels and the flights – without asking for any commissions or fees. It helped me a lot and made everything much more easier. Besides this, the school offers activities during the week: free Salsa classes or traditional cooking or discounts in the gym and at the pool.

What would you do differently next time?

The only bad thing about my stay was definitely the food! Ecuadorians love to eat the same thing every day - and this means rice! But a nice alternative to the food in your host family or the cheap almuerzos in town is that there are plenty of really good restaurants serving international food.

What advice would you give future students?

My advise to all other future Spanish students? Enjoy your time as much as you can! Ecuador, Quito and Ailola offers you the best opportunity to have a great language learning experience.

The most important thing is that you practice besides your classes. I stayed with a Host family and tried to communicate with them as much as I could - they are used to foreign students and are very patient with you and your Spanish. Normally they don't speak any English so you HAVE to speak Spanish, and that is what its all about! My Spanish improved pretty fast, with only a few words in Spanish before I came to Ecuador I am now able to understand a lot and to have great conversations with native speakers!

Its not easy to find local Friends within a short time, but you should avoid speaking English or your own language the whole time, try to be strict!