I think part of the beauty of this program is the fact that you are living with fantastic host families that provide you the freedom to explore the city of Quito on your own. The program leaders also highly encourage that, with a degree of safety, of course. Everyone that HECUA put us students in contact with were willing to do anything with us because they really wanted us to experience all of Quito, and Ecuador for that matter. One of my favorite memories from the trip was something that a group of us students decided to do on our own the last day we were there. One of the host fathers was a professional mountain guide. Volcán Pinchincha lied right behind my host family's house and we got to experience it the very first day we arrived in Quito. We decided to ask the host father if he was willing to take us to the summit of Pinchincha. He agreed and the last day, we took the Teleférico up to the spot where we began out hike. It took a lot of altitude adjustment, support, and bravery (especially for those who fear heights), but we made it all the way to the summit (15,000 ft). Not only was that a feat in it of itself, but the beauty of having the opportunity to look down at the place we called home for three weeks was the perfect ending to our trip. It gave me closure and it made me really appreciate what I had learned in the class, on the field trips, and through everyone I had met. Even though we were out of breath, taking too many pictures, and having a great time, it was one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had.