Bienvenido a Ecuador!

La Basilica

Bienvenido a Ecuador!

Thirteen students from UCSD and UCSC started our journey in the most biodiverse country in the world!

On Monday, we first had general orientations from IES Abroad office director and health and safety workshop from the humorous physician Javier Caicedo.

In the afternoon, we went on an exciting field trip,“Colonial City Tour,” with the tour guide Marcelo Guerra. We first visited the church, Basilica del Voto Nacional, which was carried out by the Catholic president, José María Plácido Caamaño on March 5, 1884. Rumor has it that the president was assassinated partially because of his huge expense on building this church. The group had a fun time ascending to the top of the church and got a great symmetric view of the city. La Basilica is also famous for its animal statues. On the front side, it has birds figures of the Highland, Galapagos, and the Amazon region.

Witnessing Mass in Iglesia de San Francisco
Top of the Spire, Basilica del Voto Nacional  
We then drove south to visit the golden leaves decorated church, La Compania, which was built from 1605 to 1785. To commemorate the severe fire incident happened one hundred years ago, the church left one of the angel faces on the ceiling black. Nowadays, people would still come to the church to respect and confess to Mother Mariana de Jésus Torres. The group then went to see the oldest church in Quito, Iglesia de San Francisco. Witnessing Mass was very moving as we could see how sincere the priest and the believers were. While we were listening to our guide Marcelo introducing the water reservoir in front of the church, we noticed the children playing next to us. Without their parents accompanying them, the children seem to embrace the environment and learn to socialize by interacting with other children and the surroundings. This child rearing approach was similar to what psychologist Vygotsky proposed for his learning theory. With the environment stimulating the learning process, the children learn on a group basis but internalize the knowledge individually.

After visiting these three historical sites, the team went up to El Pancecillo to see the giant monument of Madonna. This statue was similar to the statue we saw later on at the Plaza Grande, both of which celebrate the freedom of Ecuador from the Gran Colombia. The core value of respect and conservation is testified in front of El Pancecillo, with the other water reservoir still being used to save water. The day ended with a full course meal at“Plaza de la Independencia,” from which we could see the Los Heroes statue and the “white house” of Ecuador.
The scenic view of Southern Region of Quito

Professor Wishard summarized our first day of city tour as "Appreciating the intersection of indigenous, European, and modern traditions. Culture is defined by the practices people share, not by our ethnic or our linguistic heritage.

The group is ready to embrace the Cognitive Development, Language, Culture, &Education in Ecuador. Stay tuned for our upcoming education studies blogs and excursion to the indigenous community, San Clemente Community of Ibara!


  1. Thanks for starting us off on the blog Riley!

  2. Woah, Riley! You did a great job summarizing this day with all the historical facts and all. I'm never going to forget climbing those stairs at the Basilica. I think my favorite part of this day was seeing the Compania because it was so astonishing seeing all the gold leaf décor!!

  3. This is a great start to the blog! Just seeing it now, but I love it. Those stairs were definitely quite scary!


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