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Off-Campus Study

Notes from Abroad: Laken in Ecuador

Notes from Abroad is a new feature on the Off-Campus Programs website, in which we highlight small snippets of a student’s experience.  This week’s feature is from Laken Vogel ’18 an International Relations and Spanish double major currently studying abroad with MSID in Ecuador.

Name: Laken Vogel, Class of 2018

Program: MSID – University of Minnesota Studies in International Development

Location: Ecuador

Duration: January 15th 2017 – May 7th 2017


Hola from Ecuador! It’s close to the two-month mark since my arrival, and I’m enjoying every minute of my time abroad. My program is structured so that we take classes for the first half (all in Spanish) and then complete an internship for the second. Classes have just ended, and I start my internship on March 20th!  I have been living in Quito with a wonderful host family, a retired couple and their poodle Linda, and have loved living in a bustling city. Soon I will move two hours north to a smaller town called Ibarra, where I have an internship with Patronato de Acción Social, an organization that promotes health through community action. I will be interning there for about 40 hours a week until the end of April. As I have no medical training, I will be observing the services provided and organizing community outreach projects.

I’m an international relations and Spanish double major at Lake Forest College, and I chose this program through the University of Minnesota because during my studies I have become interested in global health. I wanted to study abroad in a Spanish speaking country, so when I found this MSID program that offers a focus in public health, I knew this was what I wanted. I’m forever grateful to Mr. & Mrs. Smith, generous donors to Lake Forest College who has made my education and study abroad experience possible. This opportunity has confirmed my passions and helped develop my goals for my future, which has given me much relief because I no longer have to wonder about what I want to achieve in my career or in my academic ambitions. I plan to attend a Physician’s Assistant graduate program in the near future and hope to return to South America to work afterwards.