Ecuador Expat File:
Meli

Home Country: USA

Currently Living in: Quito, Ecuador

Moved to Ecuador with: Husband Eric

What made you want to move abroad?

I love to travel and admittedly had a little regret about not taking advantage of a study abroad opportunity while I was in college. When the opportunity arose to pack our bags and make Ecuador our home for ten months, I took the leap of faith that it's be an amazing experience. We've now been here for almost two years and are looking forward to our third.

How did you decide to move to Ecuador?

My husband has done various work in Ecuador since 2006. He was awarded a fellowship to do research here in 2013 and we've been here since. I had actually never been to Ecuador before moving here. That's probably not how most people make a decision, but I decided to take the chance. Plus, my husband LOVES it here so that was a ringing endorsement in my book.

When did you move to Ecuador?

We moved here in July 2013 for what was supposed to be a ten month adventure.  Since then my husband has got a job as a professor and Quito is our home.

Where in Ecuador have you lived?

Ibarra and Quito

What was the hardest part of moving? How did you deal with it?

For me the hardest part was leaving my pets and my job. We have great friends that are taking care of our cat, but since we thought our move was going to be shorter than it ended up being, we didn't end up going through all the paperwork. We also left all of our "things" in storage and rented a furnished apartment.

What challenges or joys have you had that you didn't expect?

Challenges: Spanish. Learn it. I can get by, but my Spanish is nowhere near fluent. It will make your experience much richer if you can understand your friends all the time.

Driving. My husband does most of it. It can get a little crazy though. No passing zones are not enforced.

Pros: Buses and taxis are very affordable.

You can experience the coast, mountains or jungle in a day if you wanted.

What do you love about Ecuador?

The ocean!  The Pacific Ocean is warm and beautiful!  The people are so friendly. We've made great friends here. There are some great parks in Quito too. I've learned to take the bus system, too which is affordable and efficient.

What don't you like about Ecuador?

Sometimes the streets are a little dirty and the sidewalks are not always well maintained, so watch your step.  There's still some "machismo" here, so it's not uncommon for men to whistle at you, which is sometimes unnerving.

I do miss American food too, but there are a good number of options. Be careful if you eat at a little hole in the wall place. Make sure it's clean. We've gotten food poisoning a couple of times - usually from veggies washed in tap water.

Would you recommend Ecuador to others? Why or why not?

I would recommend Ecuador, but do your research. My husband and I didn't have children when we moved here, so we didn't have to look into that. There are good schools in Quito, but it'd be something I'd want to research before moving down with kids.


Thanks Meli and Eric for sharing your experience with us! I hope your time in Ecuador continues to be an amazing adventure!

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