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Falkenrath travels to Ecuador

October 13, 2011

Monmouth College sophomore Chris Falkenrath presented the first International Luncheon talk of the academic year last week. Falkenrath travelled to Ecuador over the past summer where he studied Spanish 5 hours a day, as well as worked at a hotel 3 to 4 nights a week for an internship.

Falkenrath named his presentation “The summer that changed my life, my aspirations, and my view of the world.”

One change that Falkenrath attributes to his experience abroad was his decision to change his major to International Business.

“I know I want to travel as much as I can,” said Falkenrath. For now, he believes that getting a job with an American-based company that will allow him to travel would be best. The financial incentives would make it easier for him to visit home more often, he noted.

While working at the hotel Falkenrath interacted with people from all over the world daily, and he was still trying to learn the Spanish language.

“The scariest thing I had to do was answer the phone,” Falkenrath said.

The presentation slideshow was filled with many pictures Falkenrath had taken while on his summer abroad, or pictures of him taken by other people. The pictures showed a different side of life in Ecuador, perhaps, than the one often depicted in National Geographic –  Falkenrath made a point of this at the beginning of his presentation – there were fantastic buildings, beautiful mountain backdrops to a wide and compacted city resting in a large valley.

“It could be really frustrating trying to go anywhere. Because the city is in the mountains all the roads wind back and forth. You could see where you were going, and you would think, that’s where I’m going to be in an hour—and it didn’t look that far,” Falkenrath said.

“People were very open to me. The reason I think they were so open to me was that they saw I was really trying to learn their language,” said Falkenrath. “With each language you open another door.”

Before opening the floor for questions Chris delivered a philosophy he has gained from his experience, “To speak another language is to live in another world.”

 

Ryan Bronaugh

Contributing Writer

 

 

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