The Universitas 21 Social Entrepreneur Corps (SEC) 2017 programme, led by the University of Connecticut, provided students with an opportunity to work side-by-side with field professionals and social entrepreneurs in Latin America. In this immersive programme students lived with local families, visit non-profit organisations, study Spanish and participate in individual and group development projects in rural locations. The SEC has run in Ecuador since 2016, following four years in Guatemala.
I particularly enjoyed my homestay experiences, which provided an amazing cultural perspective and experience into the local communities. Nothing builds empathy more than living and interacting with the people in the community. I was not a fluent Spanish speaker, but in the communities, I realized that the only currency one needs to build friendship and trust is a willingness to try and smile. For me, that was the greatest takeaway.Xu Jie Ng, National University of Singapore, 2016
The summer I spent in Ecuador was the best summer I ever had. Most of all, being given the chance to homestay with locals allowed me to fully immerse myself in the Ecuadorian lifestyle while forging deep relationships with the locals we were working with. I left Ecuador with new friends from all over the world and a fresh perspective on humanity and these are things I will treasure for a lifetime!Anne Hwarng, National University of Singapore, 2016.