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Klára Škodová, CTU Prague, ročník 3

Faculty Civil Engineering
Field of study Architecture and Civil Engineering
Field of internship Architecture
Specialization of InternshipLandscape Architecture
Internship period (from - to) 21.6.2015 - 30.8.2015 Arista Arquitects and 16.9.2015 - 14.11.2015 Constructiva
Internship duration (weeks) 9 + 8
Transport (means, price) Plane, one way 12 400Kc
Insurance/Insurance company OCPP
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) student visa/1 year
Price of Visa 80 USD, managed in Ecuador
City of Internship Zobrazit místo na mapě  Ecuador, Quito - Cumbayá
Internship reference number EC-2015-USFQ043

About the country

Location of the place

Quito, the capital city where I lived for five months is in center of Ecuador in the middle of the highlands region. Is is a good starting point for weekend trips around almost all the country.

Cumbayá, the city where both of my companies were located is approximately 1-2 hours far away from Quito by bus (depend on the traffic).

City

Cumbayá is a very rich but small city where the Universidad San Franciso de Quito is located. There are not so many things to do, but I lived in Quito, where you can do almost everything (go to a gym, take dancing lessons, study spanish, party a lot, visit a museum and so on).

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

There are so many trips which you can take during one day or one weekend. There is also a good possibility to travel after the internship and visit almost everything during three or four weeks (out of the jungle which is 4 days trip, the same as Galapagos).

One day trips (better to connect them to a one-weekend trip):
* Otavalo (Saturday handcraft market, Lago San Pablo, Laguna de Cuicocha)
* Ibarra (Cacería del Zorro, Laguna de Yahuarcocha)
* Parque Nacional Cotopaxi (including hiking on the Cotopaxi Volcano to the snow line approximately 5000 m high)
* Laguna Quilotoa
* Volcano Chimborazo (5100 m high)
* Alausí - Nariz del Diablo (train tour)
* Mindo (if you want to see just waterfalls)
* Ingapirca (Incas historical city)

One week trips (because it is too far to manage in such a way to go there and go back in one day):
* Cuenca (historical city; good to connect with Cajas)
* Cajas (national park with amazing nature)
* Manglares Churute Ecological reserve (nice trip including crabs, mangroves and boat trip for 80 USD/group)
* Guayaquil (Malecón 2000, historical boat drinking tour, chocolate factory, light tower with 444 stairs - good to go there in night)
* Puerto Lopez - Isla de la Plata ("Galapagos for poor people;" the trip includes a walking tour on the island where birds are really close to visitors, snorkeling and whale watching depend on the season)
* Machalilla (Dead forest)

One weekend trip:
* Mindo (waterfalls, zip-lining, rafting, hummingbird)
* Chimborazo Volcano (5800 m high)
* Atacames (peaceful beach with so many bars; it is the closest to Quito)

Longer trips:
* Montañita (awesome party city on the coast - it is between 11 and 14 hours away from Quito, depend on the traffic)
* Jungle (Carpedm offers tours for 250 USD/4 days 3 nights/food - you can find this company in Secret Garden hostel)
* Baños (rafting, hiking, hot springs, biking, tree swing, waterfall tour, bungee jumping, canopying, zip-lining, canoeing and so many other things like the possibility to eat guinea pig)
* Galapagos (I didn't go there)

Half day trip:
* Quito historic center
* Panecillo
* Mitad del Mundo
* Museums in Quito (Fundación Guayasamín, Yaku Museo del Agua, Monestario de Carmen Alto, Museo de la Moneda)
* Churches in Quito (La Basílica, Church of the Company of Jesus)
* Centro cultural Metropolitano (free season exhibition)

Night places in Quito:
* Plaza Foch
* Calle la Ronda
* Cinema - Casa de la Cultura, which offers films for free (but usually in spanish without subtitles)

Employer

Employer

My first internship, that supposed to last for five months was canceled because of a finance situation after two and half months. Because of that, IAESTE Ecuador found another company for me. My second internship could't be longer because I rejected working there for less money than the minimum is in the extra time I was asking for.

Arista Arquitectos (21.6.2015 - 30.8.2015)
http://aristarquitectos.com/

Constructiva (16.9.2015 - 14.11.2015)
http://constructiva1.com/

Work description

Arista Arquitectos

Their philosophy embraces, through a very intense group of young professionals in architecture and their mentor, the fulfillment of architectural projects with a very contemporary language according to our time, culture and location.

This is a company which work mainly in the urban planing sector and architectural design and construction. The company is directed by architect Belisario Palacios, who studied in England and the USA, at the IIT, where he got his bachelor of arts in architecture and a master of science in urban and regional planning. During his first year of professional career he worked in Chicago at Skidmore Owings and Merril (SOM) and Murphy Jadn Architects, very well known companies through their outstanding skyscraper architecture.

I obtained so much experience working with architecture software like Revit or Twinmotion, which was the main software used in Arista Arquitects. It was really great, because one of my colleagues was teacher of Revit, so it was easy to get all information about it. I also got so many information about construction of Ecuadorian houses and about general architecture in Ecuador from my boss.

Constructiva

This company doesn't have a philosophy or I didn't recognized that in two months of working. I still don't understand why this company is so favorite and famous in Ecuador. I think, this company doesn't have clear path which you can follow as an architect and there is no clear thinking about the projects. The interesting things you can do are usually changed at the last moment before the construction. Juan Erazo, the main architect in the company and the boss, is not able to give you serious feedback and enough information to work in any project. His advice is usually universal. In my opinion he is a wrong boss and also wrong manager.

Despite all the troubles, I obtained so much experience with SketchUP and with supervising of house constructions. I went to the construction several times and I had opportunity to compare it with plans. This experience is very important for me. I got great example how to don’t work in my future employment. There was wrong communication between leaders and employers. I expected more from the manager and also from my boss.

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

Arista Arquitectos: 360 USD/month
Constructiva: 350 USD/month

I was very confused with this salary, because I founded that it was not enough for living - I payed accommodation (150-220 USD/month, depend where you live or if you have a single or shared room), food (cheap lunch is between 2-6 USD, other meals are around 10 USD), water (1l bottle cost around 0.6 USD, 6l barrel costs around 3 USD), transport to work (each entrance to bus costs 0.25 USD, for me it was 1 USD/day). It means I should eat and drink for less than 6 USD/day (as I had to pay 150 USD/month for accommodation and I don't need to buy toilet paper and other common stuff). It is fine, but just for the necessary. Everything else you must pay by yourself.

The 350 USD is minimum salary for living. This works for all Ecuadorians. But they for sure have lowest prices of accommodation.

Language requirements

Arista Arquitectos
The Company asked for an Excellent Level of English. I applied with good level of English and it was good enough. Belisario Palacios studied in USA for many years, his English is excellent. I can say the same about his son and my colleagues.

Constructiva
I even don't know. Juan Erazo (boss) doesn't speak English. My colleagues weren't so happy when I asked them to speak in English, but sometimes they did it or at least tried. They preferred to communicate with me in Spanish, knowing that my Spanish wasn't necessarily good for this kind of job.

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

My first accommodation was in a house in barrio La Granja, where I shared a room with another trainee. I didn't get the keys even when I asked for them. I paid 200 USD for this shared room, without receiving my own keys and without services (no toilet paper, no drinking water and cleaning service once a month). I stayed there just one month. On the other side I had a great time there with another trainees which lived with me. There was a shared kitchen, a big garden and a grill place.

My second accommodation was in Casa Agua Canela (a hostel house), where I spent four months. This house included services (toilet paper, drinking water, cleaning, laundry). The price was 150 USD for a shared room. There was a big kitchen shared with all the house guests (max. 15 people), a roof terrace and a patio.

Both of these accommodations were fixed by the Universidad San Francisco de Quito and IAESTE Ecuador. The house in La Granja was provided by the IAESTE Ecuador guarantee father (Andrea Peñaherrera), Casa Agua Canela was provided by David Dillon.

Social life

Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organised events...)

I got a promise that I will be picked up for free from the airport by the IAESTE exchange coordinator, Johana Segovia, but when I was already at the airport in Prague I received a mail about canceling this promise; and she informed me that I will be picked up by David and it will cost me 20 USD.

The first event, which was organized by IAESTE after my arrival was a welcome party for me and other three trainees. Johana Segovia promised us pizza; but her delay was huge. My first encounter with her wasn't good. I just got a kiss from her, without even knowing her, because while she did that, she was in very important phone call.

Johana Segovia and Andrea Peñaherra are the only two official IAESTE members in Ecuador. Hopefully, we had two good guides there, which were not interested in IAESTE Ecuador and didn't get benefits for taking care of the trainees. They are Dany and Mario Jurado. They managed so many trips for us and so many parties.

Meeting other foreign students

In the first months there were so many possibilities to meet other foreign students. We were living in the same house/hostel and we were travelling and partying together every week.

I was working together with one trainee from Poland, in the first month I shared a room with a girl from Germany and the other four months I shared the room with a girl from Serbia, so I had a great company all the time.

Sport and culture

Culture:
* Casa de la Cultura
* Centro de exposiciones Quito
* Other cinemas and festivals

Festivals (don't miss them, check the dates):
* Quito music Festival in Itchimba park
* Fiestas de Quito
* Fachmama celebrations in Quilotoa
* Cacería del Zorro in Ibarra

Sports:
* I don't sport, but there is a gym which is not so expensive (it should be in Kristyna Veitova report) and so many parks where you can run.
* There is also a possibility to get a BiciQuito Card. With the card you can borrow a bicycle for free (but just during the day). There is also ciclovía - on Sundays you can bike in the city without cars).

Food, local specialties

Food is very tasty in general. You can try so many kinds of fruit and vegetables which I have never seen before. They are very cheep. It is very common to prepare fresh juices.

Typical ecuadorian breakfast consists of scrambled eggs, bread, cheese, marmalade, fresh juice and hot milk which you can drink with instant coffee or chocolate.

There are so many local specialties like: Empanada de morocho, bebida de morocho, michelada (from Mexico, beer with salt lemon and tabasco), dulce de leche (from Argentina), arepas (from Colombia), Mayto (fish in Tena), colada morada y guaguas de pan (baby bread and hot fruit juice - served on Haloween), guatita (cow stomach), orejas (kind of biscuit), tripamishky (intestine of cow), sánduche (sugar tree juice with/or without alcohol), canelazo (hot alcoholic drink with cinnamon), sugar cane, sábila (aleo juice), chocolate, cafe, ceviche (cold chrimps soup with lemon), Llapingachos and chorizo (fried potatos with sausage), ají (chili tomato sauce), Cuy (guineapig) and so many other things.

https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastronomía_de_Ecuador
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecuadorian_cuisine

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

Internet was slow, but useful for google, google talk, facebook, skype, whatsapp...
A postcard stamp to Czech Republic costs 3 USD.

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

Be careful, I was robbed twice, and they got two smartphones.

What not to forget with you

Passport, endurance, insurance, Imodium or whatever which can stop diarrhea and camera.

Benefits of the internship

Ecuadorian student status and student card.

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

My cooperation with IAESTE Ecuador looked great at the beginning, but later I realized that things are not like they looked like.

Overall experience with IAESTE

I have a great experience with IAESTE Czech Republic. They have been trying to help me in each situation. But, unfortunately, I didn't have this experience with IAESTE Ecuador. I got so many misinformation, it was very sad. But one positive thing I have to say is that when I needed or wanted something from IAESTE Ecuador, I got it.

Student's website

https://klaraskodova.wordpress.com/

Employer's webiste

Arista Arquitectos: http://aristarquitectos.com/
Constructiva: http://constructiva1.com/

Other useful links

Fiestas de Quito: http://fiestas.quito.com.ec/
QuitoFest: http://quitofest.com/

Casa Agua Canela: http://www.casaguacanela.ec/

Casa de la Cultura: http://www.casadelacultura.gob.ec/

USFQ Library Catalogue: http://www.usfq.educ/biblioteca/Paginas/default.aspx
BiciQuito: http://www.biciquito.gob.ec/

School of Salsa: https://www.facebook.com/salsaclubquito

Our favorite bar on Plaza Foch: https://www.facebook.com/The-Attic-Bar-250580738285506/
Other clubs you can´t miss: Bungalow: https://www.facebook.com/Bungalow6/ Lavoe (salsoteca):http://www.salsotecalavoe.com/ KONG: https://www.facebook.com/konguio/

Pretty good surf school: https://www.facebook.com/balsa.house?fref=ts (but a little bit more expensive)

Other comments

I can highly recommended the internship in Ecuador. The only thing you will need there is positive energy and insight for everything which the IAESTE Ecuador will do for you or other trainees. Nothing can't be perfect and true and nothing can be fixed on time. But everything will be sooner or later done. This is Latin America.

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