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Expat Experience: Maureen Stimola, Tena (Ecuadorian Amazon)
Who are you?
Excited by adventure and discovery, fascinated by science, mildly obsessed with lizards, attracted by new places and weird food, interested in new people but quiet until I get to know someone, that’s the nutshell. More factually, my name is Maureen (totally unpronounceable in any language except English) Stimola, and I am 23 years old.
My Long Island parents moved to Vermont and raised me snowboarding and gardening, so I learned to love all things green and natural from a young age. I decided to combine my passion for nature and science, and graduated from Columbia University in 2012 after studying Environmental Biology for 4 years, and spending most of my free time in forests, museums, and laboratories.
In my junior year, I spent a semester abroad in Ecuador, and then jumped directly to the Dominican Republic to do my thesis on the thermal ecology of Anolis lizards.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
I moved to Tena, in the Ecuadorian Amazon, in October 2012 to work as a Princeton in Latin America Fellow with Fundación Runa. Runa is an NGO focused on promoting sustainable agricultural practices and providing resources to small-scale farmers throughout Napo Province.
This was a big choice to make: I was considering another (paid) offer in Peru through the PiLA Fellowship, but even despite the fact that Runa would be an unpaid internship, I knew that my main priority was to return to Ecuador. In a sense it was an emotional decision rather than a logical one, but Runa ultimately found room for me as a paid employee upon arrival (phew!). Gambled and won...
Read more about Maureen'sexpat life in Ecuador.
- Forum Legend
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