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Suzana Morgan’s Spring Break in the Galápagos Islands

Study Abroad Program:

Galápagos: History and Natural History of the Galápagos Islands (Spring Break ’23)


Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology

Where did you travel to?

I traveled to Quito, Ecuador and then the Galápagos Islands, including San Cristobal, Santa Cruz, Isabela, and Baltra islands.

Street in Mexico - Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State
Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I wanted to experience how other countries viewed and managed their natural resources. I also wanted to see the endemic wildlife.

What were some of your favorite experiences during your trip?

The volcano hikes were pretty amazing. However, it was the entire experience compounded together that made it extraordinary. This included the wildlife, communities, landscapes, and food.

A volcano through the distance of clouds- Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State.
Sierra Negra volcano on Isabela Island.

How did your study abroad experience prepare you for your future career?

My time in the Galápagos gave me other perspectives on natural resource management. Having the knowledge of many point-of-views and ways that people solve problems allows a person to better solve their own problems with the best outcomes possible.

What did you learn about yourself through this trip?

I learned that I really do care about the environment and that my time at NC State has shaped the way I view the world. Going to school for conservation biology, I really honed in on how the people managed the natural resources of the archipelagos. I found myself comparing these techniques to our own practices as well as the practices I’ve seen in mainland Ecuador.

Sea lion about to surface from under the water- Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State.
Galápagos sea lion at Kicker Rock.

Were you surprised by anything during your time abroad?

I was surprised by how intense the sun was. I had never been to the equator before and expected 80 degrees to feel like home’s 80 degrees. However, the sun was brutal to my winter skin and I was amazed at how adapted the locals, plants, and wildlife were to that environment.

Is there any advice you have for students interested in studying abroad?

Do your own research into the places you are wanting to visit. The information you are given prior to going may not prepare you enough for the trip. Doing your own research can give you a better understanding of what to expect.

Blue-footed Booby perched on a rock- Forestry and Environmental Resources at NC State.
Blue-footed Booby sighting.