My name is Pamela Calvas and I am from Ecuador, South America. I was born and raised in Cuenca, the third largest city in the country by population. My hometown is located in a beautiful area in the south of Ecuador and the whole city is surrounded by four rivers. It is a very touristic and cultural town where the folklore, cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, typical food and handicrafts fascinate visitors from around the world.
After finishing high school in Cuenca, I had the opportunity to attend an academic year abroad in order to learn more about the world, experience other cultures and also learn a foreign language. There were several options of different countries that an exchange student could apply to, but I chose to go to Denmark without t a second thought. It goes without saying that not knowing a lot about the Danes, their culture and language made the whole experience a lot more fascinating to me. I lived with a Danish family who literally treated me as one more family member and supported me in every possible way throughout my stay there. I also studied at a local school with Danish students of my age and attended the classes in Senior Year of high school. Living and studying in another country, surrounded by a different language and a new environment, was probably the biggest challenge I had faced until then. I will always recall this time as a life-changing period and the experience of a lifetime. During this academic year I was able to explore other countries in Europe with my Danish family and each one of these trips helped me in several ways to understand better what I wanted to become and to study in the future.
Once this marvelous adventure came to an end, I headed back to Ecuador and enrolled in one of the local Universities in Cuenca, the “University of Azuay” where I studied International Affairs for 4 years. During that time I also got a job as a secretary at one of the Spanish Schools in town; eventually all my secretary tasks developed into being both a Student Coordinator and a Travel Agent. All of the activities that I had to perform were very new to me, but at the same time I was learning about things and places I had no idea my country had to offer and I really loved it. I also got to meet people who came to Ecuador to travel and to learn Spanish and made a lot of friends from all over the world. It was during this time, while working as a travel agent and student coordinator, that I traveled to many places around Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands and finally realized how beautiful and interesting my country was.
Before a snorkeling session at the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador with a group of tourists from different parts of the world.
I also had several opportunities to attend travel agent conventions in other countries in South America which allowed me to see more of the continent, learn about international cuisine and experience other cultures. Last year in May 2009, the travel agency I was working for hosted the See Ecuador event, one of the most important travel expositions for tourism in Ecuador where travel agents, wholesalers and hotel owners from around the world gathered in Cuenca to learn about our country. This was a very gratifying experience for me since I contributed to the exposition and had the chance to deal directly with international wholesalers interested in our services.
At the end of my studies at university, I continued working and writing my work thesis, but I also knew that I needed to define my career and decided to get a deeper knowledge of the hotel management field. All the experiences described above have helped to shape me into the person I am today and the person I am going to be; they have helped me to decide on this field of study and led me to be enrolled in the Post Graduate Diploma program in Les Roches now. Supported and encouraged by my Danish family, I think I am once again on the right path to continue discovering what the world has to offer. Les Roches is a highly recognized international institute and I am looking forward to this new experience abroad. My Danish sister Johanne also enrolled at Les Roches and we cannot wait to start! I am sure this will be another adventure which will help me to develop professionally, gain recognition and, expand my knowledge, and will also introduce me to many more experiences that will shape me not only as a student but also as a human being.