The "Lehigh Launch" series highlights first-semester students' experiences learning about the literature, earth and environment, and peoples of Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands in Fall 2022. Maxi Bitar ‘26 shares their experience.
Hometown: New York City, NY
What drew you to Lehigh Launch?: I’d say that the main thing that drew me to Lehigh Launch is the aspect of going to Ecuador because I’ve always wanted to go and to be able to learn in the field and see a bunch of new animals.
What did you like most about Lehigh Launch?: The thing I liked most so far from Lehigh Launch would be being able to visit so many amazing places and learn about them. I have also had the chance to get really close to the ten other people that are doing it with me. They are all really great people and I am happy to be experiencing this with all of them.
What was the best thing you learned?: The best thing I’ve learned from Lehigh Launch is probably how there are people that are really trying to save the environment and the impacts of all the deforestation and the oil companies messing it up. This helped me to try to think of new ways to try and improve this, but even just thinking about what is going on is really good because then you can get more people to join in trying to help out the environment.
What is a fun fact from the trip?: There’s a froyo place right next to IES and every Tuesday and Thursday there’s a promo where you can get as much stuff in one froyo cup as you can and it’ll only cost $3.99 (and yes they actually use U.S. dollars), so I personally got four froyos in one with a bunch of toppings. You make your own froyo so you need to be pretty good at stacking froyo without it falling.
What is something you wish you knew before you packed your bags?: I guess some more sports pants because you can’t really use jeans in the Amazon, but at the same time, you get some pretty cool breathable-cargo pant-esque pants that can be pretty stylish.