Daniel Bryan BCA’s Resident Director (RD) for BCA Quito has lived and worked in Ecuador for over fifteen years first as a Peace Corps volunteer in South Quito, and then as a Fulbright Scholar (lecture/research), resident director, educator and community development advocate. We asked Daniel to tell us a bit more about himself, his work and his advice for future students.
Interview with a Resident Director: Daniel Bryan
Q: What do you most enjoy about being a Resident Director?
A: Challenging our students to challenge themselves, so that they move beyond seeing Ecuador’s natural beauty and cultural diversity and start experiencing them.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give a student thinking about studying abroad?
A: Instead of choosing to study in a site that you want to visit or a country where you will feel the most comfortable, choose the program that will inspire you to challenge yourself and grow as a human being.
Q: Do you have any pets?
A: A beautiful dog named Aldonza. Rescued from the corner by house.
Q: When you go to a café in Quito what do you order?
A: In Quito, it depends on the time of day, but a strong cafe americano usually hits the spot.
Q: What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
A: In Ecuador, I love fig flavor.
Q: What suggestions do you have for the best ways to learn from the local community when you travel or study abroad?
A: First, remember that it is always a two way street and that we all have so much to learn from and with each other. Second, making sure you are dedicating the time necessary to truly engage with that community. Third, make it about the stories: we all want to share our stories and learn stories from the other.
Q: Why have you chosen the field of international education and what impact do you seek in your work?
A: Paulo Freire said, “Education doesn’t change the world. Education changes people. People change the world.”
Q: Social change means many things to many people, what does it mean to you?
A: Social change means learning and growing with those who are different from you. It means working together to change attitudes and relationships that hold up systems of oppression. It means transforming stories of hate, fear and domination to those of love, hope and liberation.
Q: What do you believe are the pressing social justice issues facing your communities today?
A: The natural resource extraction industry and its impact on fragile ecosystems and community sovereignty. Rapid urbanization and globalization and their impacts on the flourishing of diversity.
Q: What is your favorite movie, song or book to use as a teaching tool?
A: While there are so many to recommend, the book I still use most is Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” For movies, there are few short animated films better than Abuela Grillo, a collaboration between animators from Bolivia and Denmark.