Monica Ingarevalo, Formare, Ecuador

Monica Ingarevalo, Formare, Ecuador

If you could spend five minutes with anyone from the international education sector, who would it be and what would you ask them? Introducing The PIE’s latest series, Five Minutes With… where we speak to leaders from across the sector and ask them all the big questions

Monica Ingarevalo has certainly been here, there and everywhere. Having lived in the UK and her native Ecuador, she concurrently leads education agency Formare, sending students to the UK, as well as being a consistent peace advocate and hosting “Modo Paz”, a peace-based radio show in Guayaquil. 

What do you like most about your job(s)? 

“Going to Africa to study abroad really changed my mindset”

I love that I’m consistently working toward peace. And I believe that education, especially international education, can provide peace to the world and I also believe that the UK can provide that through its education. 

What’s a defining moment in your career?

Well it’s where the seed was planted, I had the opportunity to study abroad. Being from Ecuador, going to Africa to study abroad completely changed my mindset. Even though there are parts of South America and Africa where poverty is an issue, it still reminded me of how lucky I am.

Best work trip? 

There was one time I had the opportunity to go around all the different regions of the UK. You always just tend to go to London or the surrounding areas, but seeing the whole country was so interesting. It was a business road trip; so we got on a bus with a delegation of Latin Americans – officers from different embassies – and then we saw so many different places. That was fun. I really enjoyed Belfast, in particular. 

If you had a magic wand, what would you change? 

I think I would add a bit more empathy to people and extra compassion. I’d try and get people to walk a mile in another’s shoes, especially in this industry, to really see what people go through to achieve their dreams.

How did you find yourself working in international education? 

Well, studying abroad provides students with this very important tool – connection. If you have the opportunity to study abroad, like I did, to learn other languages, other cultures. Not everybody in the world has that opportunity. I was the third generation from Ecuador in my family to study abroad, so I thought, why not? Why would I not give the community around me that opportunity? I worked in the embassy first, then moved on to be an international officer at an English university. And now I run my own agency.

“Studying abroad provides students with this very important tool – connection”

Champion or cheerleader in the industry we should all follow and why?

Besides an obvious choice, Malala, an international graduate herself. I am very inspired by women’s rights activist Nadia Murad, who was the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 2018. The fact that… she is alive, and that she is spreading her message of peace to the world – it is so inspiring to see that she never loses hope. 

Worst food or beverage on a work trip? 

It was in Asia. I very much respect the country I was in, and generally the food was good, but because the food in Latin America is just so different it was a bit of a shock, especially considering the difference in what food was consumed at different times of the day. I really wasn’t ready for that!

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