Photo: Middle Tennessee State University Students with Universidad Le Cordon Bleu students.
Story and Photos by Maddy Williams | Contributing Writer
Sidelines staff writer Maddy Williams writes about her experience studying abroad in Peru.
Through Middle Tennessee State University, I was able to go on a faculty-led study abroad trip to Peru with Professor Perkins in the Global Studies department. The class we took was called The People and Cultures of Peru, and we learned exactly that.
Our course assignments and discussions reflected not only the reading we did prior to being in-country, but also the countless experiences we had with Peruvian people.
We were able to get a glimpse into their history and culture. It was truly eye-opening.
“One of my favorite parts of this trip was meeting and spending time with local students in Lima. They and many other people we met were so kind to us,” said Nathalie Meyers, MTSU sophomore.
On this trip, we met with Peruvian university students at Universidad Le Cordon Bleu. We were able to form relationships with many of the students. We even met with them outside of class hours.
“I think that I chose this university because of the quality of the teachers, and also the connections they have with different universities around the world. I think they are in total 40 university campuses in different parts of the world, and I would love to visit some of them during my career,” said Abby Fabian Gonzales, a 19-year-old student at Universidad Le Cordon Bleu.
Peru has an extremely rich culture, from their fashion to their agriculture and cuisines. Many students and locals we met while in Peru were excited to share pieces of their culture that they loved best.
Gonzales said her favorite part about her culture is “the agriculture and our past because without them, we wouldn’t have the things we have now. With the arrival of the Spanish, we kinda mix our cultures and theirs, meaning the exchange of our food, traditions, etc.”
While in Peru, I was able to see the Spanish’s influence on Peruvian culture through their building structures, especially in Cusco and the Lima District.
According to The Biodiversity Finance Initiative, Peru is one of the top 10 most diverse countries in the world. We were able to see a variety of biomes, wildlife, and climate zones while in Peru.
“We have a lot of climates around Peru, and because of it we have variety of foods like potatoes, quinoa, tons of different fruits, and all this allowed us to create incredible food,” said Gonzales.
The food in Peru was incredible. We were able to take classes to learn how to make ceviche and pachamanca. We were also able to try many different types of potatoes while at the Cordon Bleu because Peru grows a wide variety of potato species.
“My favorite parts were the university students at Cordon Bleu and honestly Cesar & Rodrigo. Basically all the people we met on our trip because I thought I had seen what a hospitable culture looked like in the Southern states when it comes to customer service, but it’s noticeably different in Perú. That, and the food. I love some seafood (ceviche!),” said MTSU junior Mo Ilicic.
The people in Peru were extremely welcoming. I have never felt more at home than I felt in Peru. Each person we encountered was accepting and hospitable.
Even if there was a language barrier, they were more than willing to meet you halfway when communicating.
Cesar was the Arcos director in charge of our stay while in Peru. Both him and his son Rodrigo made our stay in Peru safe and packed with activities and opportunities to learn.
While we were there, Peru played Austrailia in a World Cup qualifier game. Even though they didn’t win, cheering on Peru with locals was a great experience to see part of their culture.
“Even though Perú lost, one of my favorite parts was getting to watch the game with them. It made it feel like home. Because the Superbowl is so big here, it was cool to experience something similar but different and special to them,” said MTSU senior Brooke Kirby.
We also had adventurous moments in Peru. We hiked Rainbow Mountain in Cusco, with a summit of over 17,000 feet. Mo, a member of our group, also decided to go paragliding.
“I loved how spontaneous that was,” said Gloria Hernandez, MTSU August graduate, after Mo went paragliding.
Traveling to Peru with MTSU study abroad was a life-changing experience. I loved each opportunity I had to dive into their culture, and I hope to go back in the future.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Ethan Pickering, email email@example.com.
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