7/19/16

#BingUPeru16 in Review

Now in its fourth year, the Service Learning and Language Immersion Program in Peru is a collaboration of the Center for Civic Engagement, the Master’s of Public Administration Department in the College of Community and Public Affairs and the Office of International Programs. It combines a course at Binghamton University with 3 weeks of on-site language immersion and service-learning in Peru.

Below are excerpts from participating students' reflections on how they're adjusting since their return to the US, what they're most proud of about their time in Peru and what they would suggest to students who may take the trip in the future.



"The thing I am most proud of is opening my mind to new people, new places, and new adventures. I am proud I had the courage to seek out this program. I am so grateful for this. Peru has done one major thing for me: it has made me certain that my destiny is to fall in love with places and the persons that they encompass. I hope to travel more and seek out service opportunities in the near future." --Angela Papageorgiou
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"I was in Peru for a week before I had to leave due to symptoms of altitude sickness. Though I was there for only a week, I am proud that I got the chance to take part in our first field-service – work with a community called AbrePuertas (translated, “open doors”), where I had the opportunity to play soccer (for as much as my strength could allow) with the children." --Benjamin Edwards
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"I am proud that I was able to get by with the Spanish knowledge I have, although it had been 3 years since I had spoken or taken a formal Spanish class. I realized that with language it was far easier to understand and speak when I was fully immersed in the language and culture. I learned to trust myself and my instincts on this trip because it was the first time I visited a foreign country without my family. I’m proud that I learned to be responsible, to go with the flow and to not panic when lost. To top it off I’m proud that I was able to walk through Cusco City like it was home and bargain like I wasn’t a tourist.  I highly recommend this trip to anyone who has interest in volunteering at all and has an interest in becoming more confident in Spanish." --Roseann Puthiyamadam
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"To prepare for a trip like this I would say to be open to learning and experiencing new things. Being in a new country can be overwhelming, especially if you have never traveled before.  However, do not worry too much because you are with a group of other people that are sharing many of the same experiences with you. One of the most important things I would say to pack for this trip would be comfortable clothes that you can layer up and comfortable shoes.  Also, bring at least one thing that can help you feel safe whether it’s a journal, your favorite blanket, or even a teddy bear.  But most of all, enjoy your time in Peru, if something does not go according to plan, don’t fret.  Your time in Peru is short but you will learn so many amazing things if you open yourself up to them!" --Marlena Santos
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"When I returned home, I definitely experienced reverse culture shock. I think I have struggled more with reverse culture shock than I did with culture shock when I first arrived in Peru. When I stepped out of the JFK airport, I was still speaking Spanish and then I suddenly realized that I needed to revert back to speaking English. It became unusual to walk anywhere anymore since everyone drove cars in my neighborhood. Maybe it’s because it is summer but I no longer had a set routine of things I had to do. I had no set responsibilities that had to be fulfilled and I felt like I was useless since I wasn’t doing any community service or volunteer work. It seemed as though I was wasting my life away if I wasn’t bettering the society in some way. I’m currently looking for opportunities that I can become involved in with helping others either physically or financially." --Reshma Satish
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"Being able to learn about NGOs and local development outside of a classroom setting was truly beneficial. I’m excited to be able to apply all the different things I learned throughout this experience to my everyday life and in my classes back at Binghamton. I am most proud of my ability to stay diligent and optimistic through challenging situations. Although the language barrier was difficult to conquer, I realized that by keeping an open mind and not being hesitant to try new things I was able to have so many wonderful experiences.--Jessica Tullo
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7/5/16

Final Reflections from Peru!

Now in its fourth year, the Service Learning and Language Immersion Program in Peru is a collaboration of the Center for Civic Engagement, the Master’s of Public Administration Department in the College of Community and Public Affairs and the Office of International Programs. It combines a course at Binghamton University with 3 weeks of on-site language immersion and service-learning in Peru.

Below are excerpts from participating students' final reflections on their experiences with the various service partners they worked with while in Peru. They compare how the service partners attack local development, thinking about similarities and differences in the organizations' strategies.



"Although the government does help fund the Comedores, much of it is independently run by the women of the town and those who use its services. The main goal of the government is so that each of the Comedores eventually becomes independent." --Marlena Santos
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"At Abre Puertas, Ellen made an effort to not only get the children with the program involved but their parents as well. However, she mentioned that though the families were enthusiastic about her starting the program, it is difficult to actually get them involved. Although Corazon de Dahlia is a similar organization regarding it being an after school program for kids, it [did not] seem like family involvement was a focus." --Raven Pitarra
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"It is clear that funding is a universal and fundamental issue that all of the locations suffer from. For example, I remember hearing from the Coya municipality that Coya is on the bottom of the list for funding and therefore, they do not receive a lot of money from the national government as a result of their smaller population." --Reshma Satish
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"Each service partner, although very different from each other, all tackled issues from the bottom up. Abre Puertas and Corazon de Dhalia empowered children by emphasizing kindness and positivity in after school programs for kids in the surrounding area. This encouraged children to stay in school and aided in changing the local community's mindset around education. The Comodores worked to fight hunger and malnutrition in their local community. By providing a meal for mothers, children, families etc. in need many people are able to focus on doing their work in the community rather than struggling to find a meal for that day. Each service partner works to bring the community and local development closer together by providing needed services that otherwise wouldn't exist." --Jessica Tullo
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"All of the service partners attack local development in the way that best suits their needs, but with a common goal: to improve community life. For example, AbrePuertas uses education to empower those in Coya, especially the youth population. Similarly, Corazón de Dahlia is an after-school program for kids ages 5-12 in the Saylla area. Comedores Populares is made up of a group of extremely hardworking women [who] cook to provide food for their own families and for those in the community that may otherwise lack adequate food supply." --Rachel Keller
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"The commodores are there for assistance but not dependence which helps push people towards self improvement. [All] three organizations provide different functions for their own communities in terms of the attention and care that they give, but serve as a great function in helping the people improve themselves and thus their community." --Roseann Puthiyamadam 
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"Los comedores were very different from the other two service sites.  First and foremost, we were deconstructing and reconstructing a soup kitchen rather than working with children.  The labor was tough but we worked as a team in a chain, cadena, to get the work done." --Angela Papageorgiou
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6/29/16

Now in its fourth year, the Service Learning and Language Immersion Program in Peru is a collaboration of the Center for Civic Engagement, the Master’s of Public Administration Department in the College of Community and Public Affairs and the Office of International Programs. It combines a course at Binghamton University with 3 weeks of on-site language immersion and service-learning in Peru.

Below are excerpts from participating students' reflections on their experiences with the various service partners they worked with while in Peru. They discuss their impressions, including what they have most enjoyed about the projects
.

Please stay tuned to our blog and Facebook page for updates from the students throughout the coming weeks.



"So far we have worked with two service partners: Abre Puertas and Corazon de Dahlia. They are similar in that they both provide a space for children to interact with their peers and express their creative outlets after school, but they also are different in many ways. Abre Puertas is located in Coya: a quaint and peaceful little town in the Sacred Valley region. On the other hand, Corazon de Dahlia is located in Saylla, a town known for it's chicharrón, located in a more urban setting." --Marlena Santos
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"Seeing the outcome of the quilt we worked so hard on making [at Corazon de Dahlia] and putting a little piece of everyone in it was also very rewarding. I also liked that the children were interested in learning English and I was able to help them with that. I was very impressed with how quickly they picked a lot of the words up." --Raven Pitarra
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"I absolutely loved working with all of these kids at Abre Puertas and Corazon de Dahlia. As each day went by, I became more and more eager to see them and play with them in addition to helping them in any way that I possibly can. Its funny how most of the coordinators of the organizations were thanking us volunteers for our work; however, I felt it was them that I should be thanking. I wanted to thank them for giving me the opportunity to learn and understand that there is so little I can do that can have such a huge impact on a community and I don't even necessarily need to go as far as Peru in order to give to the community." --Reshma Satish
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"In our first week, we worked with Abre Puertas, which is one of our service partners that was started by a Geneseo study abroad student named Ellen. Ellen has made such a positive impact for countless children and community members. What is so inspiring about her project is that she began doing it after her experience studying abroad. " --Ryan Walsh
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"All of the service partners that we have worked with thus far have truly been amazing. After the very first day in Coya, I remember feeling so grateful for the opportunity to work with AbrePuertas and even more excited for the upcoming weeks. From that day onward, I have had a greater and deeper understanding of the importance of building a sustainable relationship with any organization you work with, or volunteer for. Although it hurt when some of the kids asked if we were coming back next week, it's amazing to know that a similar group of dedicated students will be returning next year." --Rachel Keller
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"I can't believe we are already three weeks into our service learning trip. Working with children of Coya was an experience in which I felt that they really just needed love and support and someone to give them personal attention. They were so appreciative of the time we spent and were so willing to help us in our project to maker a indoor work space for them." --Roseann Puthiyamadam 
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"My experiences at the service site in Coya with Abre Puertas were monumentally different than the service project with Corazón de Dahlia in the pueblo of Saylla. The children of Coya in the rural Andes were much friendlier from the start while the niños of Saylla took a day or so to warm up to us. I quickly learned however boy to judge a book by its cover. When I asked a girl where she lived she pointed to an ant sized shed in the hilltops. "How long does it take you to get home?" Two hours was her response." --Angela Papageorgiou
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