Enjoy some student ruminations on the similarities and differences between American and Peruvian culture, below.
Stay tuned for more on students’ service projects in Cusco and Saylla while on the Service Learning and Language Immersion Program in Peru. Check back here, on Facebook & Twitter :) frequently.
“One of the most surprising things thus far is probably the difference between Cusco/Peru as a whole and the United States in regards to national pride. In Cusco, there is a sense of pride that every citizen has of their city. Everyone here knows the true unfiltered history of Cusco and celebrates it…the most graphic aspects are shown in statues and massive murals on the street. Peru was a conquered nation for so much of its history and I almost expected Peruvians to just gloss over their conquered past and only focus on the present. It is so refreshing to see such genuine national pride." - Amanda L Blachorsky
“There are numerous occurrences that surprise me every day. From staying with a host family and conversing with other Cuscanians, I have learned that this society is much more relaxed than the one I know of in New York. People are usually in no hurry to get things done or to get to places. The first day we learned to follow Peruvian time, which is not just an hour behind New York time, it´s where individuals arrive ten to fifteen minutes later than the agreed upon time. Instead of arriving early to events and meetings like we do in United States, these events will just begin a little later than the said time.” - Kenneth P Seagren
“My home stay and Quechua language classes have been two aspects of the trip that have pleasantly surprised me. While I knew I would be spending lots of time in my home stay, I did not anticipate it feeling so much like a ‘home away from home’ so fast. Further, the Quechua language is challenging and sophisticated and learning it provides insight into the culture of the area and its people.” - Lisbeth D Pereyra
“Upon coming here I was aware that Cuzco was a highly populated tourist area, but the amount of tourist attractions that I have seen is unreal. Almost every ten feet you can find someone selling something in hopes that an unsuspecting tourist will bite. It can be annoying after a while, but it is great to see how much tourists are helping people make money here. It's also nice how easy it is to find some cheap deals on gifts. In Peru there is a larger emphasis on family and togetherness, and a really large sense of cultural pride...Overall my stay here has been so exciting and different, but in a good way. I feel as though I have so much to learn from the people here.” - Bridget M Baker
“The city itself has such rich character. My favorite part about it is its artistic nature--from viewing murals everywhere, to handmade crafts sold on the streets, the relaxed feeling of the city, to beggars knife juggling in the middle of the street. I always find myself comparing Cusco with the United States, and it has given me a better understanding of the different effects that the law and culture have on society. This experience has broadened my view and further enhanced my desire to travel the world. This experience has also boosted my will to learn Spanish. I plan to continue practicing after the trip is over." - Victoria K Lewis