Service Learning and Language Immersion Program Participants Gear Up for the Experience of a Lifetime...in Peru!

Now in its second 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 InternationalPrograms. It combines a course at Binghamton University with 4 weeks of on-site language immersion and service-learning in Peru.

Participating students have just arrived in Cusco, Peru to begin their intensive learning through service experience. Below are excerpts from their reflections as they embark on their adventure abroad. Students were asked to reflect on what they were most apprehensive about and most excited about.

Please stay tuned to our blog and social media sites (Facebook, Twitter) for updates from the students throughout the next four weeks.
“I am most excited to see first-hand what service-learning is all about and to get to practice my Spanish for a month. I just hope that whatever work we do with the Non-Profits in Cuzco is something that they actually see as helpful. It is such a privilege to work in the lives of others and I just hope I do not do more damage than good. I am also excited to see how another culture lives and what sort of things they put values on as compared to how we live here in the U.S. I have never left the U.S. before so that makes it that much more exciting.”—Bridget M Baker

“Fleeting questions and concerns keep popping up in my mind: What if I can't communicate effectively with my host family? What will the family be like? Will they know that I'm a tourist? Will I actually be making a difference at the service sites? What are my real intentions for going on this trip? Despite these qualms, I know that I am about to embark on an amazing journey. See you on Sunday, Peru! Hasta luego!--Lesia Danyluk

“Because of the service-oriented nature of the trip, one of the main things I am looking forward to exploring are the nonprofit organizations that we will be working with and their role in the community. While I was initially a bit apprehensive about the help we could provide the organizations as “outsiders", I am now at ease and truly feel like we will make a positive contribution and learn immensely from the people there. There are still lingering worries, though—about the Peruvian people’s perception of us and to making the correct impression once there, which I am sure is normal.

I am going into this trip with a very open mind and am excited to try as many new things as possible. I am really attempting to remove myself from familiar things and habits, like too much social media and over-relying on technology. Here is to making great connections with Peruvian locals, other visitors and our own Binghamton University group members!”—Lisbeth Pereyra

“As I sit in my room staring at the boxes and tucker totes filled with clothes and random items from my dorm room, excitement with a mix of uneasiness fills my head. I am not so much worried as I am excited about the adventures that await me in Peru, but I do worry that I will forget something or that I will pack too much or pack too little. I also worry about speaking Spanish.  I have taken a few semesters of Spanish in high school and college, but I am certainly a little rusty and not confident in my speaking abilities. However, I am up for the challenge and I cannot wait to see my language abilities improve. Next stop, Peru!”--Emilia Souza
 “It’s my first time out of the country (besides Canada, which I don’t think counts) so I am a little anxious, but the experience that awaits me is going to be amazing. I am really not sure what to expect when I get there but the excitement keeps on building when I think of what’s in store. I am so excited to meet my host family as well as all the different people that live there. Also, I can’t wait to meet and talk to the individuals, children and adults, at the non-governmental organizations at which we will be serving.”--Kenny Seagren

“I'm most apprehensive about communicating with my host family and the locals! My Spanish is at the beginner level so I am a little nervous, although we will be having language instruction there and I'm sure the host families are very accommodating.  I am most excited about seeing the landscape and being in a foreign country!  I think taking pictures of Machu Picchu will be awesome.”—Mary C. Rood

 “Tomorrow I am leaving and I am really nervous, and excited. I realized this morning that in 48 hours I will be in Peru and will be there for a while. I am very excited to explore Cusco and experience another culture. I am also excited because I am bringing a new sketchbook that I want to fill on this trip. However, I have some nerves about communicating and navigating a new culture.  Otherwise, I am very excited and looking forward to this experience. I hope I have everything I need in my bag.”—Christina Rose

“When we get off at Lima, it's going to feel like I am in a different world. Because I have never really been outside of the United States, I know this is going to be an incomparable feeling. I am also really excited to learn Spanish. I have recently realized that learning another language is something that everyone should pick up in college, even if they finished their language requirement in high school.

Yesterday I was at the train station, and a man was speaking very quickly, asking me for something in Spanish. I was able to pick out a few words I understood, but not enough to help. I wanted to understand him so badly. Being fully immersed in the Spanish language should definitely increase my skills, and help me learn a lot fairly quickly.”—Victoria Lewis 

“When choosing the Peru program, all I could think about was going to Machu Picchu. Now that the day is here I'm so anxious and excited about everything. I'm mostly scared about living with a host family; it's definitely going to be a different experience. I am super excited about all the history and culture we are going to experience. I mentioned before I was excited about Machu Picchu, I still am. I am excited beyond belief; I've seen it in pictures and it's so beautiful. I cannot wait to experience it for myself. Lastly, I cannot wait for the food, I am always eating and I hope the food is amazing!”--Grisel Nodarse

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