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 as they prepared to embark on their adventure abroad. Students were asked to reflect on what they were most apprehensive about, most excited about and what they expected to gain from the experience.
Please stay tuned to our blog and Facebook page for updates from the students throughout the coming weeks.
"I hope I am able to have an impact on the local Cusco community close to if not equal to the impact it has on me. I’m very excited to get to know my host family and hope that I am able to easily adjust to their way of life and don’t want to carry any pre-conceived notions or make any quick judgments. I think the uniqueness of the culture and country is what is most exciting to me but it is also what I’m most worried about." --Brendan Burns
"I am excited to have a new perspective on community life in Cusco, Peru. I hope to fully immerse myself in a different culture. I also am enthusiastic to experience the rich history surrounding the area. I want to re-discover the ancient world that was once there and learn from the residual artifacts left behind." --Angie Papageorgiou
"While in Cusco, I hope to try a multitude of foods I’ve never been able to experience before. Aside from the varying cuisine, I know my Spanish skills are pretty rusty...but hopefully being immersed into the culture and the language classes in the morning will help me grow to be more comfortable in a Spanish-speaking environment.
The only aspect of my trip I am even remotely apprehensive about is living with another family...because I feel like I’m an intruder into not only their home but their world. However, I think this will only make my experience richer. You miss out on so many great experiences in life if you do not step out of your comfort zone and you let your fear hold you back. With this in mind, living with a host family is also what I am most excited about." --Raven Pitarra
"I am so excited to meet my host family and visit the sights that we are going to. I'm kind of nervous about having trouble with language immersion when arriving there. I also am nervous about accidentally offending anyone because of cultural differences such as not properly responding because of language issues." --Roseann Puthiyamadam
"I am excited to be a part of this service-learning program because I will be able to experience the genuine culture of Peru not with the eyes of a tourist but with the eyes of a member of the community. I will be working with the people, living with the people, and learning with the people of Cusco, Peru. I know that this experience will teach me not only about the culture and traditions of Peru, but also about myself." --Marlena Santos
"Specifically, I look forward to service-learning projects because I am able to work closely with the people from the area. Working on service-learning activities whether it be with adults, adolescents or children will definitely be rewarding.
I hope that I don’t get altitude sickness or sick in general because we’re in Peru for only a limited time. Overall, I see this trip going very well and I don’t fear too much about any problems that may occur. Any setbacks that I do come across, I will take as a learning experience!" --Reshma Satish
"I am most apprehensive about being able to communicate since I don’t know any Spanish. However, I am extremely excited to learn the language so I can engage with my host family, the children and teachers we will be working with and other locals. We have learned so much about the history and culture of Peru and I am eager to experience it all firsthand while exploring the beautiful city of Cuzco!" --Jessica Tullo