Why did you choose to study abroad with SFS?
SFS was different than any other program I looked into. Most of the programs just seemed to offer the typical classes I would normally take back at school, but in a different country. SFS, on the other hand, offered field experience, hands-on activities, learning outside of the classroom, and cultural immersion. I decided on SFS because I didn’t want to learn things and just sit around, I wanted to learn and put that knowledge into use. I wanted study various social and environmental topics, and apply it to my everyday experience in a new environment.
What are your first impressions of the country?
It is very diverse! Arriving to Lima, you would think you were landing somewhere in the U.S. Then you take a short plane ride to Cuzco and the natural landscape lets you know you are far from home! I immediately liked Peru. The culture is welcoming and the landscape is inviting!
What are your first impressions of the field station?
It is incredible! Better than the pictures! The field station doesn’t take away from the natural beauty of the environment around it, as it has a very harmonious design. It’s very inspiring to be able to work in an area so close to various cultures and environments. We are a short walk away from the local town, indigenous communities, and a short walk from a rainforest… it couldn’t be more perfect!
What do you think the biggest challenge will be for you this semester both academically and culturally?
Although I come from a Spanish-speaking background, I have realized Peru is extremely diverse, from its culture to its cuisine. I think the biggest challenge for me will be to adjust to the various cultural and ethnic differences present in Peru. There is a lot of regional differences within Peru that provide very diverse cultures. For example, we learned about some common fruits in Peru that have different names depending on where you are!
Academically, I think the challenge will come from having to rewire how I think and learn. I won’t be confined to a typical class room setting so I have to remind myself that every opportunity in Peru is a learning one. It is also going to take time to adjust to working in the field, having to learn about a subject and applying it right away.
What are you looking forward to the most about the semester?
I am looking forward to everything! From working in the rainforest to immersing myself in the diverse cultures in Peru. I am excited to explore Peru’s natural landscape and historical sites, such as Machu Picchu. On the academic side I am most excited about the socio-ecological aspect of the program. As a sociology major with a biology background, I am excited to see these two fields of study working side by side.
Give three words that best describe how you are feeling right now.
Overwhelmed with excitement!