Thoughts on Peru

I really wasn’t sure what to expect during my two week trip to Peru.  I had ideas of llamas, Inca ruins, tropical rainforests and the snow capped Andes.  While all of these things were present (and much, much more amazing than I had originally predicted), Peru never ceased to surprise me.

One great example is my host family.  Having just a very basic knowledge of Spanish, communication with my host family was at first difficult.  One would think that such a significant language barrier would make things awkward and prevent any kind of friendship from forming, but the opposite was true!  Sergia and Alfredo, my host parents, were two of the warmest, most hospitable people I’ve ever met.  You would think that having no idea what someone is saying would make it difficult to share a laugh with them, but my experience showed me that you can always connect with people, whether or not you speak their language.

One day my host family’s son invited me to a soccer game. If you enjoy playing or watching soccer at all, spend some time in South America and I guarantee that you will be amazed at the quality of play .  Not to mention that running around at 11,000 feet above sea level is rather difficult.

One thing not included in the travel itinerary is the educational value of studying abroad you receive on a personal level.  By this I mean that you will look at yourself and your behavior from a different perspective.  After this trip I feel culturally enlightened.  Obviously, Peru’s culture is only one out of the thousands of cultures throughout the world, and I saw only a fraction of what Peru holds.  Although I’ve seen a very small percentage of the world, leaving my life in the United States opened my eyes.  Studying abroad causes you to learn about yourself and the people around you.

-Matt

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