Peru: Sacred Mountains High School Summer Program

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About

Peru, ancient seat of the Inca, once the greatest civilization in South America, is a land of towering peaks and steamy jungles, of modern urban centers and hidden villages. The radical juxtapositions in landscape and culture of this majestic country are reflected in the striking socio-economic disparities that pervade society. Dragons Peru summer abroad program offers students the opportunity to dig into critical development issues by living with families in remote indigenous communities and exploring seldom-visited regions of the sacred Andes Mountains and lush Amazonian forests.

This course is rugged and challenging. It is ideal for students who want to develop wilderness and leadership skills while engaging in hands-on service and an inspection of the critical development issues facing Latin America. Expect to discover profound new relationships with yourself and the and the world around you.

4- and 6-week options available.

We offer comprehensive, personal home visits so that we can answer your questions in person. One of our expert staff members will present on our program options and share stories from their own formative Where There Be Dragons program. To request a home visit in less than 2 minutes, fill out this form.

Highlights
  • Explore Andean cultural history and community-based development, the coca leaf, conservation issues, traditional Andean agriculture, the rise and fall of the Incan empire, and the colonial legacy in Peru.
  • Take on two high-altitude treks in the Peruvian Andes, including a five-day circular trek around the base of Mt. Ausangate.
  • Study Spanish with Dragons instructors and through daily cultural immersion, in addition to exposure to Quechua, the language of the Incas.
  • Engage in community-based service initiatives, likely focused on education and health in rural villages. Approximately 10 hours of service credit earned.
  • Participate in two rural homestays: one in a highland Quechua community, and another in a small Amazonian village.

Questions & Answers

Reviews

95%
based on 6 reviews
  • Growth 8.8
  • Support 8.3
  • Fun 8.2
  • Housing 8
  • Safety 9.2
Showing 1 - 6 of 6
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Nina
10/10

SIGNING UP FOR THIS PROGRAM WILL BE A GREAT DECISION

HI! I did the Peru 6-week program with Where There Be Dragons in the summer of 2017, and I found it to be one of the best experiences of my life. I came back with increased knowledge about who I am, what the world is, and how the two fit together. I have noticed these changes every day in the way that I interact with my family, my friends, nature, my health, my patterns as a consumer, and anyone that I meet who is from another culture. I can not recommend this program highly enough.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Halsey
9/10

A Growth Experience in the Mountains

I loved this program. It introduced me to some of my best friends. It gave me an opportunity to speak a language I love. It allowed me to photograph beautiful landscapes. It gave me three amazing leaders from three different continents. It brought me out of my comfort zone on innumerable levels.
My experience was unique because of these components. I don't think you could gain these types of connections with people, places, and yourself through any other program. I never would have believed I could do something like this program, yet it was one of the most influential and memorable things I have done in my life. Therefore, I've realized you are only uncomfortable doing something until you learn to be comfortable instead.
I have been and lived around the world but this type of travel is very different. It was nothing like anything I've done before, and probably is unlike anything I will have the opportunity to do again. I would would love to relive it (but bring a warmer sleeping bag this time)! Thank you Dragons for such a unique opportunity.
HS

Yes, I recommend this program
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John
10/10

Peru Trip

This was a fantastic trip that has forever changed my perception of the world we live in and also changed my life. I will never forget the inumerable experiences I had in Peru that are really irreplaceable. Out group bonded so closely with each other and the new culture that we were experiencing that by the end of the course, it felt as though I had known everyone for years. I would defininetly recommend this course as it was great for expanding my horizons and perspective of the world.

How can this program be improved?
I think a little more in-depth study of the region and the history and geography of the region would improve the course. A little more studying and lecturing in general would also improve this course.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Will
10/10

More Than The Memories

My Peru experience was really amazing. I had so many experiences that I'd love to ramble on about forever, but I'll keep this review short. My best memories from Peru were reaching the top of a 16,000 foot pass and feel the life-giving wind rush by me, fishing for piranhas on the Amazon River and playing soccer at sunset with the indigenous Shipibo people in the hot and humid Amazon forest, organizing shopping lists and buying enough food for fifteen hungry trekkers for five days all while speaking Spanish, and experiencing the sunrise over one of the seven Wonders of the World: Machu Picchu. My Dragons experience in Peru gave me so many great experiences, but it also gave me so much more than the memories. It introduced me to some of the most authentic people in the world who didn't measure happiness by wealth and success, but by relationships with your family and community. It showed me how much I have yet to learn, both about the world around me and myself. It showed me large-scale issues of poverty, resource extraction, and civil rights. It also revealed to me how much that I, as a curious traveler and not an ignorant tourist, have to learn to make myself a more responsible global citizen.

As I walked over the hill that early morning in August, panting from the mile sprint up stairs I’d just completed, all I saw were misty clouds that populated the mountains. Slowly, sunrays began to peak over the mountains, and with their arrival the clouds seemed to disappear, revealing Machu Picchu. The image is stuck in my mind today.

My group visited Machu in our last week in Peru, culminating a trip in which we’d fished for piranhas on the Amazon River, played soccer under the sunset with the indigenous Shipibo people, and visited a hot springs resort in the cloud forest. We’d spent ten days trekking in the northern Andes where we crossed paths with two individuals and studied Spanish language and Peruvian culture in the Sacred Valley. However, as I look back on my Dragons experience, I think about the internal growth I experienced instead of my external experiences.

I remember the relationships I created with my fellow Dragons. I reflect on the lessons I learned as a guest in another land and attempt to emulate the kindness and hospitality I received in my daily life. I flashback to the views of the Andean mountains and the faces of joy, amazement, and appreciation of my group. But most importantly, I recall the discussions and moments that taught me what it means to be a global citizen and how small actions can keep alive the lessons I took from Peru and make the world around me a better place. Finally, Dragons gave me a community. A community of like-minded, curious, passionate, and courageous students and instructors who truly want to make an impact in this world. This is what I will take away the most from my Dragons experience.

How can this program be improved?
My personal trip didn't consist of enough service work as I was hoping. However, every year the Dragons trips change and adapt. So it's very possible, and in fact likely, that your Dragons experience may consist of plenty of service work. I think that is one of the greatest things about Dragons, their ability to be flexible and adjust trips to not only current issues, but also student desires.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Ethan
9/10

Learned A lot About myself in Peru

Hiking Up to 17,500 with some amazing people and staying at people's houses and learning about the development issues going on in different communities was amazing! I met some of the coolest people I have known, and exploring Peru with them and getting to know them was amazing for me. One of the highlights was the homestays that we did, living the life of the people in Peru. The instructors were so helpful to me in order to learn about myself and explore there, and they know what they are doing because some have lived in the country for a few years. Wasn't your average community service program, as I learned about the place and myself at the same time.

How can this program be improved?
More structured personal growth sometimes..
Yes, I recommend this program
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Angelica
9/10

Dragons

I had a great time on Dragons! It was such a blast, we got to go to some really neat places and it was just superb! The Amazon was my personal favourite, mostly just because I prefer hot weather over cold weather (and I got to make friends with snakes and such!). I've done quite a bit of traveling before, but this was definitely one of my favourite trips that I've ever done. It was unique, well-structured, and I feel like I learned a lot about the culture and how well I can deal with certain situations. We had a great deal of variety, we had a lot of fun, and we had a really great group. There wasn't a ton of drama (and even if there was, I can't blame that on the program), and everybody seemed to get along quite well for the most part.

Some of the group activities struck me as a little bit silly, I felt a little patronized at parts, and I didn't like the reviews we had to do, but other than that it was such a blast! It really was an incredible adventure. I loved the group discussions about culture and politics etc., I had a ton of fun exploring the towns and the countryside (although I could have done with a little less time in Ocangate haha), and the ruins were all so incredible. I would strongly recommend this program to any youth who wants to get a little bit off the beaten trail and doesn't mind getting covered in dirt (and has a few thousand dollars burning a hole in their pocket).

Oh, and if Patrick, Jackson, or Avery are reading this: I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma! Surprise! I found myself struggling to breathe when I was biking (AT SEA LEVEL) in August/September, so I went to the doctor. I'm getting a final diagnosis sometime next week, but we're pretty sure that's what it is. No wonder I couldn't breathe on the mountain. I have a puffer, now. I can't believe I made it up all those freaking mountains with faulty lungs. I kinda wanna go back with my medicine and see if I can take it on for real and not hyperventilate.

How can this program be improved?
Well, in retrospect I felt patronized a lot of the time. Part of this is probably because I was the second oldest kid there, and they were teaching to the middle, but I really disliked having my iPod touch taken away (all I had on there was some music, podcasts, and audiobooks. Would'a been nice to have that during the EIGHT HOUR BUS RIDE from Ocangate to Cusco. I can't read because I get carsick). I also disliked having my passport taken away. I understand why they made these choices, but I disagree with them. I felt like I ought to be treated as a responsible adult, and these actions made me feel like they didn't trust me to take care of myself.

Additionally, I strongly disliked the "review" we had to do. More to the point, I think it was incredibly inappropriate that the instructors had to review our personalities. I know that more than one kid was cut up about it and had their feelings hurt, and I found that some of the critiques that they made on me weren't exactly fair (I was supposed to go to India, so I didn't study any Spanish. The only Spanish I know is from Dora the Explorer. They told me I should have practiced Spanish more, but how could I practice when I didn't know anything in the first place? Additionally, they said I shouldn't reference things that the other kids wouldn't understand, but they did that to me, too. That's what asking questions is for, and frankly I find it far more insulting to assume that they DO understand rather than that they DON'T. They also said I was chatty, but that's kind of a part of my personality so what am I supposed to do about that? Altogether, I don't think reviewing our entire personalities is a good idea).

I also disliked the fact that I had to review them. It was three on one, and I didn't feel at all comfortable giving them feedback like that. It felt very much like Us vs them, and I disliked that a great deal. I'm not a psychologist, I don't know what I'm talking about. If I hold back and keep things nice, I'm not doing anybody any favours and it's a waste of everybody's time. If I tell them what I really think and it's a bit harsh, I feel like I'm being mean and I have to live with the fact that they know what I think. If the review were more anonymous, that would be nice, and I initially thought that they were. When I found out that our names were attached, I really didn't like that.

However, despite these minor flaws that bugged me, I really and genuinely had a wonderful time. It was so much fun, these are just some nitpicks that bothered me!
Yes, I recommend this program

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Dragons programs are authentic, rugged and profound learning adventures that expose the beautiful and complex realities of the countries in which we travel. Featuring extended itineraries, Dragons programs encourage deep immersion into strikingly...