Claas was born in Germany, loves Tex/Mex food, South America - especially Peru - and is a surf fanatic.
Why did you choose this program?
I choose the program because the location seemed to be the best for learning Spanish and volunteering in Peru while staying onshore and directly at the beach.
I heard from a lot of people that the region of Chiclayo, Pimentel and the beaches in the North of Peru include some of the best surf spots and word class waves. I didn't want to be in Cusco which seemed to be far away from the beach and lacked a nice, average temperature.
Another reason was the pricing of the school, which was one of the best I could find in South America.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
I didn't have assistance from my university, but the school (as a program provider) organized everything. I took surfing classes through the school, but they also assisted me in organizing trips to other surf spots, and gave me cool pointers where to rent boards in other beaches and cities. The overall experience was very good.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
In general I would suggest that you have to be ready to get into the culture. It doesn't matter where you are staying abroad outside Europe! If you are motivated to have a great experience, you will!
If you're wondering how much time to spend in South America, don't make it too short! Everybody I met there was annoyed when it came time to leave. This amazing continent and the country of Peru have so much to offer - I think I could have stayed there two years without getting to know it all.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
On an average I was studying Spanish in the morning, volunteering afterwards, and spent my afternoons surfing, hanging out with friends and traveling around the weekends. Travel is very easy, and by the way also very cheap, in comparison to other destinations.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?
I was thinking that I was prepared for my first experience abroad in South America, but I recognized that I needed to be relaxed and accept the new experience. As it was my first time coming to a third world country in South America, I had some difficulties managing "culture shock". Overcoming it is easy, you just have to relax and accept that things are different in other countries.