Staff Spotlight: Valerio Fernandez


What position do you hold at Apulaya and what has been your career path?

As co-Founder of Apulaya, I also am the co–Director and Andean Music Teacher. I graduated from the “Instituto de Música” in Cusco, Peru. In addition, I also studied Jazz in Switzerland, at the “Musik Hochschule, Fakultät III”. Once I returned back to Peru, I started to research, collect and develop Andean indigenous music and its anthropological background.

Did YOU study abroad?!

I went to study in Switzerland, because I wanted to learn Jazz and improvisation, as well as to get immersed into the Western culture. Thanks to that great experience, I began to understand how different the Andean cultures and their values are, as it opened my eyes to the fact that indigenous culture is not sufficiently taught, in Peru and abroad, and that its great wealth and diversity should be developed and transmitted to as many people as possible.

What does the future hold for Apulaya - Any exciting new programs to share?

As a cultural center specialized in Andean indigenous cultures, Apulaya is continuously working on promoting and developing new ideas, projects and activities. So, our new proposals consist in semester study programs for university students, in the aim of introducing students from other cultures, to Andean indigenous cultures, in a most sincere and appropriate way, so that they might be able to successfully complete research projects with the respective sensitivity to Andean indigenous cultures. In return, those research projects will provide us with new insights and approaches, to continue developing indigenous issues and related programs.

How do you think study abroad and international education will change?

With the globalization process on its way, and ever expanding student exchange and volunteer work programs, on an international scale, I think it will definitively increase in years to come.

Which study abroad destination is most underrated, or perhaps overrated?

It seems to me that the most overrated destinations are Europe and Asia, in comparison with South America and Africa, for example. Now, in terms of underrated (independent of destinations), it is the indigenous issues in their true reality, which are left way behind. However, it is interesting to see that, recently, public interest in indigenous cultures is increasing. But, there is still a lack of sufficient recognition, based on real understanding, of indigenous culture, philosophy and knowledge, as most people talk about indigenous nations and cultures, mainly seeing them as poor or underdeveloped, and say that they must be helped. But, how about changing positions and roles, considering that foreigners could also learn much from them?