I am blessed to have taken part in this experience as the program leader. The trip itinerary and overall mission is designed with a wonderful balance between tourism and travel, all while emphasizing the importance of cross-cultural connections with local communities. As such, it attracted an incredible group of conscientious, adventurous students who were willing to push themselves in a variety of ways.
The group had the opportunity to experience many aspects of Peruvian culture first hand. The students visited archeological ruins where they learned about the unique influences of Incan history on the country. They tasted local cuisines, toured cities, and hiked and biked the Andes in the Sacred Valley.
Most impressively, the group worked collaboratively on a development project with the Ollantaytambo community, where they were hosted by kind, caring families for about half of the trip. This experience is what truly makes this program life-changing. The students were able to immerse themselves in the culture and the language while in the homestay community. There were countless conversations and exchanges of ideas, peaceful moments and shared meals together, and lots of fútbol! This resulted in the students establishing life-long connections with their host families and memories that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
The program's variety is what made it so special for its participants. There were many times throughout the program where an opportunity would arise that was not part of the itinerary. Whether it was watching public demonstrations in the Plaza de Armas in Cusco or surfing waves in Lima when we had time to kill before our flight, students and teachers alike appreciated the program's flexibility while still adhering to the safety and well-being of the group.
I would strongly recommend this program to anyone who desires a unique blend of service and adventure, meaningful relationships with local communities, and an overall authentic travel experience in Peru.