The trip lasted only 10 days, but a thrilling and transformative 10 days! When arriving in Cusco on the first day, I was exhausted from traveling and began to have minor altitude sickness symptoms. Nonetheless, I had a great time getting to know new people and exploring the beautiful city! Everyone was welcoming, and I learned so much from the engaging lectures and field trips.
We spent several days away from Cusco—visiting a lake, driving through the Andes Mountains, stopping by shops/museums, exploring Machu Picchu (including a hike), relaxing in a hot springs pool, going zip lining and river rafting, and more. One of my favorite memories was rock climbing beside a waterfall. Towards the end, we did service projects in a rural community. Overall, I loved the variety of Peruvian food, music, dancing, languages, traditions, and history!
I believe that anyone can benefit from this program. As a meteorology and atmospheric science major, I focused on the effects of climate change on hydroelectric power and, more broadly, the environment and society. Others looked at irrigation in agriculture or river water pollution for their capstone projects. We looked at the interplay of the government, economy, society, and environment. The discussions we had were truly profound, and I gained a better understanding of certain global issues. Each person in my group (now friends) had interesting backgrounds, stories, and ideas to share!
Don't expect to have everything planned out. We were usually told about the next day's activities the evening before. For me, this made the trip more exciting and memorable. However, be prepared to take many awesome photos and videos! Even though I didn't get academic credit or full funding for this program, I think the experience was well worth it!