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This program is organized by School for International Training (SIT) Study Abroad in collaboration with DukeEngage.
May 19 - July 22
Contributing to the efforts of organizations and schools in and around Cuzco, Peru, that provide outreach and support to indigenous communities, particularly children and families. Service themes include:
Alex Alvarez del Castillo, PhD, DukeEngage Program Director: A native of Cuzco, Dr. Alvarez has researched and written about indigenous communities of the Amazon and the Peruvian Andes, especially the impact of public policy on aspects of indigenous life.
Local community organizations and NGOs will host Duke students as they make meaningful impacts in education and community development activities. During the DukeEngage program in Peru, participants will learn about the history and cultural identity of Peru's native Andean communities while supporting these groups through community support and education programs.
With 35-45% of the country's population identifying as either an Andean peasant or as a member of a native Amazonian community, Peru is an ideal location to learn about and observe firsthand the pressures indigenous peoples currently face. Cuzco is at the heart of the former Incan empire, and has served as a crossroads for traditional and modern societies for centuries; currently Cuzco balances its ancient cultural history with its role as a busy tourist hub. Cuzco is a perfect location in which to learn about the impact of development, tourism and globalization on local Quechua indigenous peoples.
Student Learning Objectives/Outcomes
By the end of this program, students will:
Service work on this program often involves working with children in an educational capacity, teaching, or care for young children. The schools and community organizations may also welcome innovative ideas for promotion, volunteer recruitment or other tasks, depending on the strengths of the Duke participant.
Students will be matched with organizations through information provided in the DukeEngage application and in the phone interview. Potential partners and projects include:
Language: Two semesters of Spanish language coursework or equivalent Spanish-speaking ability. All students will participate in 10 hours of Spanish instruction and 10 hours of Quechua instruction during the first week of the program.
Coursework: Other than Spanish language prerequisites, there are no course requirements for this program.
Other Skills: Our community partners value students who will help wherever they are needed, who enjoy spending time with children, who have an honest interest in indigenous cultures and rights, and who want to get involved in the daily life of a different culture, and a positive and patient attitude. They may also seek computer skills specifically for web design and social media outreach. Any experience with office software like Excel is also highly sought after.
Personal Qualities: The following qualities are keys to success on the DukeEngage in Peru program:
Description of Community: Cuzco is a city of around 435,000 inhabitants. Vibrant in culture and rich in history, Cuzco was the capital of the Inca Empire and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Due to its proximity to Machu Picchu and other important Inca sites, it is also a major destination for tourists, hosting around 2 million visitors every year. DukeEngage participants will have the opportunity to witness first-hand the opportunities and challenges by the confluence of traditional and modern societies in Cuzco.
Cuzco is also a high-altitude city, located at around 11,000 feet above sea level. Students will be given tips for acclimatizing to the altitude during the orientation week, and should be aware that the Andean climate can be quite cold, especially at night. The program takes place during the “winter” season in Peru.
Students will have the opportunity to experience many types of neighborhoods in Cuzco. Most homestays will be located within 15 to 20 minutes of the SIT program center by bus. All students will live near at least one other student so that they may travel together. Service placements will be in different areas of Cuzco, and students will commute by public transportation.
Housing and Meals: Students will live in homestays, though there will be a few nights in hotels/hostels based on group travel. All students will live near at least one other student.
Food is an important aspect of daily cultural life. Students will take their breakfast and dinners with their homestay families; some students will have lunch at their homestays and others may have lunch at their host organization. Each week a stipend will be provided for lunch at or near the volunteer organization. During orientation and excursions, some meals will be taken as a group and therefore covered by SIT.
If you do not eat certain types of food for cultural, religious or personal reasons, please contact the DukeEngage office, , to discuss whether or not your dietary needs can be reasonably accommodated at this program site.
Transportation: Students will be given a stipend for public transportation during their field-work; taxis are also safe and easy to use. SIT will provide transportation in a private bus when the group is traveling together.
Communication: Students will be provided cell phones to ensure ease of communication for work-related purposes within Peru. The phone will come with some calling credit, and students will have to charge their phone with credit as the program progresses. Cell phone carriers and wireless providers are readily accessible and easy to find should a problem arise. Students and parents will have access to the 24/7 emergency on-call system based in the US and run through SIT’s professional Student Affairs department. Internet access is easy to come by in Peru. Students may choose to bring a laptop or tablet, but this is not necessary. SIT Study Abroad has a computer center; some homestay families may have Internet at home, and Internet cafes are on every corner. There are also many places in Cuzco that provide free wifi for students who do choose to bring a laptop.
Opportunities for Reflection: Students are required to check in with the program director frequently. There will be scheduled sessions each week for students to discuss their work, what they are learning, and any other questions that may arise. These sessions will take place weekly, often at the SIT program center, but occasionally during excursions or other sites.
Sample topics for reflection include:
SIT’s DukeEngage program director and other staff will also be visiting students occasionally at their work sites, providing additional opportunities for reflection and feedback. Finally, students will have the opportunity to write for the official DukeEngage Peru blog.
Other Opportunities: Students will be able to find time to pursue their own interests or have a moment alone throughout the program. Most free time will be on the weekends, when past DukeEngage participants have organized excursions and activities together. On some weekends, hosts may plan family activities with the students. Students will have their own room or private space in the homestay should they wish to spend time alone.
Curricular Connections The most direct curriculum linkages of this program would be with Spanish language; Latin American history, politics, or culture; and coursework relating to indigenous peoples’ rights, history and activism.