To Peru!: U-32’s Spanish Trip Plans for April 2025

This article was written by Journalism student, Avery Ryan.

 

This spring, U-32’s Spanish department is in the process of planning a trip to Peru for April of 2025. They are looking forward to these renewed travel opportunities after the COVID-19 pandemic. The department is combining travel planning strategies used in the past along with new ideas to create a memorable itinerary for their trip next spring.

 

The proposed trip itinerary for next year’s trip to Peru. (Avery Ryan/Chronicle)

 

Sarah Volinsky, a Spanish teacher at U-32, is looking forward to being back in Peru with her students. This will be her 4th time in the country with a group of U-32 students. They are planning a diverse itinerary. “We’re going to get a really nice mix of things… city, rural, tourist, as well as community service,” she said. This will differ from the trip to Spain during last year’s April break, as the department was in a developed area.

“It’s the best part of my job to get to help students see something totally different,” Sarah said. She believes that having a different cultural experience is important for students. “[A] student should consider [going] because we have ways to support them financially.”

As with any trip, the Peru trip requires behind-the-scenes planning. This year, the departments are using strategies developed from previous trips and planning strategies to reduce costs. The cost per student for this trip is $2,900.

The last time the Spanish department planned a trip to Peru was 2019. After 4 years, they were finally able to go on another trip last year to Spain. In the past, they have tried to plan a trip every two years, but this idea is being reborn post-pandemic.

Amy Molina, the field trip coordinator, will be coming on the Spanish trip next spring. She is also excited about the ability to travel to Peru again. “We’ve been doing a lot of research,” she said. The Spanish department has been ensuring that the infrastructure and health in Peru has bounced back post Covid-19, so that it is safe for them to visit. “Is the world ready for us?” Amy said, as that is the question that drives this kind of planning given the impact COVID-19 had on the community they are planning to visit in Peru.

This year, the Spanish trip is being planned without travel agents. “Sarah has a ton of connections and is an amazing Spanish speaker,” Amy said, “Between the two of us we feel really confident about putting it together.” This decision reduces the cost of the trip, and also means that they can stay a little longer. They plan to spend 11-12 days in Peru next year.

The only part they’ll need agents for is the transportation in the country, which can be complicated given the remoteness of the area. For example, “a bus just doesn’t show up because the driver is taking a siesta-[(a nap)],” said Amy. Amy believes that these kinds of experiences teach people how to travel. “I think that’s actually a lesson around traveling.. things don’t always go well and [you get] that authentic [travel] experience,” she said.

 

2019 Spanish trip in Lima. (Sarah Volinsky)

 

There are so many highlights of the itinerary. These include a trip to Cusco in the Sacred Valley, Hot Springs, and of course, Machu Picchu. “It’s one of the wonders of the world,” said Amy. The students will also have the opportunity to do community service at a local elementary school. “Hanging out with [the] Peruvian children tends to be a highlight for [the students],” Sarah said.

Students, whether they plan to go on the trip or not, see value in having these kinds of experiences. Language development through immersion is one benefit of traveling. “It can be really beneficial to our Spanish speaking ability or French speaking ability,” said Zack Parton, a junior and student in the Spanish lV class.

Mya Gould, a sophomore in Spanish class, believes that it’s important to learn a new language. “I feel that in America [and other] English speaking countries, [people] don’t learn other languages because we feel that other people are learning [our] language so we can talk to them,” she said. Traveling to Peru is a way that students can put their second language skills to work, while also strengthening them through immersion.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for people to experience other cultures and also just get experience with other languages and how other communities are,” said Ainsley Gross, a junior, who went on the Spain trip last year and is planning to go to Peru. “I’m really excited to actually help out [in the] villages… it’s a good opportunity to see how different it is compared to here.”

Amy agrees that having foreign experiences is important. “Peru’s radically different and it’s really cool to see how other people live, and the things that are important to them,” she said. The last time Amy went, she found the experience staying at one of the indigenous villages especially interesting. They were taught how to weave, dye yarn, and make meals completely from scratch.

 

2019 Spanish students at Machu Picchu. (Sarah Volinksy)

 

The diversity of communities and landscapes within Peru is also very unique. “There’s this total duality of the country itself,” said Amy. Indigenous villages contrast with the city atmosphere of Lima. Though the geographical contrast is a spectacle, Amy also said that, “When we go to Peru, it’s really about the people.”

Last time Amy went there, the whole group of students and chaperones got to see the sunrise at Machu Picchu. One of the guides did a ritual: thanking the gods that supported him and oversaw where he lived. “Being at Machu Picchu [was] probably one of the most spiritual things I’ve ever experienced,” she said.

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