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Two Dragons welcome the sunrise with an improvised dance atop the Andes. Photo by Ryan Gasper.

What’s up doods!/ Assignment #1

  1. Hi! My name is Logan Ruch and I’ve grown up in Boulder, Colorado. My culture is being outside and spending time in nature. I spend most of my free time outside from backpacking and hiking to mountain biking and rock climbing. For me, the outdoors is the ultimate playground and growing up in Colorado has helped me realize that. Currently, I’m on a gap year and plan to attend Western Washington University in the fall of 2019. As for this Summer I spent 12 days camping in Crested Butte, Colorado with some of my best friends riding mountain bikes and exploring south central Colorado. I also spent 18 days this summer taking a road trip with my best friend to Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada as well as visiting Banff, Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton National parks. I was drawn to this program and dragons in particular because I have always wanted to visit the Andes since I was a kid and see the massive snow covered mountains for myself! As stated above I love to be outside and the trekking and outdoor aspect drew me in as well. Lastly, I really liked the independence aspect of it, the idea of a dynamic Itinerary and the opportunity for education and hands on learning while I’m down there. I believe that all of these things will create an environment where you truly experience new things and can find yourself as a person along with being able to better immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions.
  1. An Individualistic culture tends to lack a hive mind mentality and prefers to focus on individual goals over a group one. Being opinionated or having independent beliefs along with having a willingness to express themselves also make up some characteristics. Compared to a collectivist culture where people tend to lack emotions especially bombastic ones in public, have more self restraint on opinions and prioritizes a “group over self mentality” along with some self sacrifice for the good of the group whether it be an opinion or something more substantial.
  1. My culture is more individualistic than collective. As a kid I was taught to be myself, have an opinion, and stand out just like most kids raised in the US. Boulder is a city that embraces individuality and being unique in every way. Growing up here everyone is truly and unabashedly themselves and that has rubbed off on me to a certain extent.  This along with growing up working in restaurants has helped me improve on collaborating in a team environment to reach a common goal, in this case a happy customer and ultimately more tips for my wallet!
  1. A fact that discredits Bolivia’s collectivistic ideals is the treatment of minorities across the country. They’re legally excluded from certain activities and have a history of discrimination. This is slowly changing with president Evo Morales mostly because he is of minority descent. Even though there have been strides towards equality, minorities tend to be excluded from the group over self mentality and don’t have the same background as the majority.
  1.   Yes collectivist values can extend to the natural world. The locals describe their houses as a part of the earth and a part of the community. They have an all together mentality which includes the earth and its beings in its rituals, implying that they are all equal. They call the great snowy mountains “Fathers” symbolizing equality and being one of the members in this collectivist society. Lastly, the gods are considered a part of the community. “Both Machula Aulnachis and Machukana are said to live on the ruins of Antaqaqa. Both are described as fertilizing the potatoes and making them big, and both are identified as being with sonqo as a community”.
  1.   Any preconceived notions about Bolivia and Peru that any of us have will be changed because we will be down there for such a long time and we will truly embrace and immerse ourselves in their culture and be able to see it for what it truly is. Doing this will give us a greater appreciation of these countries and their people.