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Crossing the river before summiting 17,500 Pico Austria. Photo by Ella Williams (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest, 2nd Place), South America Semester.

Participant Introduction

Hi everyone, my name is Catarina and I am currently on a gap year, having finished high school in June last year.

Over the last two months I have been living in Beirut, learning Lebanese and working for an NGO specialising in shelter for refugees. Before that, I did a cycle ride from Boston to New York and spent a month in London doing various courses like photojournalism and pottery classes. I am now back in London, where I usually live, getting ready for our adventure!

I am both nervous and excited for what awaits us, but ultimately I am eager to explore the cultures, communities and landscape across the Andes and the Amazon. While I speak a little bit of Italian, Arabic, French and German, having parents of different nationalities, I have never learned Spanish before, so I am excited for that challenge. I love being active, especially doing running, swimming, skiing and yoga and enjoy being outdoors but have never done intensive trekking like this before.

One aspect of the course that I am most eager for is the opportunity to detach and be present in the places which we travel to, tasting the food, hearing the sounds and speaking the language.

I am really looking forward to meeting you all in just a couple of weeks!

Safe travels,