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

Vamos, pues! First assignment

Queridos Dragones,

We hope your course-prep is going smoothly. In three short weeks, we begin our adventure together in Cochabamba. ¡Qué emoción! In order to be better prepared for the semester, your instructors have put together a few tasks for you to complete before program. The idea of this assignment is to get us actively thinking about program themes and about each other. Try not to think of it as just “pre-course homework”, but as an early opportunity to make the most of our three months together. If everyone puts some thought into these themes, it will set a positive tone of learning and engagement for the entire course.

Assignment #1: Post an introduction on the Yak Board. (By Jan. 26)

This is the most important part! Now that us instructors have written a little bit about ourselves, we want to hear from you all. Tell us a bit about your culture, what you care about, what you have been up to lately, and why you chose this program. Please include a photo if you want. We look forward to reading!

Assignment #2: Talk with one of your instructors on the phone! (Before course start)

Please be on the lookout for emails from your instructors to arrange a time to chat with you over the coming weeks. We are excited to hear your voices, get to know each other a little better, and give each of you a space to voice questions and concerns before program start.

Assignment #3: Dive into program themes! (Written response on Yak Board by Feb 2)

We want to encourage you to start thinking deeper about the reasons for your trip. Why do you travel? What do you hope to gain from this experience? Over the next 3 months, we will be immersing ourselves in Peruvian and Bolivian cultures that are often different from our own. Naturally, we will bring our own perceptions about some of the issues (and possible solutions) that these countries face. How is your perception of these communities influenced by your own lived experiences? It may be helpful to research the term ethnocentrism in framing your answers. How does it affect our ability to empathize with those who are different us?

  1.   Read Chapter 1 of “The Hold Life Has” (p. 53-69 in Andes & Amazon Full Reader PDF) and respond to the following question:

How are these perspectives of the world different from your own? Is this kind of worldview familiar to you? What are some thoughts and feelings that this reading evokes?

Thanks for reading and digging in to this first assignment. We look forward to speaking with all of you soon!


Your instructors: Jesse, Jhasmany, & Sandy