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Photo by Tom Pablo, Andes & Amazon Semester.

Update from Urubamba

Dear friends and families,

This weekend marked the halfway point of our time in Urubamba. Students are settling in to the rhythms of daily life with their host families. During the week, in the mornings students have two and half hours of Spanish class. We divided students into three different groups based on their language proficiency. Today students are taking their Spanish midterms to document their learning progress over the past two and a half weeks. We offered Spanish language tutoring on Saturday morning to help students prepare.

After Spanish, students have a two hour lunch break and most of them go home to eat with their families. If they live farther away they can pack their lunch and come eat at the program house. Most afternoons students have Regional Seminar with Sara. Last week they took a field trip to the archeological ruins in Pisac. This week they will go on another field trip to the Piscigranja Arariwa, a trout farm, to learn about the environmental and economic impact of fish farming in the Sacred Valley. In the past week, student learning focused on the impacts of climate change on the environment in Peru. For Regional Seminar, each student will prepare their own final project on a subject of their choice.

On Wednesdays, students have one hour of class focused on their Independent Study Projects. In class we have been reading about research methodologies and how to develop a good research questions. Students are starting to narrow in on their independent research topics for our time in Bolivia and brainstorm questions that they want to explore. We have a range of research interests developing in the group: traditional medicine, circus performance, political graffiti, women’s rights, charango music, agricultural production of cacao, and Afro-Bolivian culture. Luis is helping students connect with local organizations and mentors.

Over the weekend students balance time to relax, time with host families, and time to study. Last week we celebrated Tigger’s 20th birthday with a delicious cake from a local cafe. This Thursday after class we are planning to play soccer with students from the Tufts program and host siblings. Students are working on planning activities for this upcoming weekend, and we are excited to see what they come up with. In general, students are experiencing all of the normal highs and lows of traveling in a tight-knit group, living in a foreign culture, and learning a new language. They are embracing all of the challenges and we are proud of their progress!

Until next time,

Kaela