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A young arriero leads a mule across fresh snow in the Peruvian Andes. Photo by Benjamin Swift (2016 Fall Semester Photo Contest Finalist), South America Semester.

See You Soon!


My name is Ayden Ehrhardt. I would describe myself as an easygoing, kind, introverted extrovert. As a kid, I was scared to do pretty much everything. It wasn’t until I started going on adventure trips through my summer camp that I started to come out of my shell; I have made some of my most meaningful relationships while traveling and living in the backcountry. As the oldest of four girls, I was pushed to grow up a little faster than most and I gained a sense of responsibility early on.

I am excited to meet you all, to experience Chilean and Peruvian culture, and to challenge myself. The host family stay sounds like a great way to learn about the culture and to improve my Spanish; I enjoy practicing Spanish with native speakers, even though it can be quite daunting at times. I’m prepared to be challenged physically and mentally; this trip makes me a little nervous, but also excites me because I have found experiences like this one to be the most formative and memorable.

I love the mountains because they have so much to offer. Aside from beautiful views, they are a platform for so many fun and challenging sports and activities. Some of my best memories, and my favorite days of the year, are the ski trips my family take out west.  During the spring, if I can get to the mountains, I love to hike and mountain bike. It has been a dream of mine for years to live near the mountains, and next year this dream is coming true!