Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Teresa Larson - Cusco

 Teresa Larson is a masters student in Special Education at the U of U. She participated in the Going Global in the College of Education: Cusco program in summer 2010.

As part of our requirements for our study abroad in Cusco, Peru, we had to note similarities and differences between our cultural and theirs.  It's easy to note differences, so our professor wanted us to look for similarities too.  Once you start looking, it's amazing to see how many similarities there are.  For part of the blog, I'm going to note some of the similarities and differences I noticed.  McDonalds! Of course, there seems to be a McDonalds where ever you go in the world.  I did not venture in to try the food, not with all the delicious Peruvian food we were served daily. 

The second similarity was that children all over the world love to have their pictures taken.  We were visiting a boys school in Cusco and once we started taking pictures all the boys started running towards the camera eager to pose.  As you can see, one boy is holding a soccer ball.  The boys were having a break and naturally playing soccer another similarity to boys in the United States.

Cusco has a rich culture with many ornate chapels and cathedrals in the center of town, the Plaza de Armas.  Many of the the churches have tours when they are not being used for services.  The churches are just as beautiful inside.  In the middle of the Plaza de Armas, is a beautiful, small park with benches to sit on and just take in the amazing scenery:  the cathedrals and the chapels, shops, tourists and indigenous people dressed in native costumes selling anything from bracelets, knitted hats or holding a lamb for you to take a picture with. 

One of my favorite parts of the trip was the wonderful family we stayed with.  The padre (father) met me at the airport holding a sign with my name.  He didn't speak much English, nor I much Spanish, so our walk to his home was fairly silent as he carried my luggage.  The madre (mother) welcomed me with a hug and a kiss on the cheek, the traditional greeting in Peru.  She prepared three meals a day for us (there were five other girls staying with this family).  Each meal was a Peruvian delight.  Rico! (Delicious!) Each time we came home for lunch or dinner, she greeted us with a hug and a kiss on the cheek and the most precious smile.  Her children were well mannered and fun to spend time with too.  This truly added to the great cultural experience.
We ended our Cusco adventure with a trip to Machu Picchu.  It was breathtaking.  We toured Machu Picchu on a foggy, drizzly day.  This added to the ambiance of the site.  It made Machu Picchu appear mysterious.  After our wonderful day walking and relaxing on Machu Picchu, we hiked down the hundreds of steps through the jungle to our hostel.  Our calves were not happy with us the next day.  But I would do it again.  The view from our hostel was absolutely beautiful.
The cultural experience, our host family, roomies, Spanish classes every morning, cooking classes, tours, Machu Picchu and the wonderful people you meet make this definitely the most enjoyable three credits I've earned. 

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