Students to lend helping hand in Peru

This summer, some ASU students are putting leisure in the backseat and choosing a unique internship or service-learning experience to help improve the lives of Peruvians.

Spanish lecturer Carmen King is directing and overseeing the first-time study abroad program that will give students the opportunity to fly to Cusco, Peru to be a part of the country’s changing culture.

“Students will be involved with the community,” King said.

During their eight weeks in Cusco, students can participate in an internship or service-learning experience. The internship fulfills some degree requirements, and service-learning experiences are designed to enrich students’ coursework.

King said students can choose to work in one of three general areas: social work, education and health care.

In education, students will teach night classes to young rural women who have not had the opportunity to attend school, she said.

“Some of these women work as maids for food and lodging, and aren’t allowed to go to school during the day,” King said.

Students working in health care will be placed in clinics that spread basic health information that is not accessible to all Peruvians.

“Oral hygiene information is especially needed,” she said.

Students will also provide basic health services such as flu shots and pregnancy tests.

In social work, students will be placed in agencies across the country to assist Peruvians who have migrated to the cities for work and lack a basic school education, she said.

“The language and cultural barriers these workers face are often exploited,” she said.

Journalism and Spanish sophomore Hannah Lurie was one of the first students to sign up for the cultural excursion.

“It’s a great opportunity,” she said. “It’s a great place to really speak Spanish and resume-wise it’s a beneficial program.”

In addition to working with Peruvians in these areas, students will have a chance to see the country’s most famous landmarks, including scenic Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and Puno.

Students are required to have a comfortable grasp on the Spanish language or have studied it at an intermediate level, said King. Students are also encouraged to enroll in a faculty-directed Andean culture course.

“It’s important to speak the language and be culturally competent,” she said.

Applications will be accepted until April 1.

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