Christopher Meyer, IPD ’17

J-Term Practica: Peru Wrap Around, 2016

March 14, 2016


I chose to do my practicum in Peru because of my previous experiences living in Cusco after high school. At the time, I was taking a gap year to travel and work abroad and chose to go to Peru to study Spanish. While a month living in the heart of the Sacred Valley wasn’t enough to fully engage with the Andean communities, I wanted to find a way to become even more immersed and give back in some way. Having the chance to apply the material we were learning in our policy and data analysis class was a great opportunity to understand the complexities of data collection and policy formation. Being able to conduct graduate level research on perceptions of climate change and their effects on local agriculture was a fantastic way to become fully internalize the education we’re receiving at MIIS.

While I was in Peru, I learned about the Inca trilogy from many of our Quechua interlocutors, the three sacred animals within the Inca cosmology – the condor, which represents the future, sky, and head; the puma, which represents the present, earth, and heart; and the snake, which represents the past, underworld, and spine. In many ways, my experience in Peru reflected the symbolism embedded in each animal. The condor was symbolized in my future career in policy and development in Latin America and the open sky of opportunities that await me. The Puma was emblematic of my passion for working in Latin America, using the skills we learned at MIIS and applying them to the work we were doing in Peru. The snake represented my Latin American heritage being a driving force to my desire to become more immersed in these communities and contribute to their development.

Back to Peru Page