Jamie Perez, IPD ’17

J-Term Practica: Peru Wrap Around, 2016

February 29, 2016


After two years of Peace Corps service on the northern coast of Peru, I thought I knew all there was to know about Peru and Peruvian culture. Once I heard more about Team Peru and the work completed last year with the Andean Alliance for Sustainable Development (AASD), I realized that was not the case. I chose to join Team Peru this year to experience a new part of the country and understand even more of the rich culture I loved so much during my time as a Peace Corps Volunteer and that is exactly what I was able to do.

One of the most impactful parts of the J-Term experience was seeing how MIIS Alum (the co-founders and staff for the AASD) put what they learned in the classroom, what we are learning now, in action. They built off of the tools MIIS helped provide them to create their very own international development organization. Additionally, their shared MIIS experience allowed them to better relate and empathize with us as current students strengthening our working relationship with them.

The J-Term trip and the Peru Wraparound course as a whole also allowed the students on Team Peru to build a strong working and academic relationship. We have been working with each other since the middle of the Fall 2015 semester and, upon returning to the states, are working together in a course this semester to analyze our findings from the trip. We have invested in each other and this team to provide AASD with a useful and cohesive report of the entire experience and the results of our work. This kind of teamwork and level of communication is extremely helpful in preparing us for our professional lives.

I love Peru and always knew I would go back there someday but the J-Term trip allowed me to return after my Peace Corps service even sooner than I thought I would be able to. It allowed me to experience a region I had not visited before and get to know more about the Sierra culture as opposed to the coastal culture I was so accustomed to. The host family we lived with, the interpreters we worked with and the local farmers we interviewed throughout the project taught me so much more about the diverse country I learned to love as a Peace Corps Volunteer. I cannot wait for my next opportunity to go back and learn even more.

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