First week in Cusco, Peru

After spending over a week in Cusco, Peru, I have found that I am already learning so much. Cusco speaks Spanish and Quechua, not really much English. Going into this program I didn’t know any Spanish, and I already feel like I can make it by. I highly recommend studying abroad in a country that speaks another language so you can further your communication with the rest of the world. I am taking 5 classes here: History of the Inca Civilization, Contemporary Society and Culture of Peru, Biodiversity of Peru, Spanish, and Art & Design of Cusco. All of these classes, with the exception of Spanish, focus on my location on this planet. I highly doubt I could take any of these classes in the United States, much less visit the sites we are learning about in class!! I am really enjoying my classes so far and am feeling that I am going to learn a lot of cool information. I am doing a home stay here in Cusco and do not regret it one bit. Although it has been difficult with the language barrier, I find that I am learning a lot about both the language and the culture. Any new experience is going to be hard, but I feel as I will get the hang of it! My host parents are very good cooks, patient, understanding, protective, and incredibly kind. I feel blessed to have a host family like I do. There is another student from my program staying with the same host family so that has been very nice! We attend their family events together, explore the city, and spend time with the other international students from USIL, our university. The thing with studying abroad is that you can’t really stay in your comfort zone, because honestly you don’t really want to. There are so many new experiences and opportunities at my fingertips that it would be foolish to not participate. I have tried cows tongue, hiked up a mountain, learned native dances, and even bargained with natives on the street for a cheaper price on al paca sweaters (and won). I feel like I am starting to understand the culture more. Here we say a full greeting to everyone. Hey, Hi, Hello is considered rude. What is expected is good morning, good afternoon, or good night with one single kiss on the cheek. If you ask how they are doing, a full answer is expected whereas in the United States, good is suffice. It’s very cool to be learning another culture and to be completely immersed into it! For anyone considering studying abroad, stop considering and do it!!

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