“Year of Peru” kicks off

KSU LINK Leads participant Dan Adkins in Peru

Students share experiences of study abroad and internships KSU students who spent parts of spring…

Georgia (Sep 6, 2011)

Students share experiences of study abroad and internships

KSU students who spent parts of spring and summer 2011 in three different study abroad and internship programs in Peru shared video, oral and photographic accounts of their experiences to officially launch the university’s 28th annual country study — “The Year of Peru.”

Peru left an indelible mark on nearly a dozen members of a panel of students participating in the first “Year of Peru event for the 2011-2012 academic year.  The panel included students who traveled to Peru with the Leaders in Kennesaw (LINK) Leads program, an art history student and a KSU Spanish major who completed a month-long internship before graduating in August. 

“It started with just [selecting] a topic and a country and ended up being an experience none of us will ever forget,” the opening frame of a video presentation by LINK Leads participants declared.

Fifteen LINK Leads students spent 18 days of cultural immersion in Peru as part of their third-year capstone experiential learning and service experience in the leadership program.  Accompanied by Rian Satterwhite and Karen Heilmann of KSU’s Center for Student Leadership, the students criss-crossed Peru, visiting Lima, Paracas, Ica, Nasca, Arequipa, Chivay, Puno and Cusco.   

The panel discussion and photographic images included in a video documentary depict the students’ experiences as they took part in cultural dances and rituals; consumed native foods and drinks; studied the country’s history; visited its most revered monuments and ruins;  met with legal experts dealing with the effect of climate change  on Peru’s glaciers and underwater aquifers; witnessed political protests and labor unrest; analyzed leftists and right-wing candidates engaged in run-off elections; and met and engaged with children at one of the country’s many orphanages.  For fun, they played soccer and volleyball with locals and experienced parasailing off cliffs and sand boarding in the desert. 

“We learned so much,” said Brandon Krusac, a senior education major who also has traveled abroad to Russia and Jamaica. “It was the most fun I’ve ever had.  The trip has given me the confidence to handle anything that comes my way.  I’m certain I’ll be able to relate the experiences to the students I will be teaching soon.”

Erin Shea, an August KSU graduate majoring in Spanish, spent a 30-day internship working at an orphanage and living with a local family. She said the opportunity to use Spanish daily to interact with locals has made a tremendous difference in her language abilities.  “My confidence in speaking Spanish increased 100 percent,” she said. 

Art major Judy Murphy was most impressed by the diversity of the culture and the people she met while photographing images of Peru’s vast panoramas — from coastal towns and villages to the Andes — as well as its architecture, religious sites, cityscapes and Incan and pre-Incan ruins.

In Lima, for example, she photographed children who slept outside on one of the city’s iconic statues.  “There are so many orphaned children in the city, but they are so engaging,” she said.  “It’s beautiful and sad at the same time.”

A collection of images from

The “Year of Peru” continues this month with a concert performance by Inca Son, a renowned company of Peruvian musicians and dancers, on September 22 at the Bailey Performance Center and lectures by visiting scholars from Brown and Boston universities and Jessica Stephenson, assistant professor of art history at KSU.  For more information and a complete list of “Year of Peru” events, visit http://www.kennesaw.edu/yearofperu/

In addition, KSU is offering two special topics courses during the “Year of Peru.”  Visiting Fulbright Professor Oswaldo Gavidia  from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Perú has teamed up with Dan Paracka, study-abroad director and “Year of” program coordinator, to teach a newly designed course spanning Peru’s Pre-Incan civilizations, Inca expansion, Spanish conquest, colonialism and early nationalism.  Ernesto Silva, assistant professor of Spanish, is teaching a course featuring four novels by Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Sabbaye McGriff

Photo courtesy of Rian Satterwhite



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