CISABROAD BLOG · November 5, 2014 · 2 Min Read
Cusco, Peru: Lead yourself in a new direction

Alumni Ambassador, Haley Diener from Elizabethtown College writes in with a powerful testimonial about her Semester in Peru with CISabroad.

“It’s not every day you hike the Inca trail. Less than a month after landing in Cusco, Peru, my host family told me to don my hiking boots and prepare myself for a walk. Little did I know, I was in for a three hour, whirl-wind tour, featuring some of the greatest views Peru has to offer, followed by a beautiful hike through the Peruvian countryside. Four months later, I left Peru with memories of mountains I had climbed and friends I had made, inspired to understand inequality, work towards social justice, and hold on to the perspective that cultural immersion afforded me.

Hiking the Inca Trail with my host family

Hiking the Inca Trail with my host family

My choice to study abroad in a location that was neither developed to the level of Western economies nor akin to the extreme poverties of the third world was a difficult one. With the mentorship of Sabina Post (Director of Study Abroad at Elizabethtown College) my professors, and my family, I chose a destination that was far out of my comfort zone. I was unable to justify a grand European vacation when I would be able to do much more, both in terms of travel and volunteer work, in Latin America. I gained a great amount of perspective about hard work and the importance of community in Peru. I experienced extreme culture shock upon return, disgusted by the entitlement and greed of consumer culture in America. This shock inspired me to think on a more systemic level than my work in psychology had previously led me to explore. Courses in social work and social justice have pushed me academically as I reach across borders to understand what life is like around the world – or down the street.

Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, a satellite campus of the main campus in Lima for international students.

Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, a satellite campus of the main campus in Lima for international students.

To pay forward the warm hospitality I experienced through my host family and the faculty and staff of Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, who made Cusco feel like a home a continent away, I now work as a cultural resource to refugees who have recently arrived in the United States. The Somalian refugees I’ve come to call friends cannot return home, just as I cannot return to ignorance of the needs of the world and my own unique strengths. I choose to lead through service.

Ready for every day to be an adventure? Choose CISabroad Cusco, Peru as your study abroad destination.”

Interested in talking to our Alumni Ambassadors? Contact our Global Advising Center or chat with us online!

The CIS Abroad blog is run by Zoë Crabtree, Jenn Weisgerber, Siobhan Tripp, Emily Negard, and more folks on our marketing team. Head over to the “Meet the Team” page to learn more about us as individuals. On the blog, we share student-written content and information for students, advisors, other study abroad professionals, and families of students studying abroad. Check out our Facebook and Instagram for more from us and our students!