Peru, a country the size of Alaska, comprises nearly two-dozen different ecosystems, from the Pacific coast to deserts to jungles to the soaring Andes Mountains. All of them – and most of Peru’s people – are feeling the effects of climate change. ...
Peru, a country the size of Alaska, comprises nearly two-dozen different ecosystems, from the Pacific coast to deserts to jungles to the soaring Andes Mountains. All of them – and most of Peru’s people – are feeling the effects of climate change. Canadian mining companies and U.S. economic policies are changing Peruvian lives in ways subtle and substantial. The students of ieiMedia’s Peru Project will tell their stories by using their Spanish language skills and interpreters to interview everyday people, experts and tourists in Lima, Cusco and one of the world’s most unique places, Machu Picchu. (If you’re not already familiar with this 15th century, 8,000-foot-high Inca palace rediscovered in 1911 by an American professor, here’s a link to a one-minute 360-degree video on it by The New York Times.)
A generation ago, Peru was a hotbed of political unrest, poverty and narco-terrorism. But now it is one of the world’s safest, most-stable countries and growing economies. Machu Picchu is truly one of the seven wonders of the modern world, but there’s also so much more for student journalists to cover in Peru: world-class cuisine, a World Cup futbol team, Latin jazz in Lima, artisan weavers in Cusco, art and diplomacy in Lima and, of course, the effects of climate change at altitudes ranging from sea level to 16,000 feet above.
For the first four days, we’ll report from Lima, Peru’s capital and the second-largest city in South America, with nearly 9 million people. We will hit the ground running, because even though it’s a long flight, Lima is on the same time as Chicago, so we won’t have any of the jet lag that makes the first few days in Europe so challenging. That’s why we can complete this course in three weeks instead of four, still earn the same three credits of upper-division journalism electives, still be qualified for a Gilman study abroad scholarship if you’re a Pell grant recipient – and otherwise pay just $3,995 for the course instead of $4,995.
Included in your fees is our roundtrip airfare from Lima to Cusco, perched 11,000 feet (i.e., two miles!) above sea level amid the majestic Andes Mountains. In Cusco, we will settle into a routine of each morning’s Spanish language and Peru culture lessons – customized for you whether you’ve never spoken Spanish or are nearly fluent – followed by journalism lessons. We’ll break for a leisurely lunch and siesta, as the Peruvians do. Then we’ll spend our afternoons out reporting and researching -- with faculty and interpreters -- and later producing and editing packages of multimedia stories and releases.
Cusco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site steeped in native culture, but it is also one of the Andes’ largest cities, with a population now exceeding 430,000. Incan ruins displaying ingenious architecture and engineering are all around Cusco, but of course our climactic reporting trip will be to Machu Picchu, and the 125-mile roundtrip train ride there is included in your fees, too. Our course will end with a marathon production and editing session, making sure everyone leaves with a great digital “clip.” We’ll finish on Aug. 8 with a farewell dinner to celebrate our accomplishments, our insights and our friendships among classmates from across the U.S. and Canada. The next morning, we’ll fly back to Lima. From there, students can catch return flights to North America – or for independent travel throughout Latin America. Fantastico, en verdad?