My students are ambitious, curious and engaged high schoolers from all over Atlanta, Georgia. They have fun learning Spanish and challenge themselves every day. They are involved in incredible after-school programs and initiatives such as debate, coding, student government association and sports.
However, over one-half of our students come from low-income households, and many of them have not experienced life outside of the Atlanta area or had the opportunity to travel on a plane.
My students are extremely excited for this project and have expressed their thoughts on participating in this trip:
"Being able to talk about a place is one thing but actually having the chance to go there and experience it for yourself is a whole different story! This trip will help me to become a better person and truly understand how fortunate I am. I want to be able to learn and grow from this trip, not only for myself but also to share my experience with others."
"Going on this trip to Peru means so much to me. I've always been fascinated with traveling and learning about new places. This experience will allow me to interact with Peruvians and appreciate their cultures and beliefs."
In June 2018, 24 of my students will travel to Peru, South America for nine days. This will be our Senior Academy's first international trip ever! During this time students will visit the capital, Lima, and the Sacred Valley. The trip is a combination of community service, language immersion and cultural experiences. This will allow students to see the country from many points of view and gain a better understanding of daily life in Peru. Every day the students will build their confidence in Spanish through morning language lessons and in conversations with people from the area. Additionally, they will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Machu Picchu, a UNESCO world heritage site.
As they work together with locals on a series of small community-based service projects, they’ll be immersed in the culture, expanding their language proficiency, and experiencing life as the Peruvians do.
Our goal is for the students to return home with a better understanding of what meaningful service is to them in an interconnected world.
Having the opportunity to fully immerse in the culture and language in Peru will change my students' lives forever. They will have a new perspective on what it means to be a global citizen and bring this perspective back to the classroom and their community. Their confidence in their Spanish-speaking abilities and their motivation to learn will increase. With this motivation they will inspire their classmates to push themselves as well. Additionally, they will be able to reflect upon what they could do to improve or enhance their own communities after participating in local service projects.
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