Auburn Students Learn through Intercultural Studies in Peru
The Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) offers students several opportunities each year to broaden their educational experience by studying abroad. This year, for the first time, the college offered students the opportunity to experience Intercultural Studies in Peru.
COSAM Student Advisor Katie Cooper organized the trip, hoping students in any area of study at Auburn would have the opportunity to gain knowledge they could apply to their education.
“The way we set up the syllabus and the assignments is we tailored it to each student’s major,” Cooper said. “We wanted them to really think about how they could apply it to their future career and their current major and find things in the country that spoke to them. I think they all came away with something very meaningful.”
Auburn student Neil Perry Spradley is studying Industrial Engineering and said she decided to participate to learn more about her area of study in a developing country.
“I went into it looking for how I could see engineering designs and efficiencies in other countries and how that works in somewhere like the city of Lima, which is so different than America,” Spradley said. “I was excited to see how they implement designs in everyday life compared to how we do.”
Ten students from an array of majors, along with Cooper and Dr. Kyle Kostelecky from the College of Human Sciences, participated in the trip. From Dec. 27 through Jan. 6, the students toured the city of Lima, where they visited the Government Palace, Archbishop’s Palace, and also took a ceviche cooking class; explored the city of Cuzco and visited the Korikancha Temple, traveled to the Sacred Valley, participated in a Peruvian weaving demonstration, and visited the Maras salt ponds; they traveled by train to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu and toured Ollantaytambo and Pisac to Cuzco, and much more.
A guide accompanied the group the entire trip, explaining and teaching the students about the Peruvian culture.
“I learned so much,” Spradley said. “It was such an amazing experience.”
Cooper said she thought the group of students from different majors was a good mix on the trip.
“What I loved about this group is they all bounced insights off of each other and taught each other things about what each was studying,” Cooper said. “I thought we all mixed really well and it’s a really good way to mix a lot of different majors.”
Cooper said the trip will take place next year once again and students also have an array of study abroad options through COSAM, such as studying in Spain, the Dominican Republic, London and more.
“I think every Auburn student, whatever their major, whatever their circumstance, should have the opportunity to study abroad,” Cooper said. “It’s great to get them out of their bubbles, to enhance their education in different countries. My goal is to get students out of the states and to apply what they’re learning internationally.”