A group of Winsor girls, ranging from freshman to seniors, embarked on a 13 day trip to Peru. We visited various towns as small as Qenqo, in which the whole village came together on a daily basis to tend to each other’s land, and larger towns like Ollantaytambo, which attracted tourists from all over the globe. From rafting the Urubamba river and biking the mountains of Ollantaytambo to interacting with the community of Qenqo and interviewing children at Munaychay, our experiences across the Sacred valley were unforgettable.
But we were not simply tourists visiting a foreign country. Ms. Kashyap’s Global Competency workshops created a space where all girls shared their own diverse cultural autobiographies. The exercise not only enabled each student to share their family history and cultural identity, but also allowed the group to learn and to get to know each other on a more personal level.
Each set of cultural autobiographies we shared led to a discussion with thought-provoking prompts that allowed us to explore the diversity of opinion within the group. Topics that included the role of tourism and feelings of “otherness” allowed the group to find commonalities when it came to its diverse cultural experience. In our travels, we learned a greater truth about human relations not by helping locals, but working alongside them. Through our discussions amongst ourselves and with Peruvians we met along the way, we learned that there is no one right way to live.