IPO News

picture of Elinor Everett at a pool

Greetings from Peru ft. Elinor Everett

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Greetings from Peru!

I’m writing from the Amazonian lowlands in the northeast of Peru. I’ve always wanted to visit the Amazon, but I never planned on it. Living your dreams is surreal.

I’ve learned many things from my experience abroad, especially since I had never left the United States before. Now, I know how to dress for a nighttime frog transect and identify local bird species by their calls.

This experience has improved my confidence with Spanish, as well. Understanding explanations before getting an English translation validated my hard work in my Spanish classes. I knew I wanted to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, and it’s certainly taught me vocabulary and phrases I wouldn’t get from a classroom. Did you know fried rice is called chaufa, here? We use that word a lot.

This experience has taught me about human nature and given me life skills. Social dynamics were supercharged because 15 students and half a dozen staff members live in the same Center. We eat, sleep, work and play together. This was a lot to get used to after the anonymity at UMass.

I have some fun stories, like celebrating birthdays with karaoke and visiting a castle that’s younger than I am. I have some funny stories, like finding off-brand Pokémon cards and being told our Center flooded right when we were supposed to return home for the night. I have a lot of stories that I hope will be funny in hindsight, like shouting “No!” at an old man who kissed my friend, walking over 10 miles in rubber boots in the intense sun, and checking toilets for bats.

I’m grateful for the people I’ve met. I’m incredibly grateful that I was able to study abroad. I sound like a broken record, but truly, I’ve learned many things that can’t be quantified. I thank the financial support that has allowed me to do this, such as a scholarship I got from the UMass IPO.