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Kristina Borich: Urubamba, Peru
What’s your major?
Where did you go?
How long were you abroad?
How did you choose the program you went on?
I wanted to volunteer or intern abroad in a Spanish speaking country. ProWorld Service Corps offered internships in Mexico and Peru. I was also looking for a summer program.
Did you take any courses while abroad?
No courses, but I was the intern for the Cleaner Burning Stoves Project. Before I left, I spoke with the internship adviser for Anthropology majors, and we talked about how I could get credit for the internship towards my major.
What did your internship consist of doing?
I worked Monday - Friday from about 8:30 til noon or one in the afternoon on my internship project. As an intern, I went into a community and conducted interviews in the homes of the potential families. Then, as a group the volunteers and I would move materials for the stoves into the community. It would take two - three volunteers to build one stove, and it usually took two - three days. Each house was a unique situation, so we had to be creative and pay attention to the needs of each family as we built the stove. The afternoons and weekends were free time for both volunteers and interns.
What your favorite memory from your experience abroad?
I'm torn with my favorite memories between my experiences with my family and my experiences with my project. Both were incredible. My family was caring, and fun and my project was exciting and very satisfying. Both were equally unforgettable.
What would you say to someone considering studying or interning abroad?
Do it. Especially if you are majoring or minoring in a language. But I think every major would benefit from a study abroad experience or a volunteer abroad experience like one I did.
Outside of your internship what did you enjoy most?
We did have one hour conversation classes with a tutor Monday - Thursday. But, outside of my service project, I enjoyed my host family the most.
What was your favorite local landmark?
Machu Picchu was amazing, but local to my hometown, my favorite landmark was the mountains and fields surrounding the valley I lived in.
What were your living accommodations?
I lived with a host family in Urubamba, Peru. My host mother was Elizabeth Rojas and she had four daughters, whom I spent a lot of my free time with.
What was your greatest challenge?
I'm far from perfect in my Spanish, so that was my greatest challenge. But, I was able to get by just fine, and my host family was extremely helpful and never criticized my conversations, they loved helping me learn not only Spanish but also Quechua the language that traces back to the Incas and is still spoken in the Andes.
What skills do you acquire abroad?
Definitely acquired better conversation, grammar and vocabulary skills from speaking Spanish with my host family and the families where we built stoves. I learned how to get around the area in combis and bargain in markets.
Where did you live?
Urubamba, Peru (about one hour from Cuzco the largest city in the Andean mountains of Peru)
Has interning abroad influenced your academic/career path?
Absolutely! I've narrowed down my degree to one major that I am really interested in starting a career in, I also decided that I want to work abroad even just for a year in South America.
What were questions you were commonly asked by local residents?
Anything about my family in Minnesota. They are very interested in your family.