Cusco, Peru

Peru Cultural Immersion Program in Cusco, Peru

The College of Hospitality and Tourism Management has developed a unique cultural immersion program in Lima and Cusco, Peru. Cusco is the gateway city to Machu Picchu, referred to as the Lost City of the Incas. It summer 2007 it was voted as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The city was built out of stone approximately 10,500 feet above sea level, nestled in the Andean Mountains. It was never found by the Spanish during their conquest of Peru in the 1500s and was mysteriously abandoned by the Incas. The city was left intact until it was “discovered” by Hiram Bingham, a Yale University archeologist in 1912. Hence, the “Lost City of the Incas” is an architectural and cultural jewel left largely untouched.

Students will have a broad range of experiences. In Lima, you will have short internships at various companies, perform volunteer work at local schools, have a culinary experience, visit local markets, and participate in unique sightseeing opportunities that only locals experience. In Cusco, you will have internship and service opportunities, take unique courses, and participate in a range of excursions that are almost hard to imagine. On top of it, you are taking Spanish and applying the language daily, dramatically improving your Spanish language skills

In Lima, students live in a house in the tourist district and, in Cusco, in a villa run by our partner school, the University of San Ignacio Loyola of Lima. Cusco’s town square is one of the great preserved town squares in the world, looking like something out of the 1500s. Unique cultural sites surround you everywhere. For example, a few minutes from your residence is the Qoricancha, the Inca Temple of the Sun, which is a Spanish church (Santo Domingo) built OVER the Inca temple; the church of one culture sits atop and encloses the culture of another.

The students visit Machu Picchu by train and they also visit this wonder of the world by hiking four days from Cusco on the Inca Trail. The students spend five days in the Amazon jungle, experiencing life in a tropical rain forest. They participate in Cusco’s great June festival, Inti Raymi, which draws visitors from all over the world. The students horseback ride in the Sacred Valley and also whitewater raft there. The students participate in several other excursions such as visiting local markets, which are at the heart of the culture.

The program gives you work, service, course work and living opportunities in an international setting, allowing you to fully appreciate cultural differences. It immerses you in a totally different culture and in the Spanish language which is highly beneficial, as a large percentage of the hospitality work force is Spanish speaking. The hospitality and tourism industry is the world’s largest industry and having a quality international work experience with Spanish-speaking ability builds real marketability.

The program is approximately 11 weeks in length and is for people who don’t want only a tourist experience but who also want to be integrated into a different culture. You are registered as full-time students in the summer and receive financial aid, allowing you to graduate one semester early. You need to have, minimally, one full year of Spanish to qualify for the program. Your GPA must be above a 2.50 and the selection process is competitive.