Wednesday, July 21, 2004


I've been thinking a lot about a lot of thinks recently. School, life, travel, money, that sort of thing. Mostly I've been trying to figure out what exactly it is I want out of (the remainder of) my college education, and weighing the advantages of "getting it over with" and "taking my time." I figured out that if I really pushed it, I could probably graduate next summer, but that would be really pushing it and I would just be scraping by with the bare minimum in terms of major requirements. Then there's the alternative of taking it really easy, exploring classes in other departments, and graduating in two years. I'm trying to settle for something in between, with the added twist of studying abroad for a semester (yes, PSU is on the quarter system, but everywhere "abroad" is on the semester system).

I've been getting really excited about going to visit Quena in Costa Rica next month (yipee!), and just thinking about it has reawakened the thoughts about studying abroad that have been lying dormant in my mind for a few years. I thought about Costa Rica, but it would be silly for me to go there after Quena is gone. :) I've actually found myself thinking more and more about Peru, and really wanting to go back there. Hugo doesn't see why I don't want to go to Spain, but Spain just isn't intriguing to me right now -- it's Peru that's grabbed me. Unfortunately, PSU doesn't sponsor any study abroad programs in Peru, so I've been researching them on my own. I found one today that looks absolutely perfect. It's called ProPeru , part of ProWorld. It's a fairly young program, but really well set-up and complete. It's a combination of academic work and community project work, and it's about the only program I've found that's not in Lima, but closer to Cusco (as in, near Machu Picchu!). The first four weeks of the semester you take an intensive Spanish class, at whatever level you test into. The rest of the time you take classes from faculty at the Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC). The best part is, they're anthropology classes, so I could potentially get credit for my major and not have to take as many electives at PSU! The classes are: Anthropology of South America, History, Art and Architecture of Peru, and Issues in Development (because the community projects are development projects -- duh). You get to choose what kind of project you want to work on -- health, environment, women's rights, technology, etc., and the projects are based on community need/desire. It all sounds fabulously wonderful. Oh, and, of course, there are trips and activities every weekend, and I think all of the classes also have built-in field trips to archaeological sites, museums, etc.

Anyway, I’ve figured out that if I push myself a bit for a couple of quarters next year (it wouldn’t be pushing if I didn’t take third year Spanish), I can do the ProPeru program in the fall semester of 2005, and then finish up in one quarter after I get back, putting my graduation date somewhere around March 2006. Man, that sounds like a long way off! On the other hand, it’s not as long as it could be, and it includes studying abroad for three and a half months! What do you think? :)

Random happy ending note: I’ve made a cycling buddy in my Spanish class, and I rode all the way home today! :P

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