What better way to celebrate the end of not only a busy fall semester, but additionally the completion of my Master of Accountancy program, by escaping the cold weather for warmth in Peru?!

As another phase of my time at UTC comes to an end, the international business experience course to Peru through the Rollins’ College of Business represents my ninth and final abroad endeavor with the university for the time being.

Generally speaking, I attempt to educate myself about the destination as much as I can before departing, but inevitably, the majority of the learning takes place on site. The live experiences test skills that cannot be mastered through studies alone, better preparing one for future occurrences, not excluding even those health related. Change in cuisine and altitude got the best of many of our group members, but that did not stop us from enjoying the time. We learned our limits and acted accordingly, realizing we are not invincible while abroad.

Though I have been fortunate to visit various places, including other countries in South America, such as Argentina and Chile, I faced unique experiences in Peru, involving the people, geography, climate and gastronomy. I took advantage of opportunities that I would not normally have, such as tasting dishes consisting of alpaca and guinea pig and swimming with sea lions and jellyfish!

I find Peru to be humble, a country that only recently became aware of their potential, specifically in agriculture. After recovering from a recession, the people are hopeful for their future. While tourism is a large factor, the locals are careful to preserve their heritage, most noticeably regarding Machu Picchu.

During the trip, I learned to interact with those of different backgrounds both within and outside of the group, creating relationships that I hope remain meaningful. Additionally, I revived my Spanish skills, especially with my host family when I had no choice, but to communicate in their native language.

By extending my stay, I was able to spend Christmas learning how it is recognized in Peru, compared to the U.S., the only other culture I am familiar with how the day is celebrated. Family is number one, regularly spending time and communicating with one another. Also, it is not uncommon for every member to live together for an extended period of time. I went from seeing the capital of Lima through the perspective of a tourist to a local, but I recognize there is much more I would like to see.

I recommend these short-term, faculty led programs over and over again, ideal for anyone from those with busy schedules to first-time travelers. I would continue school, just to participate in course such as these, because despite the brevity, the learning potential is unlimited! I am confident that I am now more prepared to address a wider range of future situations regardless of domestic or international. Once again, thank you for your support in my goals.

Lynna Nguyen is a graduate student in Accounting. She participated in a College of Business faculty led trip to Peru in December, 2018 (check out her blogs regarding COB faculty led trips to Argentina and the Balkans as well!). 

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