This educational, faculty-led trip to Peru was one that was both surreal and essential to my growth and purpose in both my career and my personality. The country of Peru showed me that South America is incredibly diverse and there is a large difference in the mindset and experiences one can have while abroad versus in their home country. I found that by focusing on learning the culture and experiencing the normal day in Peru, I was obtaining a familiarity with some of the traditions and ideology of some of my foreign-born friends back home. This trip to Peru allowed me an incredible amount of self-identification and allowed me to further note my future goals and career possibilities.  

The trip began a day early for me and I found that having this day to take in the Peruvian culture on my own was incredibly helpful for me in understanding some of the adjustments that I needed to make during my stay in Peru. The city of Lima was a lot like that of the states, but there is a certain atmosphere that the city has that cannot be seen in the states. I found that I noticed a large difference in how they operate during their normal work days and I learned that there is a huge importance in social entrepreneurship. During the entrepreneurship panel, I was able to observe some of the entrepreneurial qualities that are important to the people of Peru and by noting how there was a large emphasis on helping people versus building wealth, I was able to note that I found myself extremely interested in how their businesses are formed and the need for comfortability in the workplace. As I addressed earlier, the self-identification that I experienced was first due to the information I learned while on our early business meetings. It made me truly realize what I found most important and what seemed to foster growth in my own mental model through social work and volunteering.  

Furthermore, while in Cusco I was able to further see how social work and people-oriented environments were all throughout Peru. By being in a more traditional, Incan culture, I was able to experience some of the traditional viewpoints and mindsets that these people possessed and learned a lot more about myself. I started to understand what my interest in my major really was and I believe that the trip was essential in continuing my growth in my business goals. Likewise, taking trips to locations like Machu Picchu furthered my interest in travel and made me realize how important it was to experience history from both an intellectual and growth-minded mindset.  

In conclusion, although Peru was wonderful in every sense, surprisingly I got the most out of what the Peruvian business culture taught me. I found that the need for social purpose and volunteering in my life was something I really wanted and would have never identified with it unless I took this trip.  

Jarred Stanford is double majoring in Entrepreneurship and Marketing. He participated in a College of Business faculty led trip to Peru in December, 2018. Jarred had the following to say about his time abroad, “Studying abroad will allow you to identify… how culture and other foreign experiences [help] you to understand your purpose and end goal Although one can look at it as a vacation or adventure, it truly does offer one with a surreal experience that cannot be mimicked. If you have the chance to study abroad, and are struggling with finding a reason to do so, just do it for yourself because it will help you self-identify what you truly enjoy and like to see!

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