Culture, Service, and Language Immersion in Peru!

An Honors-Service Learning 4-Credit Course (HUMA 299)

and a Life Changing Adventure!

Facilitators:  Terry Swan, Associate Professor of Sociology; Esther Hutson, Instructor of Spanish; and Tony Bennett, Instructor of Photography.

Join us May 31st to June 16th, 2013 as we immerse ourselves in Peruvian culture by participating in a community development project and after-school program in Cusco, Peru!  This 4-credit course combines travel and learning, language and culture, photography and volunteering!  Now what could be better than this!?

From our home base of Cusco, ancient capital of the Incan Empire, we’ll take historical and cultural side trips to the Sacred Valley and to Machu Picchu, one of the Wonders of the World! 

We’ll also explore Peru’s capital, Lima.  One co-facilitator is a native Peruvian who can introduce us specifically to Peruvian culture and language.  Plus, a professional photographer is on board and excited to help us all take once-in-a-lifetime photos! 

The current estimated trip cost for in-state students, is $3300 ($3500 for out-of-state students).*  This cost will include airfare from Albuquerque, Globalteer program fees, lodging, tuition, group side trips, a simple breakfast each morning (except for Lima and Machu Picchu), and lodging/transport costs for Machu Picchu

* Please note:  costs may change slightly depending on airfare and the number of participants.  We hope it’s less of course!

Because this is an Honors Service Learning course, you will be eligible for some Honors funding if you are a member of the Honors program by the time of the trip.  To be considered a member of the Honors program, you need to have taken at least one course with an Honors component and had a 3.25 GPA in that course.  If you have not already taken an Honors course and want to be eligible for this funding, be sure that one of the classes you take in the Spring 2013 term has an Honors component!  At this time (November, 2012) we do not yet know how much assistance we’ll be able to ensure, but this information should be available shortly.

Globalteer and the Community Project:

We will work with Globalteer (, an organization involved internationally in areas of need.  A registered charity from the United Kingdom, Globalteer is legally required to ensure that 100% of all monies received are used to achieve its charitable objectives.

Globalteer seeks to promote sustainable development, helping to relieve poverty and improve the conditions of life in socially and disadvantaged communities.  Sustainable development “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Check out this link as to what might be in store for us, including the video:  Terry Swan, who took a group of San Juan College students to Cusco in 2009, recognizes some of the children in the photos and video!  In 2009, we worked in two orphanages, helping children with homework, activities, and improving the facilities.  We also prepared Navajo tacos for them, as seen in the photo below.  They loved it!

Please understand that things change all the time, but these are the kinds of activities that we will be engaged in.  

The project that we are scheduled to be working with involves 4-6 contact hours a day helping in an after-school program for at-risk children.  This will involve contact with the children as well as assisting with improving and maintaining the facility, called “Picaflor House” – see

Where we’ll stay, how we’ll travel, and where else we’ll go!

Most of our time, we will reside in the modern (yet historic) city of Cusco, the oldest continuously-inhabited city in South America.  We will stay at Killa Qente Hostal close to the central square in Cusco.  See

We will visit local markets, Spanish-era buildings, villages, and ancient ruins – including Machu Picchu, a world heritage site (  We will also visit the terraced ruins of Ollantaytambo, the sacred fortress of Sacsayhuaman, and the Sacred Valley.  In addition, Esther Hutson will help guide us through a couple of days in Lima, the capital of Peru.  From past experience, we expect this to be a life changing experience due to cultural immersion, exploring a new country, living in a group setting, serving in unfamiliar places, practicing some Spanish and, more than anything else, FUN!

Karina Ortega, 2009 trip participant, in Cusco.

For the service component, students will participate in one or more of the options provided: working at the community center mentoring and tutoring students in an after-school program, helping with vocational training, working in the library, and helping with construction and renovation of the community center and gardens.  Engaging in something that includes immersion in the culture through service becomes a tremendous growth experience, and it truly expands your understanding of the socio-cultural aspects of life.  If you have not studied any Spanish, don’t worry.  Esther Hutson will help us all learn some basics of getting around in a Spanish-speaking country.  Since she is from Peru, she will be available throughout the trip for interpreting when needed and helping us all gain greater language ability!

As an added bonus, Tony Bennett will share his expertise in how to take quality photos even if all we have is a little digital camera!  He’ll give us pointers and ongoing “mentoring” so we can all return with photos that capture the moments and experiences of our time there.

Sophia Smith, a 2009 participant, with children in a rural village.

In the Spring semester, students will have some required meetings on business related to traveling, the sociological study of Peruvian culture, Peruvian history, culture shock and the cycle of adaptation to another culture, and some survival and practical Spanish skills. 

What should you do now? 

  • Please fill out the application at this link:


  • For general questions, contact Terry Swan at  You can also ask any of us specific questions: Terry at the above address, Esther at, or Tony at
  • Plan to attend those four or five 1 ½ hour preparation classes in the spring term.  The dates will be forthcoming as soon as we can get them to you.  You will be required to attend them!  These prep classes are so you can:
    • Keep updated on schedules and “business” matters, like how to get passports, what to expect, arrangements, etc.;
    • Learn about Peruvian culture, history and current issues;
    • Learn some conversational Spanish so you can interact with the children, citizens, and society.
  • You will need to make a deposit of $300 to hold your place with Globalteer, the organization who will oversee our service, lodging, travel, etc.

Facilitator Biographies:

Terry Swan, PhD – Associate Professor of Sociology

Terry has been teaching Sociology at San Juan College since 2006, and is currently a Distinguished Teaching Chair for service learning.  She has decades of experience with international programs and traveling, including three years in the Peace Corps.  Terry led a San Juan College trip to Cusco, Peru in 2009, and has traveled in Mexico, Thailand, China, Nepal, and many European countries in addition to Canada and the United States.

Esther Hutson – Adjunct Instructor of Spanish

Born in Lima, Peru, Esther is a full-time Spanish teacher at Hermosa Middle School and part-time Spanish instructor with San Juan College.  She has lived in San Jan County since 1998 and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from SMP University in Peru.  She is very excited to help introduce her native country to people in this program!

Tony Bennett – Instructor of Photography

After graduating from Brooks Institute, Santa Barbara, CA, one of the top photographic schools in the world, Tony operated a commercial photo studio in Dallas for over twenty years. Shooting for clients such as Hertz, American Airlines, Dr Pepper, Pizza Hut and Ralph Lauren, he traveled extensively for both work and pleasure. He was also a team photographer for the Dallas Cowboys for ten years, a part of three Super Bowl winning teams. He has visited the White House three times including a visit with the President in the Oval Office. Tony brings with him a wealth of photographic and travel experience. He now leads the Photo Department at San Juan College.

We truly hope you’ll join us!  We would love to have you participate in what promises to be an amazing trip!!!!