Ava Liu, of Toronto, has one piece of advice for travellers going to Cusco, Peru: Pack your rain boots! The 22-year-old has been living in the high-altitude region of Peru for the last six months completing an internship at Centro Bartolomé de las Casas through Cuso International.
The organization focuses on improving Andean rights and opportunities through social work, enterprise and tourism. Ava worked to promote the organization’s sustainable tourism, which introduces tourists to Andean communities and culture."The benefit of interning internationally is the chance to really immerse yourself in the working culture of another country."
On one tour, Ava joined a French chef to learn more about Andean cooking. Here, they learned about a traditional food called cuy (guinea pig). Many families grow the livestock in their home and celebrate it through festivals. Some communities perform rituals of prayers and pouring beer over the meat before it is eaten.
This incredible experience in Peru was made possible through the International Youth Internship Program from Cuso International, sponsored by Global Affairs Canada. Ava was one of 35 young professionals selected. The program, ending March 31, 2017, aimed to give young professionals work opportunities while supporting important projects in developing countries.
“The benefit of interning internationally is the chance to really immerse yourself in the working culture of another country,” Ava said. “I practiced my skills in a Spanish-language environment, which is something I could not have learned anywhere else. It will help me in my future because I got the chance to interact with many volunteers of different ages and backgrounds, which is not something I would normally have in a traditional organization.”
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