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The Peruvian   Intercambio  

By: Catherine Lindskog

Title of Project: The Peruvian Intercambio Rationale: The Peruvian Intercambio is a joint language learning and teaching initiative between U.S. children and Peruvian children serving to bridge the language divide in daily volunteer work with adults and youth at the Puericultorio Perez Aranbar Orphanage (PPA), the largest orphanage in South America. This excursion provides a meaningful immersion experience involving cultural learning and service learning opportunities for high school students, bridging cultures, broadening awareness, and forming relationships with young people of a different background and demographic region. The experience allows students opportunities to engage in collaborative learning, teaching, and volunteer work, performing such duties as tutoring English, infant caretaking, and assisting with light manual labor. Such an intensive immersion class would allow for immediate language acquisition and meaningful application to their interactions with children and adults. Additionally, they participate in day trips to rural, indigenous areas to contrast the varying educational settings that Peruvian children attend. Goals of the Activity: The following breakdown is a description of the goals and objectives for the Peruvian Intercambio Trip. This experience serves to meet the following Illinois State Social-Emotional Learning Standards: Goal 1: Develop self-awareness and self-management skills to achieve school and life success. Goal 2: Use social-awareness and interpersonal skills to enhance existing relationships and establish new relationships. Goal 3: Demonstrate decision-making skills and increasingly responsible behaviors in personal, school, and community contexts. The above goals will be met by the objectives: Educate: Students gain awareness of another language, culture, country and people. Participation in the following activities will help students develop an understanding of this specific social and educational context: 1.) The Intercambio experience, wherein both children at the Puericultorio Perez Aranbar and Prosser students will offer a teaching/learning exchange of Spanish and English lessons.

2.) A visit to a suburb of Lima where many of the PPA’s children come from. 3.) A trip to significant cultural and historical landmarks of Lima. Students will share their new perspectives when they return to their high school community in the United States. Workshops will be designed to educate that community toward global communities. Empower: Low-income urban youth participate in an international immersion and service learning experience to encourage positive interpersonal and intrapersonal identity development and fosters self-actualization. The following activities will serve to develop those ends: Students’ social/emotional development, decision-making skills, and sense of connectivity will be fostered through meaningful interactions and volunteer endeavors with the adults and children of the PPA. Serve: Students will assist in a joint volunteer partnership with adults and children at the PPA and participate in the following activities: 1.) Infant and toddler caretaking. 2.) Planning and implementing recreational activities for youth. 3.) Light manual labor activities such as painting. Duration of Activity: The activity should have a minimum duration of 10 days. This offers students the opportunity to adapt to a new culture, gain a significant awareness of the context that they will be carrying out their project, and also provide ample time to complete projects. Key Players Involved:(i.e. teachers, community advocates, etc): At least two adult chaperones from the school should be present for the smallest group of students. In addition, an established community partner in the city of Lima, who is connected to the target project location. The local community partner for the particular experience described below was a volunteer coordinator who worked for a non-profit organization that coordinated service experiences for the PPA. It is ideal to have a neutral organizer who is not directly affiliated with the PPA, but rather someone who builds the connections and facilitates that experience. In this case, the local partner facilitated a series of activities that included the service experience at the PPA, as well as visits to other local pubic schools in Lima where

students could dialogue about the differences in education, society, and teen culture in Peru and the United States. Target Level of Audience: As there are several components to this experience it is important to consider more specifically, the varying target audiences. For the experience at the PPA, students interacted with others in their age range and younger when they taught English classes and interacted with at a more leisurely level playing soccer. When they carried out manual labor activities, the students interacted with on-site adult staff workers , collaborating together on task completion. When students visited a nearby school in Lima, they interacted with high school students in their same age range in order to understand their respective contexts at the same developmental level of adolescence. Ideal Group Size: 10 students from visiting country works best because of the logistics of international travel as well as in promoting a cohesive and reflective group experience. The number of participants in the visiting country may vary according to the different experiences. For example, if students are participating in a mentoring/tutoring experience, no more than one mentor/tutor to every 1-3 children receiving the support. If children are participating in discussion groups, the ideal arrangement would be to have a balanced ratio of visiting students to Peruvian students with no more than 810 per small group. In the case of our experience, it there were 1-2 visiting students to every 4 Peruvian.

Advanced Preparation Time: The following timeline reflects the different levels of preparation for a successful experience based on a trip scheduled at the end of the academic school year: Time Period 8-12 months prior to anticipated trip date (end of previous school year) 6 months prior to trip 5 months prior to trip 4½ to 5 months prior to trip 4 months prior to trip 4 months prior to trip

Begin 3½ months ahead and continue until actual trip

Begin 3 months ahead and continue until actual trip 3 months prior to trip

Complete by 1½ months prior to trip 2 months prior to trip Complete by 1½ months prior to trip Complete by one month prior to trip

Task Apply for Grant Funding Distribute Applications Application Deadline Application Review Process and Student Interviews Selection of Candidates Initial Planning Stage with InCountry Community Partner (discuss dates of trip, begin identifying needs and target audiences of PPA for potential service projects, discuss other potential local experiences, ) Weekly Pre-Trip Meetings: Students develop pre-trip presentations based on an issue, weekly reflections, logistics, planning for fundraising activities Fundraising Initial Parent Info Session: Discuss expectations and responsibilities of students, passport and vaccination process, measures for student safety Passport Process Purchase Flight Tickets Obtain Vaccinations Copies of Documents: have copies of students’ passports, vaccinations, and insurance cards, along with list of 2 emergency

1 month prior to trip

2-3 weeks prior to trip

2 weeks prior to trip

1 week prior to trip

Intercambio Experience 1 week after trip, followed by 3 during the start of the subsequent school year 2nd month of new school year

contacts for each student. Mid-Planning Stage with InCountry Community Partner: Develop daily itinerary that details service experiences and additional intercultural activities, key contacts, Pre-Departure Parent Info Session: Distribute and explain finalized logistical Information (hotel, itinerary, key contact information, travel supply list) Final Pre-Departure Planning Stage with In-Country Partner: Confirm service project and intercultural activities and their dates, hotel arrangements and pickup from airport) Final Pre-Departure Meeting with Students: Confirm transportation to airport, ensure all copies of critical documents have been received. Students travel to Peru Post-Trip Meetings Post-Trip School-Based Activities

Materials Needed: Sample grant application, student applications, student travel lists, journals (individual and group journal),

Description and Instructions for Implementation (a case example): Participants of the Peruvian Intercambio experience came from a low-income high school in Chicago, which made grant funding an essential need. At the time, the current local state representative awarded grants through State Board of Education for international immersion experiences for high school students. Approximately $20,000 USD was budgeted for the entire trip, which covered the cost of airfare, lodging, food, passport, vaccine costs, as well as materials for pre and post-trip activities. The student selection process was a critical element in the pre-trip phase. Students were selected across all grade levels 9-12, based on teacher recommendations, responses to application questions, and student interviews. Once selected, students and parents were asked to sign a contract to their commitment to the experience, which highlighted specific expectations of students. Students began meeting after school on a weekly basis once they were officially selected. In the initial after school meetings, they were introduced to the group journal, which allowed for a joint reflection process. A different student took the journal home each week prior to the trip and reflected on what they were feeling during the preparation phase. In addition, all students completed their own-pre-departure project and presentation. For this project, they were required to research a certain social, political, cultural, environmental, or educational issue of Peru and present it to their fellow participants. During each of the weekly after school meetings, each student had time allotted for their presentation and a question and answer session for peers. Two parent information sessions were held, both at the beginning and just prior to trip departure. The initial session served as an introduction to the experience that provided parents with an overview, safety measures, and set of expectations for both their role and the students’ role in the months to come. It also provided parents with information on obtaining a passport for their child, as well as the vaccination process. The last parent information session provided parents/guardians with a finalized itinerary of the activities that would be taking place on each day of the trip. In addition, all parents clarified who would be bringing their child to the airport and picking him/her up upon return. Parents were provided with all contact information of chaperones, hotel, and flight. At the final information session, all parents were required to have submitted any

remaining documents for copying (Including passport, vaccination, and insurance cards), as well as the emergency contact information of 2 family members (one at least being the legal guardian). As early as the second of each of the weekly meetings, students began brainstorming strategies for fundraising. Much of their fundraising efforts evolved around food: They had candy bar drives, a cultural food day, ice cream sundae day, doughnut day, popcorn day, bake good and refreshment sales. All students were asked to complete pre and post trip surveys to get an idea of social, emotional, academic, and civic outcomes. On the actual trip itself, students continued the group journal process, and were also asked to keep their own daily journal. Meals in the evening were always accompanied by a reflection and debriefing period of the day. Students completed a mural project at the PPA, played soccer with PPA students, and helped them with their English homework. Their experience at local schools outside of the PPA included a tour, and roundtable rotation discussions. In each roundtable discussion group, there was at least one bilingual Chicago high school student to assist in facilitating the dialogue. With the additional funds that students raised, they were able to go to Machu Picchu for a long weekend. These funds covered in-country flight, lodging, entrance to Machu Picchu, on-ground transportation, and meals. During the post-trip experience, students met one time the week after their return where we debriefed the overall trip, as well as brainstormed ideas for educating the school community on their experience. At the beginning of the school year, we met again and planned a school-wide presentation, in which the students presented a slide show, reflected on issues, challenges, and enriching aspects of their experience.

Critique: The key to much of the success of this project was due to timing and advanced preparation. During the selection process, student interviews were useful in clarifying students’ ability to commit to all aspects of the project. It was important to ask students how willing and able they were to commit to the series of pre-trip weekly meetings, as well as fundraising (to cover the cost of an in –country trip to Machu Picchu). Many of the students who applied for the trip were already overcommitted and taking part in several other large-school projects. It is recommended to select students across different grade and tracking levels.

Fundraising was an extremely time-consuming aspect of the trip that required the assistance of an additional adult in the school. In some cases, you may be able to rely on parental assistance for fundraising efforts. At this particular high school however, parental involvement was quite low, in part due to most families coming from a low-income economic bracket. For many families, this was the first time one of their children was leaving Chicago. Parent information sessions were important in providing them with a sense of security in their child’s safety. In addition they were useful in providing an added level of accountability to students’ participation in the pre-trip preparation process. During both trips, students really enjoyed the ability to dialogue with students in different local schools outside of the PPA. The service experiences at the PPA were also powerful opportunities to help meet the needs of a community and also learn about the culture of living in a boarding-school situation. Reflection is not a linear process. It occurred throughout all aspects of the Peruvian Intercambio experience. In the pre-trip phase, students reflected on their excitement, anxiety, the fundraising experiences, conflicts/challenges, and their pre-trip projects. On the actual trip, we made it a ritual to reflect during our lunch and dinnertime meals about students’ experiences. Students also continued to write in the shared and individual journals. Each morning we would read the entry of the previous day of the shared journal. The post-trip experience was an important phase of reflection and education. Student reflection was demonstrated in the creativity that they used to share their experience with the larger school community.

Aside from activities of English tutoring, manual labor, and playing games with the students, an additional activity on a future trip would involve joint interviews, wherein PPA and Chicago students would interview each other and create a product together (such as photographic journals or video documentaries of the interviews). Chicago students may also create a collective blog that reflects their own experience in the preparation (pretrip), action (actual trip), and reflection (post trip) phases of the Peruvian Intercambio Experience.

Appendix of Supporting Materials: I. Intercambio Student Application

Intercambio Application Packet Checklist


Program Description


Application and Essay Questions


Teacher Recommendation Form

Created by: Catherine Lindskog

The Peruvian Intercambio Program Description The Peruvian Intercambio is a joint language learning and teaching initiative between U.S. children and Peruvian children serving to bridge the language divide in daily volunteer work with adults and youth at the largest orphanage in South America. This experience, sponsored by the Representative William Delgado Fellowship and the Illinois State Board of Education, will provide funding for eight Prosser students to travel to Lima, Peru for 10 days where they will work with students of the Puericultorio Perez Aranbar Orphanage (PPA).

The Peruvian Intercambio provides students of the PPA and Prosser Career Academy a twofold teaching and learning exchange of Spanish and English lessons, with Prosser Students teaching English to a group of PPA students in the morning, and then rotating to learn Spanish from the same group of students in the afternoon. Additionally, Prosser students will serve in other serviceoriented capacities at the PPA, including infant and toddler caretaking, planning and implementing recreational activities for youth, as well as light manual labor activities such as painting and gardening. Â

Prosser students will have the opportunity to learn about the social and cultural aspects of Peruvian youth in their experience at the PPA and a group visit to a suburb of Lima where many of the PPA’s children are from. Students will reside in a hotel approximately fifteen minutes from the PPA in a culturally affluent neighborhood of Lima. Some activities include visits to significant cultural and historical landmarks, the local market, Afro-Peruvian dance lessons, and sampling typical Peruvian cuisine. Eight students will be selected to participate in the Peruvian Intercambio Experience. A selection committee will evaluate all applications, with particular emphasis on the essay portion of the application. Selected students must commit to a thorough preparation period prior to departure. In the months leading up to the trip, they will participate in activities aimed at broadening their awareness of the cultural, social, educational, and language aspects of Peru, with particular focus on how such factors apply to the youth population. They will meet 1-3 days per week outside of school hours as a team to prepare teaching lessons, share ideas, and gain deeper understanding for the people and country to which they will travel. Students will share their new perspectives when they return to Prosser, designing workshops and presentations to educate the school community toward global communities.  

Intercambio Application **Please complete all necessary components of the application and return by:____

Name: ___________________________


Home Address:__________________________________________________

Date of Birth:____________ Social Security Number:__________________

Home Telephone Number:__________ Email Address:____________________

Please answer the following questions honestly and thoroughly in a separate, typed document. Your responses will assist us in determining how you would be a good fit for the Peru team. 1. Why are you interested in participating in this experience? 2. Provide specific examples and descriptions of involvement both in and out of school. 3. If you were the person evaluating this application, how would you determine the ideal candidate for this experience? 4. What positive qualities and personal strengths will you bring to an international service learning experience? 5. Are you willing to commit a significant amount of time to fundraise for this trip? If yes, describe some specific fundraising activities you would like to have. 6. What do you hope to gain from this service learning experience? 7. Describe what you would like to do upon returning from this trip so that others will benefit and learn from your experience. 8. How will you educate yourself on the social, cultural, political, and educational circumstances in Peru prior to the trip?

Please check yes or no next to each of the following: Are you:



Willing to get required immunizations? ____ Willing to participate in weekly group meetings before and after school to prepare


for the trip?



• •

Willing to fundraise? ____ Willing to develop a group presentation upon returning to present to the school? ____


Willing to educate your peers and raise awareness amongst the Prosser Community

• •

upon returning from the trip? • • •




Eligible to obtain a passport? ____ Willing to contribute to team efforts? ____ Willing to participate in written reflections and discussions? ____

____ ____ ____

If selected to attend, I understand that I must meet the following requirements in order to participate in the Peruvian Intercambio Experience.

Student Signature:


Parent’s Signature:


Teacher Recommendation for Intercambio Program  Applicant Name:___________________________Division:________ To the Applicant: Please give this form to a teacher who knows you well and is willing to write on your behalf.

To the Teacher: The above-named student is an applicant to the Intercambio Program in Lima, Peru. Students in the Intercambio Program will travel to Lima this summer and participate in a service learning project at the largest orphanage in South America. They will have an opportunity to teach English to youth of a similar age and in exchange, learn Spanish. Prior to departure, students will plan teaching lessons and gain an awareness of the cultural and social issues of Peru and its people, particularly the youth.

Applicants will be evaluated on the basis of academic achievement, level of self-initiative, extracurricular involvement, and ability to work well as team-players. The teacher recommendation is an important component as it will give the evaluation team the opportunity to understand the potential that the student possesses to thrive from participating in such an experience. Your willingness to evaluate the applicant from an objective standpoint is greatly appreciated. Please feel free to attach an additional page if necessary.

Teacher Recommendation Form for Intercambio Program Your Name:_______________________________________________ 1. What characteristics of the applicant most highly suggest that he/she would make an ideal candidate for the Intercambio experience? ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________ 2. On a scale of 1 to 5 (5=very strongly evident; 4=strongly evident, 3=evident, somewhat evident; 1=poorly evident), please rank the following characteristics: __________ Intellectual Motivation

__________ Personal Motivation

__________ Class Participation

__________ Originality

__________ Communication Skills

__________ Work Habits

__________ Respect by Teachers

__________ Respect by Peers

__________ Leadership

__________ Teamwork Skills

3. Please provide any additional information which you feel would be helpful to the evaluation committee, including any unique talents, accomplishments, personal qualities, or circumstances of the student.

***Please return this document to _________ by ____________.

Peruvian intercambio1  
Peruvian intercambio1