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Peru Frankly speaking, my decision to travel to the other side of the world came out of random chance when I was hunting for summer jobs, a normal spring activity of Nordic students. As I was doing this, I felt this urge that maybe I should do something different this summer. I started looking into volunteering opportunities in AIESEC and found an interesting programme in Lima, Peru. Great! Going to South America has been a big dream of mine for many years! I did not know much about Peru though, so I was eager to see what it would be like. My impressions of Peru

to feel included in a group as if I had been an old friend

Peru is located on the west coast of South America

all along. Oh, and forget about time tables because

and has a population of around 30 million people, of

absolutely nothing starts on time. As a punctual Finn,

which roughly nine million live in its capital, Lima. From

this dimension of the culture was the hardest to grasp.

a nature perspective, the country can be divided in Lassi Uusitalo

ESTIEM Vice President of Activities 2015

Local Group Lappeenranta & Madrid


three areas; the coast, the mountains, and the jungle.

Speaking of time tables, have you ever used a bus in

What made a huge impression on me was the amount

Lima? To me, the bus system and traffic in Lima were

of traditional Peruvian dances which are unique to each

absolutely insane at first. Imagine the transportation

of the 25 provinces in the country. I still remember

system of Saint Petersburg where you hop on and hop

when my host Carlos told me about all the existing

off the minibus within seconds before the car moves

types of dances: “There is Caporales, Danza de Tijeras,

again and combine it with the traffic of Istanbul—you

Marinera, Tondero…” There were so many things that

get the traffic system of Lima. With so many cars on

he listed that I lost track of all the beautiful traditions

the road, getting stuck in traffic is so common that it

that exist in Peru.

is not a nuisance—you assume that you will be stuck in traffic and you take that into consideration when

Another thing to note is that Peruvians are proud of

planning your commute.

their food. There is a huge variety of cuisine available and even the biggest eaters never go hungry. In fact,

Volunteer & Travel

the portions tended to be so huge that I hardly ever

In Peru I worked as an international volunteer in the

could finish my dishes—I am convinced that I became

social responsibility sector of HAUG S.A., a Peruvian

fatter in Peru from lunches alone. During my stay, I fell

construction company which also operates in Chile and

in love with the Peruvian hot sauce ’ahi’ which I had

Argentina. I took part in the Reto Verde project which

with every meal.

aims to educate children and teens about environmental

If I was asked what a typical Peruvian person is like, I

issues, responsible leadership and the English language.

would say that, in my experience, in terms of mentality

I was in charge of conducting English lessons with my

Peruvians are bipolar opposites of Finnish people.

co-worker to 10–12 year old children in a small town

They talk a lot, share everything, have a strong sense

just outside of Lima called Lurin. The classes were a

of community and are extremely inclusive in all social

sort of a language club for the children in order to

activities. I was very surprised of how easy it was for me

motivate them to learn more English once they start

ESTIEM Magazine |51st issue - Distruptive Technologies

ESTIEM Magazine I Autumn 2016 I Disruptive Technologies  
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