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