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Packing for Peru: The NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellows

Packing for Peru: The NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellows

By Kristen Shannon

Innovation Assistant

Kristen Shannon serves as Innovation Assistant at the NEA Foundation, where she helps prepare our Global Learning Fellows for their year-long professional development experience and supports STEM-related projects. Kristen has studied in South Africa and worked for various State Department accredited international education programs. 

Keys: check. Phone: check. Wallet: check. Are we forgetting something?

The NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellows’ field study in Peru is a special kind of trip that requires a special kind of packing list. Before they travel to Peru, these 31 educators will need:

1. A Global Perspective

At the Global Fellows Workshop in Washington, D.C., the Fellows’ session with education consultant Derrick Gay helped them spruce up the windows of their minds. He warned about the dangers of picturing a single story for an entire group and explained how knowing yourself can help you understand others.

The Fellows have been thinking about global perspectives in their classrooms, too! With help from VIF International Education, Fellows have designed lesson plans to bring global competency to their classrooms. After their trip to Peru, they’ll be even better equipped to bring the world into their schools!

2. A Taste of Peru

Fellows got a peek at Peruvian culture from a family of Peruvian horse breeders! The Morán family, owners of Rancho El Chalan in Virginia, talked about the history of horses in Peru and even showed the Fellows some Peruvian dance steps. We eagerly await photos of the Fellows performing the Valicha, Marinera, and Huaylash dances for their hosts.

And, of course, the Fellows had an opportunity to sample Peruvian food! They tried ceviche and yuquitas rellenas de queso, and they’re looking forward to many more Peruvian dishes in June.

3. Personal Connections

Better than Yelp: talking to real people who’ve been to the places you’re going. At the Peruvian Embassy in Washington, DC, the Fellows got to meet Peru’s Ambassador to the US, Luis Miguel Castilla Rubio. He discussed with them topics we all care about: access to education, communication between cultures, and innovative education programs to prepare students for a 21st century world.

The Fellows also chatted with Global Learning alumni, who gave them all sorts of tips for their trip!

4. A Plan

This field study is not one of those trips where travelers trot along after a flag, letting someone else make the decisions. Instead, the Fellows will be taking responsibility for their own journeys with self-guided segments. Fellows will lead outings based around music, arts and crafts, food, and the Larco Museum’s cultural exhibits.

5. Gifts

It’s customary for guests to bring a gift for their hosts. And from a group of educators, what better gift than books?

In the past month, the Fellows have helped raise over $7,500 to bring books to village schools around Cuzco, Peru, far exceeding our original goal of $4,500. Now they’ll be able to bring books to even more schools near Cuzco. We hope the gift will be an inspiration to students both in Peru and back home.

All in all, with these “items”, our Fellows should be well prepared for their field study! We’re looking forward to an exciting and educational summer for the NEA Foundation’s 2016 Global Learning Fellows. Have you traveled to another country recently? What advice do you have for this year’s Fellow? Share your tips in the comments!

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” 

― Isaac Asimov

Inspired to get a global perspective on your own professional development? Visit the NEA Foundation website for information on how to apply for NEA grant resources.