Dispatches from a world away

Ariel Delaney and Kristina Collins are Castleton students and Spartan staff members who left for Lima, Peru in August to study for the semester. They will include an installment each issue of The Spartan this fall.
LIMA, PERU — If four thousand miles and an ocean weren’t enough to make us realize that we weren’t in Castleton anymore, public transportation did it. There are three types of buses here: autobuses, combis and micros.

We take the combis, which are a little smaller than the Rutland public buses, but with include a lot of duct tape. Yes, like Vermont, duct tape is also popular here.

Beyond transportation, Lima is a special place. For starters, the government has a palace, and while democratic, it is a little more complicated than one would expect with different ministries and presidents for each province.

Kids graduate secondary school at 15. Then they go university for five to seven years, depending on the concentration.

We are going to the Universidad de Lima, which teaches about 16,000 students, all commuters. About 10 buildings tower over the campus yet there are only three – count them – three open computer labs for students. Just imagine the lines.

It is winter here, which means 60 degrees, and people bundled up in scarves and coats while the two Vermont girls are suffocating.

Lima is in a dessert, but the climate is very moist because it sits so close to the Pacific Ocean. The rain is more of a mist, so we never have to worry about puddles.

What amazes us is that in a city of seven million people, you wonder how anyone can stand listening to so much 80’s American music. We’ve heard “Eye of the Tiger” and Madonna more than Shakira.

Total Peruvian immersion, however, is rather difficult with Starbucks, Burger King, McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts flooding the streets. And our school is across the street from Jockey Plaza, one of the biggest malls in Lima.

Well, like the school’s motto says, “Sabes, Piensas, Haces,” which means “know, think, do.”

We look forward to doing more of that while discovering Peru.

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