Andover students in the Human Understanding through Archaeology and Cultural Awareness (HUACA) program, visited sites such as Machu Picchu, Chavín de Huántar, Huaca de la Luna and Cerro Sechín as part of archaeological exploration and linguistic and cultural immersion in Peru.
For 18 days, students home-stayed in an indigenous Peruvian village and went on a four day hike to Machu Picchu.
“My favorite part had to be the four day hike we did on the Inca trail. We spent the last day in Machu Picchu…We got see a lot of archaeological sites in the first week, which was an absolutely amazing experience to be able to see amazing structures and temples,” said Alana Gudinas ’16.
During the trip students interacted and met many of the locals. Gudinas found this aspect of the program especially meaningful.
“I think as a person who has never traveled outside the country before, the way I most benefited from this [trip] is, to put it simply, learning from the cultural exchange with the kids from the local community, where a lot of them descended from the Incas,” said Gudinas.
“I don’t speak much Spanish, but I was still able to connect so fully to the kids our age from the local community. I learned that signs of friendship and love are universal, all you have to do is make up your mind, and not make assumptions, and you can form bonds with anyone,” she continued.
While certain French immersion programs may firmly ground their students in Paris, the Piette Program took students from all levels of study on a journey across the entire country. Making stops in Paris, Normandy and the South of France, a group of 12 students absorbed all that the country had to offer, from the Loire Valley to Monet’s Gardens.
Each location focused on a different theme: culture in Paris, history in Normandy and prehistory in the South, where students inspected cave paintings and participated in archeological surveys.
“[The program] was so much more than just learning French. I don’t know when else I’d be able to do an archeological survey, much less in the south of France,” said Sophie Miller ’18, a current FREN-220 student.
Led by Ryan Wheeler, Director of the Robert S. Peabody Museum, Claire Gallou and Debra Pickering, Instructors in French, the group explored their own relations to the country and its culture.
“When we were in Versailles, we figured out that there was still a king living in Versailles named Louis when [Andover] was started. That was just something we figured out. It overlaps. The trip was all about finding where you fit into this history,” said Miller.
The students were required to blog about their experiences and choose an aspect of the trip on which to prepare a “Focus Project” that they would present at Parent’s Weekend in October.
Continuing a tradition since 1998, the Robert S. Peabody Museum offered 3 Andover students the opportunity to travel to the Pecos National Historical Park in New Mexico. For three weeks, the students traveled together to learn about the ancestral and contemporary native communities in the region, with a focus on archaeology.
For the first week, Alexa Pagano ’16, Karissa Kang ’17, and Makenna Marshall ’18 worked with Jemez Pueblo tribal elders and local students to learn more about the town’s culture and history.
Staying at the Pueblo with her host family during the first week proved to be a high point of the program for Pagano.
“One night, I stayed up with my host mom until like two in the morning, just cooking enchiladas with her. [My host family] had to go to a feast day the next day, and they were selling enchiladas at the festival, so I helped her out,” she said.
The students relocated to a small town near Santa Fe on the second week to live in a KOA campground, a company with over 400 camp sites nationwide. The group spent much of their time outdoors participating in excavations, taking hikes and visiting parks, in hopes of gaining new archeological and historical knowledge.
For the final leg of their journey, Andover and Jemez students visited New England to visit the excavation of a sunken ship, while staying at Brooks.
Leaving the warm summers of America and entering the blustery climate of Eastern Europe, 12 Andover students embarked on a three-week immersion program in Petrozavodsk, Russia. Acclimating to a community in which no one understood English proved to be quite difficult for even the most confident of students.
“We lived with host families. I [lived] with a 65 year old woman and no one else. She didn’t speak English. Other people had [bigger] families, with fathers, mothers, grandfathers and siblings. People had very varied experiences, but no one spoke English,” said Jack Lawlor ’17, who had only taken Russian for two years when he signed up for the program.
For Sasha Newton ’16, the immersion experienced exposed her to lessons that were not traditionally taught in a classroom.
“I [learned] idiomatic expressions… that you might not use in the classroom – slang terms that you don’t know or wouldn’t learn,” she said.
Students built their language skills by attending classes taught by Russian college students. Highlights of the trip included visiting the Church of the Savior on Blood, exploring the site of Alexander II’s death and attending the St. Petersburg Opera, where students watched the Barber of Seville entirely in Russian.