When I was in Cusco I was very curious about what university in Peru would be like. Would it also be poor, like some parts in the country, or are universities the same as in Holland? Also, I wanted to talk to people my age, and the best place to meet them i thought was university. Therefore I emailed some teachers, and they invited me to attend a lecture in Neuropsychology (which I study in Holland). During the first part of this lecture the students could ask me questions. They wanted to know if I liked cusco, what my favorite food was, my age, if I had a boyfriend etc. Later I tried to talk about some more deep subjects like differences between Dutch and Peruian students, about voluntary work and about millenium development goals. Unfortunately this was difficult because in the beginning my spanish was not that good.
That is why I asked Luz if i could interview her more extensively afterwards. Luz is a psychology student in the private university ‘Universidad Andina’ in Cusco. She lives in Cusco and is 19 years old. The interview was in spanish but i translated in English.
What do you think about people who do voluntary work in your country?
Voluntary work is helpful for organisations with little money resources, to contribute to the social and cultural development of the country. People who do voluntary work should be supported because they have a lot of responsibility. Many organisations need the support of volunteers, it is helpful to the welfare of society.
Would you like to do voluntary work yourself? If so, what would you like to do?
I did voluntary work at the University. I helped children in secondary school with their homework and organized other activities for them.
What do you think is the most important development goal in your country (for example, solving poverty, hunger, cure diseases, improve the environment).
It is necessary to solve the problems of poverty and hunger, since many people in our society suffer.
How do you think these goals can be reached? How do you contribute personally to achieve these goals?
Together with a group of friends we collected goods, like second hand clothes, for people in need in more remote locations in the city.
Do you think there are differences between (psychology) students in Peru and students in Holland (or Europe)? If so, what are these differences?
The study plan in the university of Cusco is not very different from universities abroad. However, thanks to a new university law, the total amount of hours of study will be larger. Therefore studying will be more demanding than before.
Would you like to visit a country abroad? If so, what country would you like to visit and why?
Certainly yes. The country I would like to visit is Italy, because of the culture and history. Also, i really like the Italian language, I am learning it already.
The visit to the university was a nice experience. My first impression of the univeristy was that it was very poor. The building was very old, the library was very small and the lab was small and dirty. Also there were guards at the gate to control who was entering.
What I learned from Luz is that students in Peru are not that different from students in Holland. It was a first year’s lecture but the level of the lecture was aproximately the same as in Holland (or at least, what i understood in spanish). Also they had a luxury electronic schoolboard to explain things. Difference was that it was way more personal, there were only 20 people in the lecture while in Utrecht there are about 100. Also I saw that some were using facebook during the lecture, chatting, doing their make up and two girls were even sleeping. Not really different from some students in Holland :)
I would advise erveryone who goes abroad to pay a visit to a place where you meet people with the same profession or situation as you have in your country. Then you really get an idea what ‘normal’ life is like in the country (not the part where you do your voluntary work, and also not the part were only tourists come).