“Nothing ever becomes real ’til it is experienced.” –John Keats
Lately I’ve been thinking about the way that AASD defines the concept of “immersive education.” What I’ve come to realize since being in Calca is that Team Peru isn’t just something you pick up for January or summer term and then just drop; it’s continuous and fluid. I think Adam really drove that thought home to me last summer when he said that Team Peru isn’t really a traditional immersive experience. It can’t really be categorized and lumped together with the other options offered for J-term and summer; other programs are 4- or 8-week practicums that start and stop, but the goal for Team Peru is that it doesn’t stop once we’re done in-country. The entire point of this practicum is to intertwine the work in Peru to the classroom for real use, and to return as many times as you can to continue the work on-the-ground. This is how the immersive model was envisioned, created, and carried out by Adam, Aaron, and other highly involved Team Peru students, and they hope that others can see it that way, too. Team Peru shouldn’t even be defined as a “practicum” because it’s not practice, it’s real; all the work done by students is utilized by a real organization that has a heavy stake in the communities and real issues to constantly tackle. Students are given an opportunity to work on complex projects alongside an organization that is working towards creating impactful and sustainable solutions for indigenous Peruvians facing debilitating effects of poverty every day.