7 Reasons to Spend the Summer in Peru with SOAR

by Andrea Wackerle

SOAR’s Peru Spanish Immersion Program is a unique opportunity to experience the culture and incredible adventure opportunities that this colorful South American country has to offer. Students will live and work primarily in Mancora, a small ocean side community, in a B & B facility owned by Aaron Hirsch, a former SOAR teacher and staff. Available for ages 15-17, this 8 week program (6/13-8/8) is ideal for SOAR alumni looking for a new and exciting adventure! We also encourage new SOAR campers to apply! Click here to submit an application!

  1. Entrepreneurship

While in Peru, students will set up an ocean front juice bar and work along with the SOAR staff and local students. Paired with one fluent Spanish speaker, students will be fully immersed in the Spanish language yet in a practical way. Students will apply the language skills they learn along the way to perform basic business operations such as writing schedules, creating budgets, going to local markets to purchase goods, and interacting with the local community.

  1. Tropical Adventure

Students will discover the incredible diversity of Peru as they travel from the coast, to the snow-covered highlands, and through the jungle basin. They will also visit the Galapagos Islands, known for its incredible bio-diversity. Adventure activities include backpacking, rock climbing, surfing, ice climbing, snowboarding on sand dunes, hiking, and eco-tourism.

  1. Community Service

Students will have the opportunity to get involved in the local community through basic community service projects like home improvement/repair (similar to Habitat for Humanity) and visiting local organization working with children with disabilities.

  1. Foreign Language Instruction

Being immersed in the Spanish language is truly one of the best ways for students to learn the language. However, students will also receive more formal instruction in the language. At least one hour per day will be dedicated to working on reading, writing, grammar, and conversation skills in a small group setting. Students will then have the opportunity to apply what they have learned! Throughout the day, students are encouraged to develop their own personal dictionary of words and phrases they hear so that they can be discuss and incorporated in the daily lessons.

  1. Executive Functioning

While the trip dates, travel arrangements, and most expedition locales have been prearranged, students will have the opportunity to decide as a group where and what activities they would like to do while in Peru. Students will also play an important role in budgeting expenses and preparing meals and will be responsible for doing their own laundry, and keeping their personal space clean and organized.

  1. Cultural Diversity

Over the course of this 8 week program, students will have many opportunities to fully experience the Peruvian culture. In addition to interacting with the local community on a daily basis, students will also attend local school dances and festivals such as the San Pedro fisherman’s festival.

  1. Academic Credit

After completing the program successful, students will receive one full year of foreign language credit through the Academy at SOAR (accredited by SACS). This credit can be used to meet many high school or college requirements.

Read a recent families experience. While their son was attending the Academy at SOAR, he spent one summer with us in Peru.

“After attending the Academy at SOAR for 2 wonderful semesters, my 13 year old asked to participate in an 8 week Spanish Immersion work/study program with one of the teachers and 2 other staff members from SOAR. He and 3 other boys lived and worked and traveled throughout South America for 2 months. The entire trip was chronicled on a Shutterfly site, so that I could follow the trips and watch my boy succeed! They visited the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon. They went ice climbing and sand surfing. John came home with a far greater sense of self confidence and a much greater capacity for cooperating at the family level. Having experienced another culture and the many different levels of socio/economic communities that he took part in, he has a far greater appreciation for the things he has at home. He has completed the equivalent of 1 year of HS Spanish, and he is only entering the 8th grade. I highly recommend becoming involved with the Academy at SOAR and any of its summer programs.”