Rather than relaxing taking a breather from a busy class and project schedule, our cohort spent Duquesne’s Spring Break 2018 traveling through Peru, as part of our Global Business class.
Our first stop was Lima; the capital of Peru and one of South America’s oldest and largest cities. The first stop in Lima was to Universidad Del Pacifico, where we listened to several speakers regarding indigenous water rights in rural Peru, this was followed by a reception that was hosted by fellow graduate business students from the university. Additionally, while in Lima we visited and gave a presentation relating to GE’s sustainable endeavors in the Peruvian mining industry, to the Vice President of GE South America at the GE Peru Headquarters. The time in Lima was not spent exclusively on networking sessions and presentations; in additional to our free time exploring the city, we experienced the local culture and history by touring the national cathedral and monastery, partaking in the local cuisine with a cooking class, a grocery shopping trip to one of Lima’s largest open air food markets, as well as a visit to the beach.
Our next stop was to Arequipa, in the southern part of the country. Arequipa is located on a major geological fault-line, where minor earthquakes are common (although we did not experience any) and in the shadow of two semi-dormant volcanos that rise to over 19,000 feet in elevation. During our stay, we were housed at a hotel located in the heart of Plaza de Armas, a historical site on the Unesco World Heritage Site list. Additionally, while in Arequipa members of our class gave presentations to Cerra Verde a large Peruvian mining company and Cummins Peru. The latter was in regards to a local vocational training program established by Cummins to provided training and jobs to rural populations. For our free time in Arequipa, we spent time visiting local restaurants and even a llama and alpaca farm.
The final stop on our Peruvian adventure was high in the Andes Mountains at the historic capital of the Inca’s, Cusco. Cusco sits at nearly 11,000 feet in elevation and is the gateway to the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu. Our first experience in Cusco took us on a 2 hour bus ride to a small village over 12,000 feet in elevation. There we witnessed first-hand the ancient craft of weaving at a small cooperative of local artisans, who were crafting alpaca fur blankets and sweaters. The final full day in Cusco (and Peru) was spent trekking to Machu Picchu. The morning started early with a 2 hour long bus ride to the train station, where we spent an additional 2 hour journey through the mountains, high jungle, and the out lands of the Amazon River basin. Our journey by train eventually took us to the base of Machu Picchu, where a harrowing 15 minute van ride would take us to the visitor center just below the base of the mountain. Fortunately we arrived at a time of clearing fog, and we were rewarded with breath taking views of the entire set of ruins and surrounding valley.
After a long a rewarding journey, we made the long flight back to Pittsburgh and began preparations for the final pre-graduation push.