All Posts

Austin Prep School Peru 2017

April 11, 2017

The first day of our adventure started with Bagel World at 3am (because Austin runs on bagels). Our first flight left at 6 and we arrived in Houston around 10. We played some bonding games and then we got to take at rip around the airport trying to use up our 8-hour layover. On top of that, the flight was delayed but we finally got to Lima at 12:30 am. Something to remember, don’t open a water bottle with a straw on a plane! The water shot straight out onto the ceiling because of the air pressure. At the airport, we waited in a long customs line and then got on our bus. Even late at night, Lima was lit up and we had a great view as the plane touched down. After our day of travel, we got to the hotel around 2:30 and collapsed into bed, exhausted but excited for the days to come. Everyone is looking forward to immersing themselves in a new culture, and meeting their host families. In a few days, we will start our service and we are all excited for it. We’ll have the opportunity to try new food (scary and exciting!) and meet a lot of new people. The 10 days to come will definitely be ones to remember.

-Bridget and Alana

April 12 -14, 2017

The Austin Prep School group has been busy jumping into their service projects and meeting their homestay families in Urubamba! Below, some  students recap their experiences. For a time-lapse video of the Austin Prep group painting the school’s sports court, see the Global Works Instagram page by following @GlobalWorksTravel or clicking here:

For the past two days we have been doing service work at Sagrado de Jesus, the school in Urubamba. On the first day, we repainted the lines on the court in the school yard. It was so cool to see each one of us sitting and painting our own line segment. You could tell that everyone was so excited and absorbed in the service. Today, a few of us touched up the court lines while another group began painting the walls outside the classrooms. Painting the classroom walls was a great chance to chat with fellow group members and get to know them better. After that, we got to help out the senior class make their rug for the Semana Santa parade. It is beautiful! They created an amazing design using corn husks and woodchips. Working alongside the students was a great experience. I enjoyed being able to partake in their traditions. The past two days of service have been great. It’s cool to be able to look at something and say, “I did that.” The service has brought us closer together as a group, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week holds!

– Lizzie

Today we did more service at the school in Urubamba. In addition to the lines we filled in yesterday, we painted the walls of the school. It was so awesome to see the local people playing on the court we renovated. We played soccer and basketball with some of them as well. They crushed us in everything. The kids are so sweet at the school, and like to talk to us. I’m glad we are helping this community with our work.
– Jesse
After finishing painting, our host met us at the school we were working at. Each one of us slowly began to meet our families and put names to faces. Lunch was similar to our dinner. Most of us enjoyed “doce platos” or 12 dishes, which — as you probably guessed — was 12 different plates of food. It was very filling, but amazing, just like most Peruvian dishes. The houses are very open and most time is spent outside. Animals and pets are not in the house, although many families have many pets. All the families are very nice and welcoming. Many also have children ranging from 2-16 years old, which gives us great opportunities to immerse ourselves and feel like real Peruvian teenagers.

– Sofia

So far, Peru has been the best experience of my life. It is so much different than America. The biggest difference is Peru is rich in culture. Everyone gathers together as a community. Staying with the host family was awesome as well. The food is so good, I haven’t had something I didn’t like yet. The family is very nice and hospitable. I feel right at home. The family has a boy who is 11. He speaks some English and makes it a lot easier to communicate with the family. The service work is also very fun. I am making new friends and learning about my current ones. I could not be happier.
– Drew
 April 15, 2017

For a time-lapse video of the group creating a saw dust carpet mural for the local Good Friday processing, visit the Global Works Facebook page Global Works – International Community Service or clicking here:

Today I experienced a holiday in a different country with a different culture. I experienced new things such as attending a church service that was all in Spanish, eating new foods, and adapting to new traditions. Also, seeing how Peruvians dressed for church was very different. They dressed more conservative. I also observed that Easter in the U.S. is more family-oriented than how Peruvians celebrate the holiday with their whole community. I learned that if you spend the holiday with close friends or family you’ll always have a great time celebrating. We also played volleyball today and the Peruvians we played against beat us every time. It was also a new experience  to be introduced to the type of music they listen to. This trip has opened my eyes and shown me how good it feels to connect and help a community. All in all, so far this trip has changed how I see some parts of the world. And experiencing this with some of my closest friends is amazing.
– Maddie
 April 16, 2017
After mass in the morning, we went back to our host families and spent the rest of the day with them. Unlike Easter in America, egg hunts and the Easter Bunny don’t exist in Peru. It’s more about the resurrection of Jesus. Our host family emphasizes the religious meaning of the holiday as well as family reunion. We all got together and enjoyed a gourmet lunch. Since our family had not been eating meat for lent, it’s the first time for us to see meat on the lunch table. During lunch, we shared our family stories and compared them with our host family. It’s eye-opening to see how two different families can share common grounds. Even though we speak different languages and live in different countries, we all value our family and love each other unconditionally. We had free time with our host family so we decided to play games together. My host family has teenagers who are the same age as us. We played Chinese Checkers while talking about pop-culture in Peru. It’s interesting to know how American culture and Asian culture play important roles in Peruvian pop-culture. Teenagers like my host sisters enjoy K-Pop and American TV shows. The commonalities helped us to immerse into Peruvian culture. It also helps my host family to understand our lives in America. My experience with my host family is one of the best parts of this trip. Not only did they teach me about Peruvian culture, but also guide me to reflect on my daily life back in the States. The good memories we share is something I can hold on to for my life.

April 17, 2017

Today we were able to actually go to the site of the Sacred Valley Project.  The Sacred Valley Project provides education opportunities for rural, indigenous girls, who do not have much access to schools.  The project is to build a dormitory where these girls can stay when they come from their rural mountain towns.  A few days ago we got to meet some of the girls in the program, so we know who is going to appreciate our contribution.  Each of us got to work with a pick axe or shovel.  For some of us, it was the first time doing so.  Even though it might seem like strenuous activity on the outside, all of us knew what we were doing served a great purpose.  We often take for granted how easy our lives are, especially with education.  We’ve grown up thinking that education was a given, and something easily accessible.  Coming to Peru, meeting the girls, and physically putting in effort to make sure education is more attainable is one of the biggest reality checks any of us could have.  I understand now to be more thankful for what I have, because someone else in the world who is less fortunate than me is willing to move away form their families in order to get what we believe is normally attainable.  Through all this, the girls seem generally happy, so now when I’m unhappy, I’ll realize that I really should be more grateful for what I have.


We had time to reflect on our last 4 days in the homestay and we wrote thank you cards for our families. We all agree that we had an amazing time.  The families really treated us as a part of the family.  We wrote our gratefulness and and appreciation for their love, shelter, and for welcoming us with open arms.  We read these cards out loud to our families at the despedida (farewell celebration).  Everyone was able to spend one last night with their homestay families over a nice pizza dinner.  We are sad  the time with our families has come to an end, but we are excited for the adventurous days ahead.

-Olivia P.

*note that the group also visited the Arco Iris School Of Special Needs. Some of the photos reflect that visit.

April 18, 2017

Rarely am I willing to wake up at 4:00am for anything but a friend. I had circulated this idea for a few hours now, and thinking it would come to fruition.  We figured only a few of the more ‘earthy’ ‘crunchy’ kids would be game.  By dinner time, the night before, the plan had been formulated. Everyone knew our plan and the place was buzzing with ‘are you going?’ and ‘I think so’.  The excitement built as time progressed, an electric aura hung over the place.  Cerca 4:00am I got up, albeit reluctantly, went through the motions of getting ready.  I made my way to the plaza de armas. I expected 6 of the group, but there they were, all 16 and two of our leaders.  We were all present, all full of energy, all ready for La Cruz!  We trudged up the mountain as we increasingly felt the effects of high altitude.  After a half an hour covering serious terrain, we reached the peak.  10,000 ft up!  It was 5:30am.  A meditative silence came over the group as we watched the city fill with light and warmth.  I realized how important this pilgrimage really was. The dip of the valley and the city of Urubamba cradled within it in contrast to the adjacent mountains, weaved together with misty clouds, was surreal. This was a rare experience, phenomenon even.  It was a time where spirituality and majesty of this place presented itself, and could be respected and felt by all.


April 19, 2017

On Wednesday the 19th our group headed to Machu Picchu.  Our guide James told us of the of the successes and mysteries about Machu Pichhu.  While enjoying the amazing views, James explained to us that Machu Picchu had been a secret location where the elites of society sent their children for the best education possible.  After the tour, we each had the option whether or not we wanted to hike up to the sun gate.  Though we were all exhausted from a very busy few days, everyone agreed.  Once we reached the top, I was very proud. Nobody got left left behind, stories were shared, and everyone lended a helping hand or a boost if a friend needed it.  With the rings we made in Urubamba, the group had a ceremony to distribute the rings to each other . Each person got a random ring and had to say something nice about its owner while presenting it back to them.  While most of us hadn’t known each other prior to the trip, I was surprised by how far we had come.  All of the small speeches were heart felt and perfectly described the receiver.  I think this is a great way to come out of our shells, show appreciation for the people around us, and get closer to the group.  The hike to the sun gate and rig ceremony was one of the best parts of my time in Peru.

April 21, 2017

For the past few days of the trip, we have stayed at the Ninos hotel.  This hotel is no ordinary hotel, but rather a hotel t hat serves a more extensive purpose. A portion of the profits earned form the guests staying at the hotel goes towards supporting the impoverished children of Cusco.  They provide a space for necessities and activities that they are not fortunate to receive at home.  On Thursday afternoon we walked from our hotel five minutes up the street to the Ninos restaurant that See the children.  As we entered the restaurant, we saw a plethora of happy children playing soccer and having a great time.  It was enlightening to see an opportunity given to those who have so little. It surprised me how much work was put into the project. Yet all of those working for the children expected nothing in return.  As we walked around on a tour, we learned that the establishment provides the children with food, showers, toothbrushes and in special cases, housing.  Not only does the ninos restaurant provide necessary items, but it also includes a cinema for the children to enjoy, movies, and a space to play volleyball, basketball, and soccer.  This like many of our other activities opened our eyes to just how lucky we are.  We take for granted having as roof over our heads, food on the table, and bathrooms to use.  Realizing just hoe inaccessible some of these things csan be is truly a reality check.