When I declared myself as a Latin American Studies major, I knew fully well that to graduate, I had to go on an internship or study abroad somewhere, preferably in Latin America.
This year, with graduation looming on the horizon, I knew something had to be done. That's when I got an e-mail from my school informing me about internships through the International Study Programs (ISP) office on campus. I saw that they were offering internship opportunities next Spring/Summer in the Andean Region of South America, and decided it wouldn't hurt to apply.
On November 25 (the deadline), I turned in my essay, my letters of recommendation, a locket of hair, and my zodiac sign to the office. The next week (after Thanksgiving) I had an interview with the program's advisers, and the day after that I was officially accepted to the program. At that point, I knew for sure I'd be spending four months next year somewhere in the Andean Region.
It turns out, the Andean Region is huge. I won't know which part I'll be calling home 'til next semester when the office officially places me. So for now, all I know is that in less than five months, I'll be hanging out (interning) somewhere between Antarctica and Panama. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Peru, but we'll see.
Despite my lack of specific knowledge about where and with what organization I'll be interning, my advisers at ISP have encouraged me to start preparing now for my international experience by studying up on the region, the people, and the politics. Since I'm counting on Peru, my focus will be on that part of the region until further notice.
Now, my first step in the preparation process is to watch The Emperor's New Groove on a weekly basis.
I haven't quite figured out my second step yet.
As far as what I'm looking forward to, there is a lot I need to see/experience.
First, Machu Picchu.
I'll definitely squeeze in a visit to Shakira on Lake Titicaca.
And I'm planning on endless encounters with Llamas.
And wearing nothing but sweaters woven by natives from Alpaca wool.
I can hardly wait.