Academia Latinoamericana de Español

It recently occurred to me that I have been remiss in describing our experience at the language academy in Peru.  I spoke very briefly about our Spanish classes and service project while in Cusco, however, I do not believe that a few short paragraphs have done justice in explaining what the Academia has to offer.

To begin, let me say that the entire trip was a collaboration between Craven Community College and Academia Latinoamericana de Español. The Academia has three program locations – Cusco, Peru, Quito, Ecuador, and Sucre, Bolivia.  They offer a variety of program focuses for varying lengths, from short-term excursions like the one we took to semester or year-long directed studies.  The Academia was our in-country coordinator for all of our excursions and activities while in Peru. We will again partner with them in May of 2013 when we explore Quito, Ecuador.

To check out a more complete summary of what the Academia has to offer visit:

As part of the Study Abroad Committee for our college, I and my partners in all things Peru, spent the better part of last academic year working with Diego del Corral, President of the Academia to plan and execute the Peru trip.  From our homestay families, to language lessons, to cultural activities – all was coordinated by our in-country partners.  He worked tireless to build a wonderful itinerary for us.  Once we arrived in Peru, I found the entire Cusco staff and faculty even more wonderful.


The Spanish language classes were very interesting.  On our first day of “school” we all took placement exams, which allowed the staff to identify our varying degrees of skill.  Based on what we already knew, or more aptly what we didn’t know, we were placed into classes.  Those with no experience went into the beginner class, and others into classes based on where they were in the progression of learning the language.  No class was larger than 5 people.  In fact, my class was myself and one other person – Patrick, aka Pacha Gordo


The Academia uses an immersion technique to teach our classes.  Our instructor only spoke Spanish to us unless there was no other way to get us to understand.  Sometimes we used gestures and pictures to clarify, instead of falling back on English.  We also played games like Pictionary, hangman, charades, and 20 questions to learn vocabulary and practice tenses.  Some of the classes went to the market to practice with vendors as well.  I felt that I was able to increase my abilities immensely by taking the classes.


It was also nice to go to our homestay families and practice what we learned in class.


Our service project through the Academia was also a wonderful experience.  I am not sure what I expected before we arrived, but it was a unique experience.  We separated into 6 groups of two people and went to act as teacher aids in preschools.  Some of us went to preschools in Cusco and others went to the neighboring city of Santa Rosa de San Sebastian.  Many of our schools had no running water or bathroom facilities, or barely working sanitation.  A portion of the fees we paid to the Academia went directly to the schools to help them acquire better facilities and more supplies.  Seeing the challenges that Peruvian teachers faced within their educational system was an eye-opening experience.  We take much for granted in the United States.  Spending time getting to know the children in the schools touched all our hearts.  And while I am not sure how much my signing songs or helping to color affected them, the time I spent there definitely affected me.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. kaisywmills
    Sep 09, 2012 @ 09:37:38

    Love Love Love Nerron the dog… farts and all! 🙂


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Chair of Social Science, Humanities,
& Foreign Languages

Liberal Arts & University Transfer
Craven Community College

800 College Court
New Bern, NC 28562
Phone: 252.638.7328
Fax: 252.638.3231

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