Honors College Fellow and English major Brock DeMark is the first student to submit a blog for Honors Passport: Peru trip –– thanks Brock! Perhaps the biggest challenge at this point is packing for summertime in Lima and the rainy season in the highlands. You can follow Brock’s take on Peru in his blog, Intersession in the Land of the Inca: A Peruvian Travel Blog.
¡Hola y bienvenidos! Hello and welcome to my latest honors college study abroad blog!
In less than three days, I will be departing for Peru. The program I am participating in, which will travel to four major Peruvian cities over the course of thirteen days, is entitled: Honors Passport: Indigenous Ways in Peru from Colonial to Modern Times. Honors Passport is an “Honors Humanities Project,” a three-semester sequence of honors courses that I have been involved with since the inception of my University of Arkansas academic career.
I decided to participate in this program for two main reasons: it gives me a chance to apply the critical thinking skills I learned in Honors Passport in a real-world setting, and it also gives me an opportunity to engage with a small group of students, faculty and honors college staff that value learning as much as I do. As an added bonus, I will be able to practice my Spanish speaking ability in Peru – which is helpful considering that I may be adding a Spanish minor to my degree plan in the near future.
While in Peru, I will explore a variety of landscapes and ruins, participate in daily class discussions, read source documents relevant to the sites we will be seeing, and of course, blog about my experience on a semi-regular basis.
I will also be presenting a 10-15 minute on-site speech at the church and convent of San Francisco in Lima. My presentation will focus on the quincha architectural style – an indigenous building formula adopted by the Spanish conquistadors in attempt to make large structures earthquake resistant. I will also be examining the difficulties in deciphering architectural style elements based on existing historical records (more on this to come!).
In order to reach all of the cities and sites on our itinerary, we will be travelling by plane, boat, bus, and train. It’s going to be a fast-moving program, but I am confident after three-semesters of skill building in Honors Passport that I have the necessary tools to keep up with and adapt to the different environments we will be experiencing.
Perhaps the greatest day-to-day challenge will, in fact, be the environment. It’s summer time in Peru right now, but it is also the rainy season. Lima will be warm, but most of the other cities we travel to will likely be cool and wet due to their high elevation. We will be staying above 7,000 feet altitude for the majority of our journey, with two days being spent at 12,500 feet (Puno and Lake Titicaca). Layered clothing, rain gear, and hydration will be essential!
I hope you’ll join me on this journey by following along with my latest travel blog! I plan to post at least one time in each city (for a total of 4-6 posts over the course of two weeks), but I will of course have to work all of the details out once I’m on the ground in Peru – Wi-Fi availability and our travel schedule may vary.
This blog is intended to be both a catalog of my adventures as well as a critical analysis of the places and peoples I come into contact with. I will explore cultural confluence – be that between the Spanish and the Inca, or between myself and modern Peruvians – through personal encounters and observations in the classroom and on-site in Peru.
Thank you very much for reading and please stay tuned for more!
—Brock J. DeMark
30 Dec 2016