La Basílica Panadería in Cusco

Katie Jacobson is a student at the University of Minnesota, Morris, and an ISA Featured Blogger. Katie is currently participating on a Study + Service-Learning program in Cusco, Peru.

Katie having lunch with her ISA Cusco host family.

Right around the corner from my host family’s house, there is a marvelous little bakery that is the best spot in the whole wide world!

La Basílica has the most amazing munchies that are fresh baked daily.  In addition to fantastic pastries, muffins, cakes, breads, sandwiches, drinks, ice cream, and funsies much the same, it is a wonderful spot to meet up with friends and chat about the day.  It is conveniently located near three different host houses, and as all the other ISA people living around here are attending summer classes, it is a great spot for us to meet and catch up.

That is one thing that I really appreciate.  Here, as a volunteer, I operate very independently.  On one hand, this is great!  I get to practice my Spanish individually and thoroughly at my placement, choose how to spend my free time, and from there, explore what the city of Cuzco (fun fact: there is no official spelling of the city’s name!  It can be Cusco, Cuzco, Qusqu, or Qusqo in order to honor the Inca and Spanish heritages) has to offer!  On the other hand, at times, it is hard to spend time with the other ISA students because they are in class while I’m volunteering.  Luckily, ISA has helped to solve that problem, planning fun get-togethers, excursions and adventures throughout our stay!  Another easy set of solutions is to make a Facebook group of all the people in the destination city, and to exchange phone numbers once you get a phone.  Sounds simple, but it really helps!

Volunteering in a foreign country is a really unique opportunity.  I am currently volunteering at El Jardín de Niños de San Cristobal, a school for kids from ages four to five.  It is so fun to go everyday, because each day brings something completely new.  I get to learn a lot about the different teaching techniques from this culture as compared to American culture, and I also get to learn about the different types of lives the kids lead.  Also, it’s really convenient to be working in a school – it’s a great way to brush up on beginning Spanish! ;)

Well, that’s all I have for now – Peruvian life calls!


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