Give it a Shot: Service-Learning in Cusco, Peru

Tim Hofmeister is a student at Grand Valley State University and an ISA Summer 2015 Featured Blogger. He is serving with ISA Service-Learning in Cusco, Peru.

11,000 feet. 11,000. That’s high. Denver is proud to be called the mile high city, but Cusco is twice as high.
11,000 feet. 11,000. That’s high. Denver is proud to be called the mile high city, but Cusco is twice as high.

I couldn’t be more fortunate to travel to the “navel” of the world, Cusco, Peru, to work with a human rights organization in order to learn and interact with the Peruvian people this summer.  However, living (and breathing) in Cusco takes some getting used to.

Here are the three shots that have been a part of my experience in Cusco so far:

1) OxiShots

In order to acclimate to the elevation of Cusco, the ISA staff generously gave each of us the green can that can: OxiShot. Although not endorsed by Billy Mayes, OxiShot is just what it sounds like: a shot of oxygen. OxiShot gives the user more oxygen to the brain, relieving the headache and tension that come with hypoxia, or altitude sickness. In order to get used to the thin Cusco air, I had to take shots of O2.

2) Snapshots

For this experience, I’m definitely not taking an “I’m here for tourism” attitude, but rather an attitude of “I get to live here for two months and experience Peruvian life.” Along the way it’s inevitable that my time here will include some tourism and some snapshots. However all of these experiences, moments, and photos meshing together will create an impressive collage, or snapshot, of my experience here.

3) Take the Shots

There’s that old cliché quote, “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Every shot is a risk, and it was definitely a risk for me to leave my comfort zone of my family, my friends, and my job prospects in the U.S. to come to Peru. If I didn’t take the risk, then I wouldn’t have had the chance to experience the cultural bellybutton of the world that is Cusco. Therefore, it’s my goal to continue to take more risks while I’m here.

I cannot be more excited to spend two months here in Cusco and get invaluable life experience and skills. Here’s to many more snapshots, getting out of my comfort zone, and hopefully not too many more OxiShots in the next two months!

Curious about Service-Learning abroad? Request more information about ISA Service-Learning here!