DCCC students learn, help others on trip to Peru

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 3, 2014

For five Davidson County Community College students, studying abroad in Chimbote, Peru, was more than a vacation. The students, along with three instructors from the college, spent 11 days providing volunteer assistance to local residents and learning about their culture.
The trip started with visits to cultural exhibits and landmarks in Lima. The group visited a cathedral and catacombs dating back to the 1600s, shopped in the markets and saw the Magical Water Tour, a park with large, colorful and interactive fountains.
From Lima, the group took an eight-hour bus ride to Chimbote, a large, coastal city in the north, where they spent most of their time helping the city’s poorest residents. They tore down and rebuilt a house, served food and cleaned dishes in a soup kitchen, worked with children at a prevention center, made house visits with a social worker and spent time with patients at a Hospice home.
In addition to this work, the group spent time learning about the local culture and customs through walking tours, participating in a morning prayer and visiting a Moche cultural site.
“One of my favorite things on the study abroad trip to Peru was the hike up the Mountain of Peace,” said Sean Badgett, a Davidson County Community College student who was on the trip. “The view from the top was amazing – by far the best site I have ever witnessed. From the peak you can see the entire city of Chimbote, the entire harbor, and as far as the eye can see across the Pacific Ocean.”
Along with Badgett, trip participants included students Ethan Page, Devon Parks, Kristina Parrish and Mitchell Cleary. They were led by instructors Tiffany Hemrick, Jill Roberts and Donnell Griffin.
“Our trip was amazing,” said Hemrick, a therapeutic massage instructor at DCCC. “The students were great to work with. They jumped right in and did the work that was asked of them to meet the needs of the people of Chimbote. I do think it made a huge impact on them to see how other people really live.”
“In life, I’ve always wanted to help people, and this trip made me want to do that even more,” said Parks. “The opportunity to experience another country’s culture was also amazing. A lot of people aren’t really aware of the poverty in other countries. Experiencing it first hand is an extremely humbling experience.”
Parrish, another student on the trip, loved working with children while in Chimbote and says the trip was truly eye opening.
“I learned that people in this world have it way worse than I do, and I should appreciate what I have,” she said. “Studying abroad influences you, because you see how things are in different parts of the world. It makes you want to achieve your goals so you don’t have to be in poverty like the people were in Peru.”
Davidson County Community College offered this study abroad opportunity through Community Colleges for International Development Inc. in cooperation with Los Amigos, a non-profit organization based in Chimbote. It was one of five study abroad trips to five different continents the college organized this summer to Austria and New Zealand, China, Ghana and Spain.