AlumniApr 30, 2019Campus News
By: Luis Melgar '18

Life as an International Jesuit Volunteer in Peru

Luis Melgar '18 writes about his time as an International Jesuit Volunteer in Andahuaylillas, Peru.
Life as an International Jesuit Volunteer in Peru

This article originally appeared in the spring 2019 issue of the Latin American and Women's Studies newsletter.

Many of you might be wondering what one might do with a degree that states you studied Latin American Studies, Spanish or any major that blends these interrelated fields of studies. Well, I am here to say that Latin American Studies is a way of living with a diverse and broad perspective. It is a form of seeing cultures, societies and life throughout the world as it is. It serves as a foundation that is bolstered by one’s own lived experiences and the sharing of others’ experiences. As an International Jesuit Volunteer in Andahuaylillas, Peru (only an hour from Cusco), I have found the content that inspired artists, writers and Peruvians such as Gustavo Gutierrez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Julio Ramón Ribeyro. All of this is shared through daily conversation, uninterrupted and drawn out dinners, and in the general rhythm and music of the Peruvian lifestyle.

To be able to serve in such a diverse place is truly a privilege and gift that is made more profound because of Latin American Studies. My role is to work on the Pastoral division of Fe y Alegria 44, which is a public Jesuit school located in rural and underserved population areas throughout Peru and 17 other countries. I am to assist in religion classes and liturgical planning for their primary and secondary school, and I will help develop an Ignatian Sports Program aimed at inculcating Ignatian values through the medium of sport. It is apparent that my time in Prof. Jaime Meilan del Rio’s 311 Conversational Spanish course will come in handy, but to have Dr. Yamile Silva’s Soccer is Passion course this past year will prove to be very helpful outside of the classroom as well!

While Latin American Studies might not be the easiest thing to explain to potential employers or skeptical parents, programs such as this one provide openness to appreciate the different flavors of wherever life may take you. Here in Peru, sometimes that “flavor” can be interpreted literally with
dishes like ceviche, pollo a la brasa and yes, even the cuy.

Read more from the Latin American and Women's Studies newsletter, here.

Melgar was an exercise science major, Spanish and theology minors, with Latin American studies and peace and justice studies concentrations.
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