Destino Peru: SIS is back at it again

Saipan International School is at it again, taking a group of students on a trip to Peru.

Led by Mili Saiki, 22 students and two chaperones headed off to South America for the school program called “Destino Peru,” a travel and language immersion program since 2005 created and headed by Saiki herself.

The program was a way to help students practice their Spanish comprehension skills and financial skills while also opening their eyes to the different cultures that Peru has to offer.

The program also offers humanitarian and volunteer work in children’s hospitals and orphanages where students were able to interact with the children there.

As a native of Peru, Saiki provided the students with safe and valuable knowledge of her home country while also exploring the rich history of the Incan and pre-Incan civilization that once thrived there.

Due to positive feedback from the students and parents, the Destino Peru Program has been ongoing for 12 years.

Last June 14, 22 students left Saipan and headed off to Hawaii, Houston, and finally to the capital city of Peru, Lima. They headed off to the El Ducado hotel, located in the tourist district of Miraflores right next to the famous Larcomar Mall.

Traveling from the cricket-filled valleys of Lunahuana to the red sand dunes of the Inca desert, the students experienced river rafting, ziplining, sandboarding, as well as exotic cuisines of alpaca and cuy (guinea pig).

The Destino Peru program gave the student a chance to immerse themselves in Peru, from the ancient city of Machu Picchu (it was voted one of the new seven wonders of the world in 2007), to the cold reaches of the Colca Valley and panoramic views of the Andes mountains; from the city of Arequipa, where the students walked through many Spanish architectural buildings that still stand since the late 1500s, to the blue waters of Lake Titicaca, where the students experienced the ancient culture of the Uru people whose lives depend on the marine life and totora reeds that grow on the shores of the lake.

Through their travels, the students made lifelong friends at each school that they stopped at. Outside of the Cusco city, the students visited the Andino Cusco International School where they received a personalized tour of the school by the bilingual students.

In the city of Arequipa, the students were able to spend to a day in the Anglo American Prescott School, where they went to classes, played sports, and enjoyed a nice Peruvian-style lunch.

The Destino Peru Program provided SIS students the opportunity to interact with other students from different cities. Through these connections, students are able to fully gain the knowledge of how life is like outside of their own community on Saipan while also exchanging their own culture to their newfound friends.

Through the Destino Peru Program, SIS students were able to gain knowledge of traveling, financial planning, day planning, as well as using their survival language skills in an environment outside of their comfort zones. SIS students tested their skills outside of a classroom.

JEANE BRACKEN, Special to the Saipan Tribune Author

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