Saying goodbye with gratitude

Study Abroad |
Aida Zaki

We started with “hellos” and now we are ending with “goodbyes”. It has finally come to an end. Three weeks spent in Peru was most definitely a whirlwind of emotions, filled with amazing memories and experiences.  

Students sit in a circle on the ground chatting with elementary age children in a community in Peru
Visiting with students at an elementary school in Peru.

During our last few days of the trip, we visited a local elementary school to hang out with the students. The kids were absolutely the sweetest and cutest. Soon after, we had a soccer game with the older students. Let's just say that, we needed some help playing soccer against them. They really were amazing players with skills I didn’t know 10-year-olds had. It was a nice end to our time spent in this community. 

After that, we spent some time relaxing and exploring the city once more. We visited some cool ruins, starting off with the salt mines of Maras. The salt mines are thousands of salt ponds on a sloped mountain. 

Aida Zaki leans against a railing with a view of salt mines in the background
A view of the salt mines of Maras.

Next, we visited Moray, an agricultural ruin. It is said in theory, that the Incas used the structure for experimental farming. I was absolutely amazed by the beautiful structure. Its circular format with steep steps to the bottom is said to be created for different crops. Each level had different temperatures, where the lower you go, the cooler it gets. It was a beautiful site to see, but it was a challenging hike (most definitely worth it though). 

We ended the last day, with a group dinner with our Kaya leaders, Saddam, Mila and Carol. It was a nice ending to wrap our time in Peru. 

I am absolutely thankful and grateful for the opportunity to spend time in Peru. I learned so much about Peruvian culture, made amazing friends and met incredible people. Words cannot express how honored I am to have spent time learning, growing and experiencing. I’m extremely grateful for our Kaya leaders, who helped me tremendously with adapting to the new environment and led me to an amazing experience. I’d like to thank my professors and fellow classmates who helped support this experience with their kindness, energy and understanding. 

I am truly honored to also be given the opportunity to share my experiences and stories with you all. From your fellow study abroad student, thank you and allow your dreams to happen. Go for it!