Lengua, Cultura, Gastronomía y Servicio a la Comunidad

January Peru slideshow

Program Dates:  Sunday, January 5 – Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS) Regional Office invites Harvard students to participate in the second January 2014 Language, Culture, Gastronomy, and Community Service Program in Peru. This Winter Break Program will provide 14 Harvard undergraduates the opportunity to improve their Spanish while learning about Peruvian culture, history and gastronomy through classes, community service, excursions, and residence with a Peruvian homestay family.

The program will be based in Lima, conducted entirely in Spanish* and led by Dr. Johanna Damgaard Liander, Senior Preceptor in Romance Languages and Literatures.

The idea for the program arose from readings and classroom discussions on questions of culture and gastronomy during the fall of 2010 in Spanish 30: Advanced Language Review I, based on several interviews with Gastón Acurio, “the most famous chef in Latin America.” Acurio’s plan is not only to have us all eat Peruvian cuisine, but actually to create a marca Perú (a “Peru brand”) focusing on and improving the conditions in Peru for all those involved in production, from farmers and fishermen to chefs and owners of smaller restaurants and ultimately to take Peruvian cuisine and cooks abroad, as Italians and Japanese already have done so successfully. In the 18 days of our program, we hope to learn about and work with this world, combining a study of Peruvian gastronomy and culture, in kitchens and classrooms, with community service projects, in Lima and surrounding areas.

The students will spend mornings in classes on Peruvian history, culture, biodiversity, sessions with Peruvian chefs and cooking classes held at the Cultural Center of Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, (PUCP) and in the afternoons, they will do volunteer work at various organizations (homes for street children, trade schools for adolescents, hospitals, gardens or technology centers). The students will live and take their meals in Peruvian homes, and visit the renowned Escuela de Cocina de Pachacamac, as well as an organic farm, seafood market and port, and will follow La Ruta del Ceviche and La Ruta del Pisco on excursions outside of Lima.

For further information on Gastón Acurio and Peruvian cuisine, read this article.

Please note that the application requires a personal statement of no more than 500 words in English that should make the case for the applicant's suitability for the program and state the student's expectations for the experience. Students should also have the name and email address of a recommender.

Application deadline: October 25, 2013.

Eligibility: Students should have completed Spanish 30, two years of college-level Spanish or the equivalent.

Program Cost: $2,500 (food and accommodations included. International airfare not included). A limited amount of financial aid will be made available to successful applicants based on need and the availability of funding. The selection committee will contact appropriate financial aid offices to verify need.

This program is limited to 14 undergraduate students. 

More Information: If you are interested in the program and have questions, please send an e-mail to Prof. Johanna Liander (jliander@fas.harvard.edu) with your full name and class year.