DR. GABRIELE ECKART
PROFESSOR OF GERMAN
[N.B., COURSES TAUGHT INCLUDE GERMAN AND SPANISH]
Office: Art Building, 309
Phone: (573) 986-6185
Click here to e-mail Dr. Eckart
For further information on Study Abroad Programs or International Internship opportunities available through the Foreign Language Department, or on how to develop international opportunities for your department, please contact Dr. Dieter Jedan at 651-2146 with any questions that you might have.
Dr. Eckart and students in Lima, Peru- Jan. 2005
Trip to Peru
By Richard Young, January 21, 2005
During January 2005, the Foreign Languages and Anthropology Department sponsored an opportunity for 15 students to earn three hours of university credit while visiting Peru. Organized and led by Dr. Gabriele Eckart, this 12-day course was designed to introduce students to the history, languages, and diverse cultures of Peru.
Preparation for the trip commenced during the fall 2004 semester with a series of meetings designed to provide participants with a basic conceptual framework for the impending course. Dr. Eckart provided Spanish language reviews for those enrolled in the course, and various DVDs pertaining to Peruvian culture and archeological sites were viewed and discussed. In addition to this preparatory work, each student completed a research paper on a selected Peruvian topic prior to the departure date.
With the pre-trip planning completed, the group assembled at St. Louis Lambert Airport on January 4, 2005 and began the flights to Lime, Peru. Arriving in Lima, a city of nine million inhabitants, the SEMO students undertook an adventure that would take them from the pounding Pacific Coast surf of South America to the indigenous villages of the high Andes. After spending two days exploring Lima, the group flew to Cuzco, which is located in the Andes at an elevation of 10,500 feet. From Cuzco, the class headed farther into the Peruvian highlands, and into a culture that is, as yet, relatively little impacted by western tourism.
While in the highlands, participants experienced an amazing range of activities including whitewater rafting on a mountain river, soccer games with locals, meals in Peruvian homes, guinea pigs for supper, adobe brick manufacturing, and a visit to a traditional salt mine. In the highland communities, students were able to walk streets and alleyways that were originally constructed by the Incas hundreds of years before. Participants were treated to Andean music and dances as well as markets in which the rural Peruvian families shop for their daily produce. Peruvian weavers and ceramic potters were visited, and students gained valuable insights as these artisans demonstrated their crafts. At one point, much to a Peruvian farmer’s amusement, several participants even had an opportunity to manage an ox team as they attempted to plow an acceptable furrow in a cornfield.
In addition to exploring the living culture of Peru, students were able to investigate many of Peru’s world-class archeological sites. Without a doubt, the most impressive of these was Machu Picchu, which is, perched high in the majestic Andes. At Machu Picchu, the group enjoyed almost two entire days to explore this incredible Inca site, and thereby gain an appreciation for the culture that had once flourished in this remote place.
Before returning to the United States, Dr. Eckart’s class enhanced its collective understanding of Peruvian culture during visits to numerous museums as well as Spanish colonial cathedrals. Such experiences occurred in small towns as well as cities. There was also ample opportunity for students to utilize their Spanish skills, as daily interactions with Peruvians were a matter of course. Opportunities for personal contacts arose in a variety of settings including shopping in the markets as well as during simple exchanges on the street.
As the trip concluded, the participants returned to Lambert Airport exhausted, but grateful for the opportunity to have gained so many valuable insights into another culture. From the airport, group members dispersed to their respective homes carrying loads of dirty laundry, dozens of rolls of film, all manner of Peruvian mementos, and memories that will last a lifetime.
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