Week two has been amazing, back to classes and it has all really become real, we are studying biodiversity in Peru. Our routine has been set and classes have been filled with a whorl wind of information. We all stroll into the dining area first thing in the morning, enjoy some eggs, fruit and coffee, then the quick walk to class begins. Three hours of class, and we are done for the day by lunchtime. Our afternoons are generally spent getting lunch at one of the many culinary spots Cusco has to offer and everyone begins afternoon study sessions.
This week we were learning some amazing new information on the biodiversity in Peru, also incorporating some general comparisons to Australia's biodiversity with group assignments. We have been able to learn about the ecosystems, agriculture and cultural aspects of many natural features in Peru. It is definitely fast paced, but never a dull moment.
We were lucky to meet up with our tour guide Fernando for two extra afternoons and had the opportunity to learn some more cultural information of some very significant structures in Cusco city. As Friday approached so to did the preparation for our soccer game against students in other programs and some staff members. Nobody was really certain who won or what the score was, but everyone definitely had a blast, running around on a soccer field at an altitude of 3500m.
Finally on Saturday we had a much-needed day off, which was spent doing the usual exploring Cuscos fabulous eateries. Some people studying or doing assignments and others relaxing, and preparing for our five in the morning start for our field trip on Sunday.
Sunday morning we were lucky enough to visits two sites for our biodiversity class, one for bird watching and the other for botany. After being collected at five in the morning, we arrived at Huarcapaya an hour later. Slightly tired but very excited we were off the bus and waiting for some birds to arrive in the wetlands and fresh water lakes. We visited three different sites within this region and saw many birds including a rare Variable Hawk, Caracaya, Andean gulls and even a species of wild guinea pig.
After we stopped and bought some breakfast at a very hip cafe we were off to our second field trip. Arriving at the botanical gardens immediately it is possible to see that this is no regular botanical gardens. Family run Pisac botanical gardens this garden was started by a botanist and now run by his son. Over a hundred species of cacti and succulent, orchards, and countless other flower plants along with the diversity that come with them. In a small area it was possible to see hummingbirds, bees and other pollinators, many native plants and some not native to Peru. It was a very packed morning to finish another exciting week.
Read more about my adventures in Biodiversity in Peru, Week 1!
"My stay in Austria has been an incredible experience, and one that I will never forget. There is no better way to study cross cultural psychology than to immerse yourself in a foreign city and take in their customs, language and ways of living for yourself. I've learnt so much about myself, and have made new friends for life."
"This was a good program where we learnt lots about migration in Mexico and the U.S. The main highlight for me was going to the refugee centres where you could interact with the migrants and volunteers, and get a real world perspective which is really important for this topic."