‘Alpaca’ my bags; Presidential Scholars to peruse Peru


By MEGHAN HOLLAND, Staff Reporter  |

In January 2019, 13 students from the Amarillo College Presidential Scholars program will embark on a journey to Peru, where they will immerse themselves in the culture and participate in community-building activities.

Thomas Bales, a music major, said he believes he will benefit the most from “just having the experience of going to another country and getting to see that there is more to the world than just the U.S.,” Bales said. 

This immersive experience will last 10 days. Not only will the scholars see historical sites, such as Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo, they will participate in an agriculture-related service project that will benefit the community. 

The Scholars will get to know local residents through this hands-on learning experience.

“I’m looking forward to just spending more time with the Presidential Scholars and helping build things to help out the people in the community there,” Cecilia Rizcallah, a dental hygiene major, said.

Each year, 15 students are admitted to the application-only Scholars program, following a competitive process that includes an admissions essay and interview. 

Throughout the year, these students learn about leadership and build lifelong skills designed to propel them toward success. The highlight of the program is travel abroad.

The travel destination varies. Past scholars have visited the Dominican Republic, Japan, Cambodia, China, Lithuania and India. Traveling abroad gives the students the opportunity to learn about different cultures and expand their worldview, according to Lesley Ingham, Honors/Scholars co-coordinator and speech instructor. 

This intercultural connection helps students adapt more quickly in a global economy and better prepares them for their future endeavors, she said.

Many of the scholars said they believe this trip will be one of the most rewarding experiences of their time at AC, but they do have some feelings of uncertainty. 

Mirian Gutierrez, a business major, said she worries about accidentally offending people from other cultures. 

Despite this fear, Gutierrez said she looks forward to learning new customs and hopes to gain greater self-confidence and a broader global perspective from the trip.

The Scholars depart for Peru Jan. 1, 2019. You can follow along with their adventures on the Amarillo College Honors/Scholars Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/achonors.

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