FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Must program participants be from the Charlotte, NC area?

NO! With the ease of internet communication, we will happily and painlessly accommodate participants from anywhere in the world! If you're interested in participating, if you think this experience might be a perfect fit for you or someone you know, please reach out!

Can my student earn class credit?

Absolutely! We work with US schools on a case-by-case basis to establish class credit validity for our private, professional Peruvian Spanish classes. We have thorough syllabi (and proprietary class materials) available for each of our various levels of Spanish classes; high schools and colleges will use these resources to make credit-awarding determinations. Please contact us and we'll begin the process!

Is Perú safe?

Absolutely, and Arequipa was selected as the homebase for the program in part for its safety! Like in any other country on earth, crime exists, but it's mostly petty. Violent crime rates are low, especially in Arequipa, and our students live in safe areas of the city with families and near program staff who are always available to help them navigate. Moreover, we stress safe practices like walking in pairs, never walking alone at night, and knowing how to secure safe, official cabs. Whenever we arrive to a city, we hold orientation sessions to highlight safety.

What makes you think you're qualified to lead a study abroad program?

A great question, an important one, especially because you'll be entrusting me with your child's comfort, safety, and quality of experience.

 

First and foremost, I spent three years working with the Davidson College in Perú program, so I have extensive, valuable study abroad experience in this exact setting!

 

Secondly, because I learned Spanish while backpacking through Latin America and doing private study while living with a local family in Guatemala, I'm particularly familiar with the qualities that will make this language immersion experience enchanting, memorable, and, overall, successful! 

 

Thirdly, I'm a longtime teacher and tutor, before that a babysitter and summer camp counselor. My whole life has been spent working with students, elementary- through college-aged. My years of experience have taught me how to seamlessly integrate the roles of friend, role model, and authority figure.

What happens when something goes wrong?!

Think of a potential issue that could arise and I've probably dealt with it while abroad!

 

During my three years working in Perú with Davidson College, I dealt with serious physical injuries, serious illnesses, deaths in the family back in the US, homesickness, and students unhappy with their living arragements, etc. I've learned more valuable lessons than I could possibly enumerate.

 

While in Perú, students live with families who -- and this isn't an exaggeration -- treat their visitors like their very own children. Because of the immense importance of family in Latin American culture, this means that your students will, quite sincerely, have caring, concerned parents living with them. Moreover, these families have years of experience working with foreign students and have seen every problem that can arise.

 

While in Arequipa, Cusco, and Lima, we have access to a multitude of public and private hospitals, clinics, and specialists. We're never more than a short drive from whatever sort of assistance we might need. More importantly, Patrick and the program's Assistant Director live near the students and are available 24/7.

 

When we're traveling, we're accompanied by professional tour guides, guides who know their routes intimately and who always err on the side of caution. With the exception of a few days of travel to more remote areas, students will always have easy access to telephones and internet. And even when we're in those remote areas, we always travel prepared for emergency, equipped with first aid and knowledge of the nearest emergency facilities.

Insurance

The program is, of course, fully insured in case of emergency.

 

As far as individual health insurance for participants, most health insurance in the US covers accidents abroad. Please check with your own provider for out-of-network coverage. International Health Insurance & Trip Insurance may be purchased independently of Pato's Bilingual Adventures and is at parental discretion.

Who's looking after my child in Perú?

I, Patrick, the company founder and Program Director, will always be with our group. Moreover, we'll have a bilingual female assistant. We'll travel with students from the US to Peru, through Peru, and help get students back to the US at trip's end. Throughout the trip, we'll always be nearby, available, a quick phone call away (if we're not already with the students!). Students will have their wonderful homestay families in Arequipa too.

 

When we travel we have a team of responsible, certified, and incredibly informative tour guides. I have no qualms about declaring our Peruvian immersion experience as good, as safe, and as memorable as it gets.

How real is altitude sickness?

In Arequipa, though we'll be at altitude, altitude sickness should not be an issue. In Cusco there's a greater chance someone will be mildly affected. Over a million tourist visit Cusco each year -- many arriving directly from sea level, having spent no time acclimating to altitudes -- and the vast majority suffer no ill effects from altitude. That said, altitude sickness is a real thing and can result in headaches and general malaise, and in rare instances it can severely affect individuals.  The program will be equipped with medications designed to combat the symptoms of altitude sickness and, of course, we'll always be mindful of the health of each program participant. Should anyone require medical attention, we'll get them to the nearest medical facility as quickly as possible!

Accomodations in Arequipa

In Arequipa, students will live with well-known, annually reviewed, and highly-experienced homestay families directly associated with ACI del Perú, the superlative educational experiences company of Lucy Cáceres Ojeda, my "Peruvian mom."

 

Two to three students will live with each host family (though students also have the option to live individually with a family, if they'd prefer full Spanish immersion!). Students will be provided their own room if their student peers are of a different gender. Students may share a room if student peers living in the house are of the same gender.

 

Students will be provided all meals, laundry services, clean drinking water, and a warm and loving family atmoshphere for the duration of their stay. 

Service learning and volunteer opportunities

Volunteering can offer exposure to important realities that are sometimes obscured, and it's a wonderful opportunity to make friends, practice Spanish, and be involved in fulfilling work. We are going to evaluate potential volunteer opportunities for our time in Arequipa. (Some groups, especially those working with children, require a longer time commitment than we'll have so that the kids have time to build meaningful relationships.)

Can parents participate with their children?

Most definitely! If parents are interested in participating, please get in touch so that we can plan accordingly.

Contact During the Trip

Contact information (including cell phones) for all program administrators will be provided to parents pre-trip. Contact information for student homestay families will be provided to parents as well. All parents will also be provided a detailed itinerary outlining where students will be while traveling and how to contact the group. Students will have regular access to internet while in Cusco.

 

A regular blog is also maintained on this site so that parents may enjoy updates and photos from their kid's adventures!

How is my child prepared for the trip?

We meet multiple times prior to trip departure in order to ensure students (and parents) feel comfortable and confident about the upcoming trip. Moreover, Director Patrick Braxton-Andrew is available to converse privately via phone, email, or in-person.

Vaccinations

At parental discretion. Please check with the CDC and any travel doctor.

What does the price include?

The cost includes round-trip airfare between the USA and Perú, all group travel within Perú, accommodations for the duration of the trip (including hotels and homestays), class & enrichment fees, all excursion & entrance fees, group transportation, most tips and most meals.

Refunds

Pato's Bilingual Adventures begins making payments to secure travel and accommodations many months in advance of the trip; we can offer a refund of the initial deposit amount only, which must be requested within 15 calendar days of the first payment deadline.

What will my child need money for?

Your child will need spending money for shopping and personal entertainment, and some food and drinks.

Packing

Packing will be discussed thoroughly during pre-departure meetings. Moreover, all students will receive a suggested packing list. Most importantly, travel lightly! One medium sized suitcase and one carry-on is sufficient. NO large suitcases.

I'd love to go to Perú but this exact trip won't work for me right now!

Don't despair! Even if you're interested in participating in only a portion of the program, please let us know! If you are fully unable to participate in a particular program for whatever reason and are still interested in visiting Peru, or if you're coordinating a trip to Peru in another part of the year and want help putting together an incredible trip, please get in touch! We can also build personalized adventures for you, your family and friends.

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