For the second year, Goshen College students have escaped the snowy winter months of Indiana for the summer months of Peru.

On Tuesday, Jan. 6, 18 Goshen College students departed for Peru to participate in Study-Service Term, a 13-week program unique to GC in which students study in the country’s capital city for six weeks before dispersing into different locations for six weeks of service work. This is the second year Peru has been offered as a year-round program.

Passport troubles seemed to plague this particular group from the moment the bus pulled out on Tuesday morning. Emily Miller, a sophomore, discovered her passport was missing from her ticket packet as the bus was nearing Chicago. After her passport was delivered to her at the airport, she took a separate flight to Atlanta to meet the rest of her group.

Just as Miller arrived in Atlanta, Brian Martin, a sophomore, discovered he was also missing his passport. Martin knew he had it on the first flight, but after he retraced his steps and asked the flight attendants to search the plane, his passport did not turn up. Since one cannot enter another country without a passport, Martin was forced to fly back to Chicago and stay with family friends until he could make arrangements with the passport agency for a new passport.

“When the time came to get on the plane [from Atlanta to Peru], it felt like our group wasn’t complete,” said Chelsey Graber, a sophomore. Using a copy of his old passport, Martin was able to get a new passport and ticket last Friday. He arrived in Peru on Saturday around midnight.

After one weekend with their host families, students will now begin language classes each morning, followed by an assortment of field trips and lectures in the afternoons. “My brother showed me all around today, and I’m excited to go shopping at the Metro and play soccer at [our neighborhood's] recreational park,” added Graber.

Along with Peruvian director Celia Vasquez, leaders Alex and Julia Naula have led the students in many orientation activities, including lessons in money changing, transportation and where to go for Peruvian cuisine.

This spring unit is the second and last unit led by the Naulas. The next four units in Peru will be led by Jerrell Richer, an associate professor of economics, and his family, beginning in summer 2009.

Additional updates and photos of the current S.S.T.-ers are available on the S.S.T. website: