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Spanish class gets Peruvian history lesson, in person

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A group of East Ridge High School Spanish students took a trip back in time last month.

East Ridge Spanish teacher Michelle Salinas took a group of nine Spanish students to Peru June 14-22, where the group learned a lot about the country’s history, specifically the history of the Incas.

“There’s so much history in the Incan empire,” Salinas said. “We were able to walk along the past.”

Every summer the East Ridge Spanish teachers alternate taking students on an international trip, as a way to practice their language skills, and this year it was Salinas’ turn.

“I thought Mexico and Spain were pretty much well traveled, so I wanted something a little different,” she said. “I immediately thought of the seven wonders of world, and how I would love to see Machu Picchu and I think there would be other students who are interested.”

Machu Picchu is an Incan citadel in the Andes Mountains.

“It was a hidden city for many years,” Salinas said. “So there’s a mystical aspect to it that I found really fascinating.” 

Salinas was eventually able to find a tour, through EF Tours, that traveled to Peru and visited Machu Picchu along with other archaeological sites.

“I knew I had to definitely take advantage of this opportunity,” Salinas said.

Several of Salinas’ students shared her desire to see Machu Picchu. 

“I was so set on Machu Picchu,” said Woodbury resident Allyson Weis, who will be a sophomore at East Ridge. “I didn’t know, or care, about anything else that was there.” 

For Woodbury resident Max Hoeffel, a 2015 East Ridge graduate, it was the history that drew him to the trip. 

“I wanted to learn more about the Incas,” he said. “I learned about them in history class, but actually seeing it is a whole different experience.” 

Woodbury resident Haley Martin, a 2015 East RIdge graduate, said she was just excited to see a different country. 

“I’ve always wanted to travel the world,” she said. 

The itinerary 

In addition to visiting Machu Picchu, and the Andes Mountains, the East Ridge group also visited a Peruvian school, a market and a small village where they were able to see ceramics and weaving demonstrations. 

Some of the cities they visited were Umashamba, Pisac, Ollantaytambo and Cusco. 

The group was also able to experience how the Peruvians live. 

“Since we had a lot of downtime we were able to explore the city on our own and kind of live the life of someone who lives in Peru,” Salinas said. 

Weis said exploring the cities was one of the highlights of the trip for her. 

“It’s interesting seeing a different way of life,” she said. 

Salinas said she would consider taking students to Peru again in the future. 

“It was a whirlwind of experiences,” she said.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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