Lauren Kolenda ’24, Staff Writer

When I was looking at Immaculata during my college search, I was intrigued reading the page on the website about the mission trip to Peru each summer. However, I thought my chances of going to Peru were slim as my first two years of college were heavily affected by the pandemic. After hearing her numerous Peru stories in class, I would often ask Sister Annette Pelletier, one of the trip’s organizers, if and when the Peru mission trip would happen. Her answer always was that IU was not ready for students to travel internationally post-pandemic, but whenever international travel was allowed again she would love to plan another trip.

Last November, I was shocked to find out that trip was coming back this May! When I got the news, I called my parents and filled out the interest form in the first 24 hours. I realized I needed to get a new passport and made an appointment as soon as classes finished for the fall semester. Due to a large number of IU students interested in participating in the trip, Sister Annette and Sister Rose Mulligan, the organizers of the trip, decided to give a spot to all of the seniors and randomly select other students to fill the rest of the spots. 

After all the students were selected, we had an informational meeting and quickly gathered all of the essential paperwork. Typically planning for this trip starts in September or October, so we had a month or two late start. This year’s trip takes place from May 22nd to June 5th. In Peru, eight of my fellow students and I will be helping at a new school in a poorer area of the country. For most of the day, we will be working with the students to aid them in learning the correct pronunciation of various English words. We also will be spending time in the afternoons at an all-girls high school that is in the same area as the convent we are staying at. When we are not serving in the schools, we will be exploring Peru and taking day trips to the capital, Lima, and other tourist spots in the area. 

I am super excited to be able to embark on this adventure in a few short months! I look forward to meeting new people, trying new foods, and exploring new places. Special thank you to President Lettiere and Sister Antoine for allowing this trip to happen, and Sister Annette and Sister Rose for organizing! As you can tell by the title, this is going to be a little series that I will be writing this semester and also in the fall. Keep an eye out for Part 2 coming in April 🙂 Thanks for reading!