Peruvian experience changes student’s perspective

October 29, 2012 11:00 AM

Aidan Smith

Study abroad experiences expose students to new languages, cultures and cuisine, sometimes changing students’ perspectives on their place in the world — and profoundly changing their lives. Tulane senior Amelia Conrad’s time in Peru left her with a commitment to make a difference for the people she met there.

Student Amelia Conrad in Peru

Newcomb Scholar Amelia Conrad plans to make good on a promise and return to volunteer and bring supplies to a women’s shelter in Peru. (Photo from Amelia Conrad)

“I became particularly attached to a shelter for abused, abandoned and impoverished girls high in the rural Andes,” says Conrad. “When I left, I promised the girls that I would do my very best to return. I'm thrilled to say that that promise is becoming a reality.”

The shelter, Casa Hogar María de Nazaret, is in the village of Pampamarca in the Canas province of the Cusco area. At times, more than 40 girls and women seek sanctuary there.

Thanks to a grant from Newcomb-Tulane College, Conrad will lead a small group of volunteers back to Peru in March to bring much needed supplies. She says, “There is a great deal of need at the shelter — for everything from food to a college fund.”

Conrad plans to hold a donation drive this fall to collect clothes and school supplies. Her passion also has inspired other Tulane students, including members of Mortar Board and RESULTS, who will fundraise during the spring to start a college fund for the Peruvian women.

Conrad’s experience in Peru also has influenced her studies. As a Newcomb Scholar, her final research project and honors thesis focus on gender inequity in the developing world.

“Whether this is due to inaccessible childcare, domestic violence or inadequate education, it is a problem that deserves far more attention than it is currently receiving. Both my Newcomb Scholar research and my work with the shelter are focused on bringing attention to, and finding solutions for, issues of women's disempowerment and exclusion.”

Conrad received a Judith and Morris Henkin Memorial Travel Scholarship from Newcomb-Tulane College.

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu