Monday, January 10, 2011

Darden Students Flock Peru

Hello and Happy 2011 to you all!  I'm finally getting back in the swing of things here in Charlottesville.  Arrived back in town on Saturday, attended an epic men's basketball encounter between UVA and the North Carolina Tar Heels (sadly, a defeat for the Wahoos), and am preparing myself for the next couple weeks of classes and summer internship interviews.

As if there weren't enough good reasons to come to business school, let me add another: long breaks.  When you're working you don't have time to take long vacations, at least in the US where our companies have stingy vacation policies relative to our European counterparts, which makes the Darden 6-week winter break extra valuable.  Most students take a much-needed breather to visit with companies (I took part in a job trek to Washington DC), see family, and prep for interviews.

I at least did the first two, and also took the time for one of my favorite activities: travel.  A couple Darden classmates and I traveled to Peru, visiting Lima, Cusco, Lake Titicaca, and hiked the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.  An incredible trip!

Me with my hiking classmates Anoop and Michael, in the Peruvian Andes

The top of our hike, 4215 meters (13829 feet) above sea level!

While there we met up with 5 of the 6 Darden Peruvians in Lima, who were tremendous hosts in their home country.  Our classmates introduced us to all sorts of delicious cuisine and were incredibly gracious with their time.

Michael and I surrounded by our Peruvian classmates Antonio, Ariana, Javier, and Jaime

After a wonderful dim sum meal in Lima with Dardenites Jaime and Melissa (Peru), and Michael (USA)

We also grabbed dinner and drinks with a group of Darden SYs (Second Years) in Lima who had just come from Machu Picchu and were reminiscing about their trip.  We ate a great meal at one of Lima's finest restaurants named Rafael and talked about the far more relaxing life of a SY with a full-time job lined up.

Fine dining for Darden students in Lima.  Robert (SY), Michael (FY), me, Hilary (SY), and Danielle (SY)

My group wasn't planning on running into anyone else we knew, so what a surprise we felt when we bumped into another group of Darden SYs traveling in our boat on Lake Titicaca!  They had traveled there from Bolivia and onward to Cusco and Machu Picchu.  At a business school of about 650 students, what are the odds that you run into colleagues in another hemisphere?!  Not high, I imagine, but this experience speaks to the international and globally-minded nature of the Darden student body.  I'm delighted and amazed.

Darden Energy Club nerds (Britt and me) admire a solar energy panel on the Uros Islands of Lake Titicaca.

Lunch on Isle Taquile.  Michael (FY), Sarah (SY), Michael (SY), Brendan (UVA law), Britt (SY), and me.