After my bachelor graduation I decided to see more of the world. I spent 4 months in Cusco, Peru, where I first studied Spanish and lived with a Peruvian family. After this I worked in a boys orphanage for three months and lived in the city centre.
I worked on several social projects with the children to educate them in sports, Spanish, some English and general skills such as writing and maths. At times I took selected children to the city centre to see the daily street life and visit museums and shopping malls.
This all was an extraordinary experience for me. The people, the amazing travels, the plunge in Peruvian society: it was a rich journey. I learned a lot about the culture and language through the Spanish school, and additionally through the Peruvian family that took care of me. They showed me the contrasts between cultures and fed me choclo and avocado like a real Peruvian.
Exchange of traditions
The work in the orphanage was one of the most valuable experiences in my life. Seeing how the kids try to grow up normally in such an unusual situation puts a lot of western society in perspective. I was amazed by their traditions, and they equally by the traditions I brought from the Netherlands.
In terms of design value this once again confirmed how I want to focus on the usefulness, the practicality of design. In a Peruvian orphanage, a pencil is as valuable as a smartphone in the Netherlands. Better educational materials are needed there, not iPads in classrooms.