by Dan Presson, Director, Advocacy for STEM in ESL, Inc.
I teach English as a Second Language in the United States. I have a technical background, so I use STEM (Science – Technology – Engineering – Mathematics) to teach English. Perhaps because of the method I use, I have given many presentations on the use of STEM to teach ESL at conferences and in discussion groups, both in the USA and internationally, including National Science Teachers Association, TESOL, and PeruTESOL, among others. Of all the conferences I have attended, I must say that from my first PeruTESOL conference in Lima, my experiences with the Peruvian people have always been exceptionally positive. I have visited Peru three times now. The first was Lima, as just mentioned, Chiclayo, and Tacna. The climate of Chiclayo exemplified the character of the Peruvian people, warm and friendly, while Tacna’s foggy chill was dissipated by the warmth of its people. All three visits have been for PeruTESOL conferences. I have found that the members of PeruTESOL echo the friendliness of the families I met in Lima. The members of PeruTESOL are not only gracious, but extremely professional, as well. The hospitality and professionalism of PeruTESOL extends from PeruTESOL’s president Nefdy Falconi Salazar to members like Julio Gago, the well-dressed gentleman in the photo, Dora Karina Momoni who gave me a guided tour of Tacna and helped me with my Spanish, and Lourdes Ugarte who guided me in Chiclayo. I must, also, mention Marcela Raffo. Marcela is with the US Embassy’s RELOAndes (Regional English Language Office) in Lima. I have heard many positive comments from Peruvian ESL teachers regarding Marcela. Marcela, like other Peruvians I have met, exemplify the Peruvian character.
On my first visit to Lima I met a Peruvian family at the hotel where I was staying with my family. We soon became friends, and visited the historic Castillo de Real Felipe in Callao and several Huacas. Later, we met another family and visited Pachacamac together. Without the graciousness of these families I may have never seen these wonders. Both of these families have become friends. We correspond via e-mail regularly and I visit them whenever I am in Peru. Hopefully, they will visit the US someday, where I’ll gratefully return their hospitality.
My experiences with the Peruvian people are by no means unique. I have heard many similar experiences from other visitors to Peru. All agree, the heart of the Peruvian people is golden.
The Regional English Language Office for the Andean Region is based at the U.S. Embassy in Lima and serves English language teachers, trainers, administrators and students in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela. It cooperates with Ministries of Education, Binational Centers, professional teachers’ associations, Fulbright, Peace Corps, public and private universities and other higher education institutes, among other partners, in order to build a stronger understanding between the peoples of the Andean region of Latin America and the U.S.