International Field Study

Peru: Secrets of Secret Valley Winter 2018

Peru: Secrets of Secret Valley Winter 2018


Operation Groundswell’s “Secrets of the Secret Valley” program explores in and around Peru’s historic (and scenic) Urubamba Valley. Once the cradle of the Incan empire, El Valle Sagrado figures prominently in Peru’s mythology and modern identity. From the cobblestone streets of Cusco to Incan citidels and remote farming villages, we’ll experience Andean ways of life old and new. We’ll taste highland cuisine and hear about traditional medicine. We’ll get our hands dirty in sustainable agriculture and examine local approaches to health and wellness in the altiplano. We’ll work on innovative community iniatiatives and learn alongside local movers and shakers who may share with us some of the secrets hidden within this world famous valley.

The combination of hands-on projects, cultural immersion, and adventure will challenge us to think critically about the connections between traditional knowledge and healthy living, tourism and social justice.

$500 Be World Ready Grant Disbursement:

***$400 will be applied to the final payment for this trip, once all mandatory pre-departure training has been completed by the participant (date for pre-departure training to be announced).

***$100 will be reimbursed to participants who submit two approved photos and a testimonial to the Be World Ready team 30 days after their return (form to be provided)

Day 1—3

We’ll begin our journey in the modern city of Cusco, once the capital of a mighty empire. There, our group will acclimatize to the sights, smells, sounds, and altitude of the region. We’ll hit the city’s cobblestone streets and learn about the country’s colonial history before hiking to the Temple of the Sun and Moon for a glimpse of the valley’s Incan past. We’ll spend our mornings in a cozy guesthouse complete with a cup of coca tea. Then its time to explore tasty traditional Andean food and do some hands-on learning about the health benefits of native grains and home-made energy bars. Still got room for dessert? We’ll take a chocolate-making workshop and hear about the healing powers of cacao.

From there we will switch gears and dig into mining and development with Derechos Humanos Sin Fronteras. DHSF is dedicated to working with communities affected by multinational mining so, we’ll talk human rights and get the dirt on multi-national mining in the altiplano and what local communities are doing to respond.

Day 3—5

Next, our journey will take us to a family farm in the remote village of Maska, about an hour and a half outside of Cusco. The project, known as Kausay Punku, serves as a conservatory for ancient grains and seeds, a school of traditional organic agricultural practices, and a place of practice for traditional Andean medicine. There, we’ll learn about herbal and homeopathic medicine, natural construction, and traditional farming. Our days will be spent getting our hands dirty harvesting eucalyptus, building with adobe and distilling medicinal plants into pure essential oils. Evenings will be full of traditional cuisine from the sierra and real stories of the Inca.

Day 5—7

Then, we’ll set off on a hike deep into the district of Pisac. The Kinsa Ccocha Trek is an off-the-beaten path adventure that will take us past sites rarely seen by tourists, including pre-Incan wall paintings and secret lakes hidden high up in the mountains! We will be guided by our partners at Kausay Punku and our friend Silvestre, who will share with us the history of the region and the stories passed down from their ancestors. Along the way, we’ll spend a night in the town of Paru Paru. This indigenous community sustains itself on potatos, corn and quinoa so, we’ll enjoy a delicious traditional dinner and cozy up in this unique corner of the Andes.

Day 7—9

Finally, after an incredible journey, we’ll make our way down into an ancient Incan village which is now the famous home of one the nest remaining Incan archeoligical sites. The ruins of Pisac cover vast agricultural terraces and and the country’s largest known cemeteries encompassing 20,000 caves carved into the side of the mountain.

We’ll spend the night in town where we’ll celebrate disorientation. This is a staple of every OG program and provides a space to debrief as a group. So, we’ll kickback, relax and re ect on our incredible journey. We’ll fill our bellies with ceviche, tell stories, sip Pisco sours and share lessons learned. We’ll sit under the stars and think about our impact and what we can do to bring it back home.


Payment Plan

Note that the fees included below are approximate and may vary at any time.


$550 is due October 20, 2017

Option 1—Direct Deposit – Online

When making payment through online banking:

  • Set up Niagara College as the payee and use your student number as the account number
  • Once payment is made, you MUST email and provide your name, student number, payment amount and indicate that payment is for International Field Study: Peru: Secrets of Secret Valley Winter 2018. Please copy Be World Ready, at on the email
  • The following business day the payment will be uploaded to your student account and as long as Student Accounts receive an email from you, the IFS charge will be posted accordingly

Option 2—In Person

Go to Student Accounts located in the Registrar’s office at Niagara College. There is one at each campus. Have your student number available. Indicate that you would like to make a payment for an International Field Study: Peru: Secrets of Secret Valley Winter 2018. Make payment (either deposit or final payment) for your International Opportunity to your student account.

Cancellation Policy

Students MUST email the Be World Ready team immediately at, from their Niagara College student email account, to notify the team of your decision to no longer participate in an IFS. If no notification of cancelation is received by email to the Be World Ready team after the initial deposit date, all payments are 100% non-refundable regardless of the below schedule of cancellation fees.

It is imperative that the Be World Ready team is notified of your choice to withdraw from any IFS as soon as possible. A missed payment is not considered a notification of no longer wishing to participate in an IFS an email must be sent to expressing your desire to withdrawal.

If a student needs to cancel their International Field Study, they may qualify for a refund of monies paid based on the schedule of cancellation fees outlined below:

Schedule of Cancellation Fees
  • 0—30 days of deposit date: Refunds will be granted based on vendor/supplier payments made by the cancelation date
  • 31—60 days of deposit date: 50% loss of all payments made to date
  • 61+ days of deposit date: All payments 100% non-refundable

Application Process

  • Apply online
  • Email a copy/photo of your passport to
    • Please ensure all text is legible as this is required to book your airline ticket
  • Pay the deposit (spots for this trip are only secured after a deposit payment has be made)

Grant Eligibility

All, full-time Niagara College students participating in an international activity are eligible for up to $500 worth of Be World Ready grants to help offset the cost of their experience. In order to qualify for the grant:

  • Apply to an international experience
  • Attend a mandatory pre-departure meeting (dates to be determined)
  • Complete the online pre-departure component (consisting of Blackboard modules and forms to sign)
  • Successfully attend the international experience
  • Upon return, submit two high-quality photos along with a well-written testimonial referencing your experience abroad to the Be World Ready team
Note: if we will be flying through the United States of America, you must have permission to enter and leave the United States. If you require a U.S travel visa it is your responsibility to obtain this document and email a copy/photo.
Approx. Price

$2450 +/-

Trip Date

Feb 24, 2018—Mar 4, 2018




Open to all students

Application Deadline

October 20, 2017