Sara Bova

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Bradford

Heinz Programming Area:
Arts and Culture
International Experience Summary:

Sara Bová has visualized about traveling to Peru for a very extraordinary reason. When she was sixteen, she read the book “The Sunflower” by Richard Paul Evans. In this book she saw the kindness that human beings could show to each other at an orphanage in El Girasol, Peru. From that moment on, she promised herself that if she ever received the opportunity to travel, the first place she would go to would be to the country in which that orphanage was located. Sara traveled to the orphanage in El Girasol twice during her stay in Peru. El Girasol is located in Huallybamba, Sacred Valley and is two hours by bus from the city of Cusco. It is here where she helped young boys with the garden and interacted with the other children. She felt that the orphanage impacted her first through the book, but at this time, on a different level. She took part in the true day-to-day experiences. For example, when the amount of volunteers was low, the children adjusted and took care of each other. They did their chores as well as their homework with a very disciplined manner. These children were more mature than most children their own age. Sara learned of the differences from this orphanage compared to orphanages inside the cities. The major difference that this orphanage had fewer volunteers. This was due to the fact that it was not located directed in the city. Sara plans to return some day to El Girasol to find ways to help out the orphanage more. Sara’s courses in Cuzco included the History of Inca Civilization and Spanish. The History class included field trips around the city including locations of where several Incan structures used to be and how they are used today. For example, a wall that was once part of an old temple site where chosen women would pray to the sun god is now a part of a Starbucks store. She also followed ceque lines which are lines that consist of a path of shrines of the Incas that all derived from Qorichanca. With her love of history, she learned a lot about the culture, artwork and the people who lived in Peru. As part of her study abroad program she was able to experience sites such as the last Inca stronghold Saqsayhuaman, Ollantaytambo, Machu Picchu and Chinchero. It was in Chinchero where Sara saw how the natives would create their beautiful craft of weaving. This style of weaving consists of using natural dyes from everyday items such as berries and bug blood mixed with acidic fruit. Sara learned that one cannot fully grasp another culture until one is actually living in it.

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Title: Gender Equality

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford cohort team was continentally diverse. Between them they experienced Peru, Denmark, and Japan. Yet, these countries which belong to different continents shared one particular thing in common, the injustice of gender inequality. Their CEE focused on just that and they decided to name the event Gender Equality. They wanted to encourage the positivity of the change that the event could make. They believed in making a difference. At the event, diverse female and male speakers discussed their own stories of inequalities that they have faced and the insight they have gained. The cohort team discussed their own passions for striving for the equality of the genders. They created tri-folds that alerted onlookers about specific occurrences of gender discrimination, including women in leadership in the Seneca Nation, women in business in Japan and how women are viewed through forms of media. They emphasized that gender inequality; including domestic violence and glass ceilings, exist all around the world. Their chance to study abroad has given them the ability to perceive these matters first-hand. It was their duty as women, nay human beings to help others become more aware of these injustices.