MARQUETTE, Mich. - Northern Michigan University cross country runner, Kristen Schulz, experienced the opportunity of a lifetime as she spent time in South America this past summer as part of an exchange program. A senior from Kenosha, Wis., Schulz is the Wildcats leading runner this season.
She was the top NMU runner the first two events of the season, the U.P. Collegiate Opener (Sept. 3) with a fourth-place finish (19:57.5) and the Lake Superior Challenge (Sept.11) where she finished third (19:25.6). At the Roy Griak Invitational, Schulz was 74th (24:28.1).
During the summer, Schulz was given an opportunity to study in Peru and Argentina. She said the main reason was to enhance her skills as a physical therapist to speak Spanish fluently and to learn more about its culture. Schulz also mentioned that while the United States was into the summer season, the weather in South America was quite a different story as old man winter came calling.
During her stay in Peru and Argentina, Schulz stayed with host families. “The moms motivated you to learn Spanish and they cooked for you,” said Schulz. In case you don’t know about host families. Students such as Schulz are given the opportunity to live and volunteer with families that can be a traditional family, a single parent or even a couple with no children at home. However, the volunteers for the families are usually not paid. Host families are also vetted by organization that is in charge of the study abroad program.
Schulz even got a big appetite as she ate a lot of meat during her time in South America, especially in Argentina. The South America country is well known for its grilled beef where it’s cooked and barbecued either on charcoal or wood embers. With Argentines eating a lot of meat more than any other food, the meat exports are regulated and Europeans set up a share of the frozen meat imports that can’t be exceeded.
In addition, Schulz got to see the Machu Picchu in Peru. It’s a pre-Columbian Inca site that is located on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley. The Machu Picchu was built in a classical Inca style that is polished with dry-stone walls. Its main buildings at the Inca site that Schulz got to see are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows.
According to Schulz she encourages everyone to visit Peru and Argentina and learn a thing or two about the Spanish language and its culture. Especially when in Argentina, get a taste of the meat.
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Story by Stanley Jefferson