M.I. Burke - Bridge Year Peru
I was raised in Oak Park, Illinois, and graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep in Chicago. In high school, my involvement in Model United Nations and several public service organizations inspired a passion for community engagement that has encouraged me to pursue a year of service in Peru. I also loved playing tennis and lacrosse, interning at Loyola University Museum of Art, and performing the violin in a symphony and several ensembles throughout Chicago. As a classical violinist and music enthusiast, I listen to everything from Mahler to Animal Collective, The National, and Sigur Rós. My academic interests include Art History, Economics, International Relations, and a deep fascination with Latin American culture that developed last summer when I lived as an exchange student in Santiago, Chile. After volunteering at a Head Start preschool my senior year, I am most excited to get involved in education initiatives in Urubamba, and I cannot wait to hike the Inca Trail!
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Posted May 15, 2012
I stepped into the Cusco conference room to the chattering of college-agers, the distinctive ticking sound of Apple products as someone texted friends back home, and a teen cracking jokes in a sarcastic tone of voice I have rarely heard in my eight months in Peru. Minutes later, I was standing in front of this group of business students who were working on a week-long research and marketing project for the women’s artisan collective I work with, Ricchariy Warmi.
Posted Apr 26, 2012
When I started school, a fellow five-year-old decided that the name Mary Irene was just too long to say. She dubbed me “M.I.,” and the name stuck. Why do Americans like initials so much? Ask J.K., W.B., or O.J… initials are easy, to-the-point, and hip. In my daily life in the Andean pueblo Urubamba where, despite the presence of washing machines in many homes, people find that not washing their clothes by hand feels “weird,” ...
Posted Jan 26, 2012
I work with a women’s artisan collective in a rural village called Chicón, about an hour’s walk from the small city of Urubamba. When Ricchariy Warmi, “Rise-up Woman” in the local Quechua language, began last January, several of the fifteen members did not know how to knit. One year later, thanks to the persistence of the women and some incredible volunteers who came before me, Ricchariy Warmi members produce beautiful woven goods, jewelry, and other handicrafts ...
Posted Dec 29, 2011
Salsa dancing brings to mind dark Havana nightclubs, piña coladas, and complicated steps performed by a debonair pair in perfect harmony. The sunny Cusqueñan dance studio where I attempted my earliest Salsa stumblings was a far cry from any Havana club, and the only reality of my starry-eyed Salsa reverie was the complicated steps. I spent that first lesson with my eyes glued to my feet, counting out the beat so loudly in my head that it was nearly audible.