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  • Today’s recipe: Rocoto Relleno

    It is no longer a secret that Peru has a very authentic and flavorful cuisine; Peruvian cuisine is actually booming all over the world.  AMAUTA Spanish school in Cusco, therefore, offers an interesting workshop Peruvian Cuisine that can be combined with a Spanish course in Peru.

    One of the most famous dishes is the Rocoto Relleno, a stuffed hot pepper that is colorful, aromatic and incredibly tasty all at once. It is a traditional appetizer from the mountain city of Arequipa in the south of Peru, served alongside a delicious potato gratin; however in all fairness, it could make for a complete meal already!

    Spanish and Cooking in Cusco Peru at AMAUTA Spanish School

    This Peruvian recipe contains beef, pecans, raisins, olives and more. It can take some time to prepare as there are several preparation steps involved (boiling the peppers, filling, stuffing and baking) but once you taste its hot and unusual flavor you know it was all worth it. This heavenly meal will definitely impress at a dinner party.  Serves 8 to 10:

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    The Mysterious Streets of Cusco city

    Strolling the streets of Cusco is quite an experience; strenuous but full of magic and charm. The city of Cusco in Peru is built 3.430m high, surrounded by green mountains and colorful inhabitants who still walk with their llamas and donkeys up winding staircases passing magnificent constructions indicative of what the ancient Incan empire used to be like.

    Maybe the best way to understand the fusion between the Andean civilization and the influences of the culture and architecture of conquering Spain is by observing Cusco’s street names.
    Among the Cuzco street names, we find a series that allude to the mysterious meaning of the number seven, which for the Quechua speaking population refers to the seven metaphysic entities including the sun, moon and earth. The number is usually accompanied by mythological representations of deities such as ‘Siete Angelitos’ (angels), ‘Siete Diablitos’ (devils), ‘Siete Serpientes’ (snakes – one of the 3 Incan sacred animals) as well as architectural shapes in ‘Siete Ventanas’ (windows), ‘Siete Cuartones’ (squares or scantlings) or animals that used to roam the streets: ‘Siete Borreguitos’ (lambs).

    The Mysterious Streets of Cusco city
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    Santurantikuy is a Christmas fair which happens in Cusco ever since the vice-regency in the 16th Century. The fair lasts all day from 4am when the artisans start to arrive with their coloured blankets full of crafts to sell, until well into the night of the 24th of December at the central Plaza de Armas.

    Santurantikuy literally means ‘Selling of the Saints’ in the Quechua language. In Cusco, a city characterized with deep Andean roots, the image of baby Jesus is adored throughout the whole year especially during Christmas Eve. Ceramics of this religious nature dominate the market, which according to the artisans, requires around 6 months of preparation. The spiritual devotion is best described in the words of this Santurantikuy spokesman: “to create one has to believe, and this faith of the Andean community is fomenting the hope to keep alive traditions, culture and even humanity”.

    The Santurantikuy market in Cusco, an Andean Christmas affair
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    When I started my internship about 3 months ago I knew already I was going to spend Christmas in Peru. I did have aims of eating ‘peru’ in Peru, until I realised that this Portuguese word for turkey is not the same in Spanish. Instead, I need to find ‘pavo’ in Peru. With all the invites I have received from my colleagues at Dos Manos travel agency in Cusco and their ‘big’ sister AMAUTA Spanish School in Cusco, that shouldn’t be an impossible quest. In between now and then, however, there is much festivity to be had in and around the school’s premises.

    A Brit’s perspective on Christmas time in Cusco!

    The first item on the festive agenda is the company’s Christmas party, known as a posada or in this case a ‘pollada’. Whilst online dictionaries haven’t helped me, I have deduced that this is a big chicken feast which is almost the same as turkey anyway. The staff, teachers and employees of AMAUTA and Dos Manos have been put in charge with selling tickets to the students at 10 Soles a pop. This has caused a number of interesting sales tactics between staff (mock-bribing by withholding food not excluded!) to avoid having to pay for the difference in tickets that aren’t sold by the end of the week. Surely if I have 5 tickets left over and I pay for them, I will be entitled to 5 courses of chicken! Whilst I would be the fattest man in Cusco if this came to pass, at least I could pull off a half-convincing Father Christmas!

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    AMAUTA Spanish School is very pleased to announce a brand new way to learn Spanish: Spanish lessons on Skype with our very own Spanish teachers in Cusco or Buenos Aires. The individual or semi-individual Spanish lessons online is the most convenient way to improve your linguistic proficiency, because you can decide to study Spanish at your own pace when and where you want! A unique learning plan is developed including topics on Spanish grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation as well as guided conversation about anything you wish to talk about. Topics about Latin American culture can be included. Success is guaranteed!

    Who study Spanish online with us?
    The Spanish Skype lessons are tailored to your unique learning needs and are offered to practically anyone, whether you are:

    • A future AMAUTA student; you like to take a few lessons before your arrival in Cusco or Buenos Aires, get a jumpstart by learning a few verbs and getting used to the accent in order to get the most out of your classes once you are attending our schools. A great practical way to learn some Spanish and to ‘meet and greet’ your teacher prior to arrival!
    • An ex-AMAUTA student: you have enjoyed your classes with us and know that our teaching methods work very well for you. Now you would like to continue with your favorite teacher(s) who knows you and your level of Spanish very well.
    • Study Spanish online with AMAUTA, only one Skype call away!
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    AMAUTA has distinguished itself as an expert in facilitating Spanish language programs for children. Over the years many families from all over the world have chosen our Spanish School in Cusco and Buenos Aires as their location of choice to spend a unique and educative holiday in South America.

    The Spanish for families programs at AMAUTA are custom designed for different age groups and include a lot of flexibility and most importantly many entertaining activities!

    Spanish for Kids: an unforgettable family experience abroad!

    Eva and Rikki Goldman, age 9 and 11
    Spanish class in Buenos Aires has been so much fun. All the teachers are really nice and patient and they like to play games with us. We did projects like writing a magazine, collages and interview the adult students, all in Spanish of course. The class is 4 hours long, but it goes by really fast. We did not know any Spanish at all when we got here and now we have learned all about verbs, animals, colors, fruits and animals. Muchas gracias AMAUTA!

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    Living and volunteering in South America can come with quite some challenges. It is very important to know you can count on the support of a professional and experienced organization. AMAUTA has been offering Spanish courses, cultural activities and arranging volunteer work in Peru and Argentina in a huge variety of fields since 1996.

    Upon your arrival in either Cusco or Buenos Aires, our local volunteer coordinators will be your contact persons to discuss the wishes and desired objectives you have of your volunteer project. Besides informing you about anything you need to know about the placement in question, they are always available to talk to you about your experiences and even more importantly, any concerns that might raise while volunteering.

    Our local volunteer coordinator in Peru, Martina Käser, is originally from Germany.  She studied Spanish (and speaks a couple of other languages too!) and volunteered through AMAUTA. We share her story so you already get to know her:

    Why experienced volunteer support makes all the difference!

    January 2010 was the first time I decided to travel to South America – new culture, new people and a lot of new impressions. I had already studied Spanish as a subject at university, and also spent a semester abroad in Valencia, Spain. However, I still wanted to improve my understanding of the grammar and especially practice my conversational skills! The lessons provided me just what I was looking for; the perfect mixture of grammar and conversation through all kinds of engaging exercises. I most fondly remember the week I spent at AMAUTA’s countryside location, the Spanish school in the Sacred Valley, which was an absolutely amazing get-away!

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    Many of our newcomers ask themselves what their first week learning Spanish in Cusco at AMAUTA actually will be like. Charged with loads of excitement and ambition they are about to start an amazing adventure far away from home, and undoubtedly this life changing decision comes with plenty of uncertainties.

    As the following testimonial of a recent Spanish student points out, you should not worry about the details and just leave the fun times up to us. The experienced staff of AMAUTA, the first Spanish School in Cusco, will do everything possible to make your stay as comfy as possible, and is always available to answer your questions before and after coming to Peru!

    ”During my first week of Spanish classes I took a placement test with the other new students. As I have an inherent anxiety for any type of exam, I was quite nervous for the outcome. Gladly, the exam turned out to be non-threatening, and I was pleased that the short conversation test was with a friendly professor who made me laugh and feel comfortable with my little knowledge of Spanish.

    What to expect from your 1st week of learning Spanish in Cusco!
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    If you are thinking of coming to Cusco to learn Spanish we would highly recommend the relaxing location of the Amauta Spanish School in Yanahuara in the middle of the Sacred Valley of the Inca’s, just over an hour by bus from Cusco and 5 minutes from the Valley’s unofficial capital of Urubamba.

    Amauta has been teaching Spanish to travellers for over 12 years and all of the teachers are extremely driven to provide the students with the best learning experience possible.

    Study Spanish in the Sacred Valley of the Incas

    The Sacred Valley in Peru is an area where everything seems to work in harmony. The scenery is particularly breath-taking, and it never fails to awe-struck those visiting for the first time.

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