Forming a team of 21, including three teachers and a leader from the organisers, Camp International, they aided poor rural communities by working on projects to benefit the residents.
The pupils, aged 16-17, worked with local professionals and camp staff in installing clean water pipes, laying foundations for a school dining hall and building stables to help protect animals from the harsh climate.
Alongside supporting the local infrastructure, the pupils took part in a number of cultural activities such as chocolate, bracelet and pottery making, and Spanish lessons.
This was a fantastic opportunity for our students who were able to gain experience of another culture and make a contribution to society on a global scale - Jacqui Ferris, The Dukeries Academy Vice Principal
Gaining first-hand experience of rural Andean culture, the pupils were accommodated in tents and dormitories for their one month stay, and assumed the diet of the local people, including alpaca. They took full responsibility for their washing up and laundry, and were encouraged to stay away from their mobile phones – making the experience as authentic as possible.
The team then embarked on one of South America’s most famous trails, the challenging five-day Salkantay Trek, which culminated in the climb up to Machu Picchu at 5am. They were also lucky enough to trek to see wild condors, which are only around 900 away from extinction.
Jacqui Ferris, Vice Principal of The Dukeries Academy, part of Academy Transformation Trust, said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our students who were able to gain experience of another culture and make a contribution to society on a global scale which fits with our academy values to ‘Aspire, Achieve and Contribute’.”
The Dukeries Academy pupil, Jake Hall, said: “I thought the expedition was great. I made loads of new friends, visited some very interesting places and experienced a culture different to my own.”