Brummels sits under a rock that says Che Vive meaing Che lives at the place where Che Guevara was shot and taken captive the day before he was executed. Che Guevara played a major role in the Cuban Revolution and spent his last days in South America.
Brummels and his friend, Eric Reed, in Lima, Peru on the second day of their journey. They spent the first and last ten days of a 60 day trip in Lima.
Brummels and Reed enjoy a meal towards the end of their trip back in Lima, Peru. Brummels said they both lost a significant amount of weight while traveling 7,000 miles in 35 days.
While most students spent last summer soaking up the Midwest sun, history graduate student Ezechiel Brummels was traveling across South America. Armed with only one friend and an elementary Spanish vocabulary, Brummels spent 60 days experiencing South America firsthand. He came back with more knowledge of the world and a newfound appreciation for home.
Q: Where are you from originally?
A: I’m originally from a town called Winside located between Norfolk and Wayne. It’s an extremely small town of about 400 people.
Q: What are you studying now?
A: This is my last semester. Right now, I’m working on my thesis to get a master’s degree from the history department.
Q: What was the main purpose of your trip to South America?
A: The reason for the trip was twofold. From a professional and academic point of view, my main topic of study and my thesis topic is going to be on Che Guevara, who was a famous revolutionary from Cuba. He went to South America to kind of repeat what he and Castro did in Cuba, and his last steps were there so it was an opportunity to see where he made his last stand. But on a personal level, it was an opportunity to get outside of the United States.
Q: How did the experience help you in the pursuit of a graduate degree?
A: One of the chapters in my thesis will be completely based around it, so it was crucial. Without the trip, I would have been writing about someone who wasn’t at all American from a completely American point of view, so I think it will lend some authenticity to it.
Q: Which areas did you travel to?
A: We spent the first 10 days in Lima, Peru. From there, we went down to Machu Picchu, then through Bolivia and then across to Rio de Janeiro. We then went back across and down through Paraguay, then through Argentina and back up to Bolivia. After that, we went back to Lima and spent the last 10 days there. We did about 7,000 miles in 35 days.
Q: What was the most fun part of your trip?
A: It was Probably Rio de Janeiro—beaches and the people and the nightlife; the energy of 20 million people in one city was amazing.
Q: What was the most interesting experience you had there?
A: If I had to pick one, and there were many, I would say it would be visiting the death place of Che Guevara and sort of feeling the energy that surrounded that place.
Q: What do you think is the biggest difference between South America and the United States?
A: Money. The poverty in many places was beyond anything that I had ever seen before.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for students to travel and experience another culture?
A: Why not? As a student, you can learn more in half an hour, about people and yourself, than you would in weeks and weeks in a classroom. Books are no substitute for experience.
Q: What surprised you the most during your trip?
A: I wasn’t exactly homesick, but I began to think about home differently. Home took on this whole new dimension. Many people, especially UNK students from small town Nebraska, take where they’re from for granted and sort of resent the lack of opportunity or diversity. Now, Nebraska means something more to me than what it did before.
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