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Keitel Cervantes-Salguero, Research Scholar

Photo of Keitel Cervantes-Salguero

I was born in Peru, specifically in Lima which is the only coastal capital among the Andean states. The geography of Peru is drastic. There are beaches, deserts, valleys and mountains that increase in altitude the further you are from the Pacific Ocean. This mountain range is called the Tropical Andes and can be as elevated as 22,205 ft (Mount Waskaran), plain and wide at 12,300 feet (Qullaw high plain and Lake Titiqaqa) or as depth as 11,004 ft (Kutawasi canyon). Towards the Atlantic Ocean the elevation decreases, and the mountains become green in what is called high jungle (Machu Picchu is here) until it becomes the low jungle also known as the Amazon. Because of this geography, the culture, food, festivals, dances, and languages are very diverse. Nevertheless, the official language in Peru is Spanish followed by many other minority and autochthonous languages such as Quechua, a language spoken by many ethnics including the former Inka empire.

I believe that I did not know enough about Peru until I moved abroad, initially, to Japan to continue my postgraduate studies and research thanks to a Japanese scholarship. Living for six years on the other side of the world, in a very homogeneous society speaking an agglutinative language completely different to Spanish and English but grammatically similar to Quechua, has been a transformative experience. I feel very fortunate to have learnt many things from the Japanese spirit and values, and tried hard to understand how things work. After my graduation I did my postdoctoral position in the UK, and lived for three years in the very cosmopolitan and exciting city of London. In this melting pot of people from all over the world, I felt that the culture was based on basic grounds such as respect and common sense. Being in these international environments have fueled my interest in languages and experiencing different cultures and places.

Here in Boise, I am a Research Scholar and I am very excited to learn about the American culture as well as meeting other internationals, and even playing chess with a clock. And of course, I will be very glad to share my experiences and Peruvian culture.