Laura Vervloet, 21, a third-year European Studies student from Belgium who has seen 17 per cent of the world
For Laura Vervloet, travelling is an exotic experience. In the last few years she has made trips to Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Peru. In Peru she spent two months doing volunteer work with a small organisation in San Jerónimo, helping children aged six to fourteen with their English, mathematics and sometimes Spanish homework.
On weekends and at the end of her stay Vervloet had some time to travel around the country. Together with some other volunteers, she took trips to other places in Peru, including an eight-hour bus ride into the jungle: “That was one thing I really wanted see. The nature, all the animals like birds, insects, tarantula, huge otters…” What was most impressive for her, though, was flying over the Nazca lines, ancient geoglyphs or motifs 'drawn' into the landscape. The designs were created by making trenches in the earth of the Nazca desert, removing the reddish pebbles and uncovering the greyish ground beneath. “They are so gigantic that you have to take a small plane to see them”, Vervloet explains. The area, with several hundred figures formed into the shape of animals or human beings, measures about 500 square kilometres. “It was challenging to get the last seats in the plane, but worth it: It was a spectacular sight.”
On her trip to Lebanon in 2009 Vervloet was able to stay with the locals. “We were invited to a wedding. They had a great feast, loads of food, the women were dressed up in colourful dresses. Beautiful!” She also saw large parts of the rest of the country: “Lebanon is very small. One day, we organised a cab and toured through the south and the coastal area. Every now and then we stopped to visit some places. It was very interesting to see. I'm happy I did it.”