And We Are Live! Hola Arequipa!

Visual story telling is my passion. After studying film and television in Vienna and New York, I worked as a producer in the Middle East where I gained a wealth of experience—but at a price.

After more than two years at a breakneck pace, I felt uninspired and drained by the lifestyle in Dubai, so I decided to quit my job and go travelling. But I didn’t want to travel just for the sake of it. I wanted to travel with purpose.

One of my first stops was the city of Arequipa in the South of Peru. I stayed here for two months and worked at two TV stations. One of the TV stations was called TV UNSA, and I was part of the production team for ‘Hola Arequipa,’ a popular morning show. TV UNSA is run by a group of film students at the local university. The Universidad Nacional de San Agustín uses TV UNSA to spread the word about relevant social and cultural topics.

‘Hola Arequipa’ was filmed live in a studio, similar to Canadian Breakfast Television. We featured daily news, shared extraordinary stories, and interviewed special guests. The production team was responsible for creating content and producing the actual show, and we did this by researching topics, finding guests of interest, and making sure everything ran smoothly.

Wait. Smoothly!?

This line of work is challenging enough in my own native language, and here I was in Peru on my first day in the studio. Having lived in Spain for a year after high school, my Spanish was okay, but rusty. Never mind the German accent that left Peruvians smiling and me blushing on a daily basis.

We were live on air, and people were asking me for scripts, props, and make-up. I didn’t understand a word, and suddenly it dawned on me: I was supposed to do this in Spanish!

Having no choice, my language skills improved quickly. I am thankful for the big smiles, many laughs, strange drawings, and sign language that got me through this particular challenge! Actively taking part in Peruvian culture in this way was ultimately more rewarding than merely strolling through their country as a tourist.


Check out other travel adventures by this author!

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