On October 25, the UM International Office invited international students to visit the Andes Museum. The Museum honors the memory of the 29 Uruguayans who died in the Andes on or after October 13, 1972 because of their airplane which crashed on its way from Montevideo to Santiago de Chile.
Jörg Thompson, curator of the Museum, talked about this overwhelming story of survival in South America. The exhibition is also dedicated to 16 Uruguayans who “returned to life” after enduring 72 days under the worst conditions imaginable. Students learned about their resilience, overcoming, team work and strength. In a short video they watched at the Museum, the survivor Roberto Canessa states that everyone has their own mountain range. The important thing is to overcome it, try to be happy and in doing so, make other people happy too.
This story inspired Alive, a 1993 American film based on Piers Paul Read's book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors (1974) which details the story of the Uruguayan rugby team involved in the crash of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571.
James Hepworth, one of the international students who visited the museum, commented: “What a fantastic experience! Museums aren’t generally my cup of tea, but this one had me in awe of the extremely tough decisions that had to be made in the face of stark, bitter realities. In particular, I appreciate the fact that the museum identifies that this story is as much about the miracle as it was about the complete change in the way the survivors strategically thought, planned and acted in desperation in order to find a way to survive. There are clear and inspirational lessons we can learn from this to apply to our daily lives. I highly recommend this to any Uruguayans wanting to learn a bit more about their country, and any international students before they go home!”