Overseas Study Program
Alison’s majors: Sociology, Spanish, LAMP
Term abroad: Fall 2009
Reason you chose this program: I choose to go to Lima because it is more off the beaten path than other cities, and the program was very independently designed. The program gave me a lot of opportunity to do exactly what I wanted.
Favorite classes: My favorite classes abroad were Teatro Literatura and Danza Moderna.
Decribe the housing situation: I lived with a Peruvian family in Lima where there were other international students and Peruvian students living. I had the time of my life in that house, even though we were not allowed to speak English, which really forced me to use my Spanish skills!
Best memory: The best memory is hanging out and learning how to surf in a small beach town in northern Peru. Also, visiting Lake Titicaca and Machu Picchu with my mother when she came to visit was very memorable.
Biggest surprise: Lima is a huge city, so I had a long commute to school on crowded public buses. Surprisingly, I didn't mind it. It was actually quite relaxing once I got used to the crowds. There is always something new and interesting to see out the window!
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: The first thing I noticed when I came back to the U.S. was that everyone was attached to some type of electronic device (iPod, Blackberry, etc.). It drove me crazy for a while as I had gotten used to life with minimal electronic usage.
If I could do it over, I would... stay for an entire year! Believe everyone who says it. It's true! Plan to go for an academic year abroad if you can.
Greatest challenge: The greatest challenge I faced was learning the process of the university. Classes, and the university in general, function in a different way than Indiana University. Also, it seemed almost like high school, which was hard in its own way. However, the classes are very tough!
Advice to future study abroad participants: Take advantage of every opportunity you have to try something different or travel to a new place, regardless of time or money constraints. You CAN find a way, and you will regret it if you don't!