Jacqui hugs a baby goat in the mountains of Huaraz.
Overseas Study Program
Jacqui’s majors: Spanish and International Studies
Term abroad: 2009-10 Academic Year
Reason you chose this program: I chose to study in Lima, Peru because I wanted to experience the Latin American culture and better my Spanish skills. I knew the Lima program was one of the most difficult and independent programs and I was really excited about the challenge!
Favorite classes: My favorite classes that I took abroad were Etnicidad y Mestizaje en el Peru, Arte Plasticas, and Quechua.
Decribe the housing situation: My first semester I lived with a Peruvian host family. It was a great way to learn more about Peru, their culture and their history, while eating delicious, homemade Peruvian food. There was always someone around to talk to and get advice from. My second semester I moved to an apartment style house where other international students were living.
Best memory: My best memory is what I did just about every weekend that I was in Lima. I would go hang out with my friends on the beach that owned the surf school Pukana and go surfing all day. I had learned to surf in a small beach town called Huanchaco on a weekend trip and from then on I surfed just about everyday in Lima! Playa Makaja was the popular surf beach and was always filled with surfers and tourists wanting to learn!
Biggest surprise: I had no idea how grey and overcast Lima is during the winter. I was really surprised that a South American country that’s close to the equator could get so cold in the winter. But, compared to Indiana snowy winters, it is definitely survivable!
Experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock: Not surprisingly, there were very few red heads in Peru. For this reason, I had to adjust to the feeling of always standing out in the crowd. While I was not given a second look in tourist areas, I definitely drew attention in Lima. I could never go to a store or enter a combi without receiving several confused glances.
What you know now that you didn’t know before going abroad: The severity of poverty that exists. As an international studies and human rights student, I have studied poverty and done community service, but until I witnessed it and the people affected by poverty first hand, I wasn’t really able to understand the extent of the problem. It really makes you not take things for granted.
Going abroad versus staying on campus: IU is an amazing school and campus life is great, but studying abroad is an invaluable experience that you will have for the rest of your life. By living in another country, you learn to see the world in a different perspective and get to have the most amazing opportunities that you would never have the chance to do in Bloomington. Your friends will still be there when you get back from having the time of your life in another country!
Advice to Future Study Abroad Participants: Study for the entire year and try new things. What I heard most from other international students was that they wished that they could have studied abroad for the whole year. By studying abroad, you are going to be able to experience things you would never even have imagined. Try all things new and exciting. Meet as many people as you can and get to know their story. Eat lots of delicious and bizarre foods. Have no regrets and don’t be scared to try something new and unknown, you will only learn more about yourself in the process!
Fact about your host country that you think people would be surprised to learn: Peru grows over 2,000 different types of potatoes! My favorite was a pink and purple polka dot potato.