Why did you choose this program? I chose this program because I wanted to go somewhere where I could improve my Spanish and where all of my courses would be taken with Peruvian students.
Describe your favorite class(es) abroad. My favorite class was Amazonian Ethnography because we discussed very interesting topics and it gave me the chance to do field work in the Amazon.
What was the housing like on your study abroad program? In Lima, I lived with a host family and two other international students. My host parents were a retired couple with two children: a daughter that lived in Italy and a son who lived in the apartment above the house with his children. They were absolutely wonderful and treated us like we were their own children!
What advice would you like to give to future study abroad students? Definitely take advantage of your time abroad. It goes by so quickly! Try to see as much of Peru as you can because it is such a diverse country. Also, make an effort to talk to the Peruvian students in your classes and to meet the other exchange students from different parts of the world.
What’s your best memory from your time abroad? My best memory is getting to go to stay with an indigenous community in the amazon rainforest for a week to do a research project for one of my classes. It was such a cool experience to get to get to know another culture within Peru and work with other students from different parts of the country on our project. For my research, I went to the secondary school everyday where I lead activities and played games with the kids while researching youth identity and education in the community.
What was your biggest surprise about the location, culture or other aspects of your program? My biggest surprise was how geographically diverse Peru is. It has deserts, rainforests, mountains, and the coast, and it is so easy to see all of them in a short amount of time.
Describe your experience with culture shock or reverse culture shock. When I got home from Peru I had a hard time because I missed speaking in Spanish all day everyday and finding new adventures.
“If I could do it over, I would…” Travel more! Peru is fairly easy to get around and there is so much to see. I definitely wish I would have taken advantage of the weekends more and seen more of the country.
What do you know now that you didn’t know before you went abroad? I now know that you aren't truly living life unless you make the most of each day. Anything, good or bad, can be an adventure if you make it one.
What do you wish someone had told you before you left? I wish I had been told how quickly the time goes by. 5 months is not a lot of time, but when you are in a new environment, it goes by even faster. You definitely need to make the most of each day.
What was your greatest challenge? My greatest challenge was meeting Peruvian students. At the beginning of the semester I was nervous to talk to the other students as there were not many other international students in my classes. I ended up making some great Peruvian friends, but I wish I would have been more confident in my Spanish and spoken to them sooner.
Discuss: “Going abroad vs. staying on campus.” Definitely go abroad! And go abroad for a full year if you can! It is such an amazing experience to get to live in a completely different culture and learn a new language and you learn so much about yourself. It is such a unique thing to be completely immersed in a new culture and its a once in a lifetime opportunity
What fact about your host country do you think people would be surprised to learn? Peru has over 4,000 types of potatoes!
How did you find scholarships for study abroad? I applied for scholarships through the overseas studies office.