Why Peru? I have had to answer this question countless times. It was clear to me right from the start that I would like to spend my semester abroad in South America. The reasons for this were the different way of life, the language and the many, distant travel destinations. So I first found out which countries are not too dangerous and have universities that offer English courses. Only Peru and Chile were shortlisted. Chile is significantly more expensive and, in my opinion, does not offer the diversity of Peru. I found the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola (USIL) in Lima through MicroEDU and luckily everything was organized very quickly.
At first, the range of courses at USIL seemed very diverse. Courses are offered in both Spanish and English. According to the examination regulations of my university, courses worth 15 credits (ETCS) must be taken at the foreign university, which are then remunerated with 1.6. A Peruvian credit counts 2 ETCS (at some German universities only 1.5 ETCS). Most courses are worth 3 or 4 Peruvian credits, so only 2 courses have to be taken. I took 3 courses and still had a lot of free time and the workload was okay. On the whole, in my opinion, the degree of difficulty is not as high as in Germany and the exams are easy to master, but a higher workload must be expected during the semester. Homework, Almost weekly tests and readings are completely normal and so you have to plan your trips well in order not to miss them, as they are part of the final grade. Attendance is checked before the lesson and attendance is compulsory. However, you can miss up to 30% in all courses, with the exception of the language courses.
Given the relatively high tuition fees of $ 5200, I was a little disappointed with USIL. However, I did not take into account exactly that when it comes to education in Germany you are spoiled with the almost free, public universities. USIL is one of the best universities in South America. Only the high society of Peru can afford this university.
The fairly clear class size of around 8-20 students per course is a great advantage. This gives you the chance to get to know your fellow students better and learn a lot. USIL offers a relatively large number of courses in English. Although USIL does not have the range of English-language courses by far, as I was promised before the day of the course selection, it should be possible to realize a completely English-language semester with a little flexibility in the schedule or in the courses to be selected. I would have loved to take courses in Spanish, but I had a certain pressure of grades and I didn’t think I could do the same things in Spanish as I did in English. Whether you choose courses in English or Spanish naturally also depends on how your home university credits the semester abroad. If you only have to pass your courses, as is the case with many others, I would recommend the choice of Spanish-language courses, as you can quickly understand the rough content even without much prior knowledge. If, on the other hand, the grades of the courses in the semester abroad are included in the overall grade of the degree, then the English-language courses are definitely to be preferred.
The supervision of foreign students at USIL was not as well organized as in Germany, for example. So I got a lot of information from Peruvian students, which was a good way to get to know new people. At the beginning there was a welcome event where all important matters such as the timetable, exam schedule and information sheets were provided.
In addition, every student receives a so-called buddy who helps a lot during the first few days in Peru. The buddies are students who volunteer to look after the exchange students. My buddy was always available to me for the entire semester by email or personally if I had any questions. The equipment in the classrooms is very modern. All rooms are equipped with projectors, at least one computer and cameras for projection.
I would say that knowledge of Spanish is absolutely necessary in South America, not only for university, even if you plan to travel alone, you should be able to communicate easily. Of course, it is also an advantage for security reasons if you can speak the language. So if the Spanish is a bit rusty, a language course before you travel is definitely a good idea
I fell in love with the city of Lima and especially the country of Peru. Lima is a crazy city, you love it or you hate it. It’s mostly gray, in winter you can’t see the sun for months, the traffic and chaos can drive you crazy. If you don’t like big cities, you won’t be happy in Lima. Despite everything, the city has its charm. The people are unique and each part of the city has its own advantages. The 10 million metropolis is very diverse and has more to offer than just being the starting point for a trip to Peru. However, one should not expect that Lima will always have good weather. Due to the “garúa”, a dense coastal fog, the sun hardly ever comes through from June to November and the weather is really very dreary.
In Lima, however, there is generally always a lot going on. The city offers countless concerts (including well-known artists), bars, discos, museums, monuments and a beautiful city center. Although the prices are rising sharply, they are still very cheap. This also applies to rents. Despite the great distance to the university and probably the highest rents in Lima, I lived near the Miraflores district. Miraflores is very safe and European. Here you meet many foreigners and have a lot of leisure activities: surfing, climbing, partying and numerous shopping opportunities. The “circuito de playas” consists of countless parks directly on the cliffs of Lima and you can go jogging or walking there.
The flight to Lima takes over 15 hours. Unfortunately there is no direct flight, so you always have to stop in Amsterdam, Madrid or the USA. The flight costs vary between € 900-1200 depending on the booking period. I decided on the cheapest flight with Iberia from Frankfurt via Madrid to Lima. The stopover to Madrid was quite pleasant to stretch your legs and can only be recommended. Iberia is not the best airline and if the price difference is not too big, I would fly with a different airline next time.
- Learn more information about Peru and South America on computerdo.
Jorge Chavez International Airport is located in Callao Province, 40 minutes from central Lima. Great caution is required even there. As soon as you leave the airport building, countless taxi drivers rush towards you. Here you should inform yourself carefully about the prices beforehand, otherwise you will be mercilessly ripped off. It is also advisable to take a taxi within the airport; Although they are more expensive than taxis outside the airport, they are also considerably safer. You should make sure that the taxi driver has a photo ID with him.
In Lima you can either get around with the combis (buses) or with taxis. I almost exclusively drove a Combi. At first I was almost desperate because of the bus system without a system. There is no bus schedule with daily departure times like in Germany. Bus stops don’t work like in Germany either, you just stop the buses on the street when you need them. Without the help of some Peruvians, I would have been completely lost in Lima. After a while, however, you will know the important streets of Lima and recognize where they are going depending on the signs on the Combis. In this 10 million metropolis you just have to put up with the fact that you can’t just be everywhere. Spontaneously meeting someone who lives on the other end of town is simply not an option. With some safety precautions, you can drive alone through the safe parts of Lima without hesitation, even for very little money. The 45-minute drive to my university cost me the equivalent of 35 cents. In the evening you definitely have to order a safe taxi by phone. This is quite tedious at the beginning, but especially when you are traveling alone it is absolutely necessary.