I’m Katharina, 26 years old and I spent my 4th master’s semester at the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola (USIL) in Lima. First of all, the organization – with MicroEDU it worked really easily and well. I started thinking about my semester abroad in April and arrived in Lima in August. MicroEDU gave me really good advice on all possible destinations and in the end I chose Lima. Even though many things in Lima annoyed me, I have never regretted my decision.
At USIL it is possible to register online for courses in advance which I unfortunately missed, but it was also possible on site without any problems. There is an extremely large selection of courses, but unfortunately there are courses from 7 a.m. and the last one ends at 11 p.m., so it was really difficult to find a solution in which you don’t have to go to university every day and not for a long time in between is free. The best solution for me was not really optimal. I had to go to university four times a week, on two days for one subject, on one day I had four hours off between two subjects and on one day I had six hours off. I also had lectures at 7 a.m. twice a week. In addition, it was possible to take courses online, which I did in one case due to the very difficult time schedule.
My subjects were Project Management, Global Marketing, Global Economy and Economic Policy. I was very satisfied with the content and structure of the first two subjects and the professors were also very nice and spoke good English. Global Economy was online and I felt very badly looked after by the professor. He didn’t upload any presentations, only books, and overall there was very little communication. In Economic Policy, the professor spoke really bad English and his presentations were all in Spanish, so I wasn’t really happy with the subject.
The structure of the lessons is very different from that in Germany. In Global Marketing and Global Economy I had three tests each, a project and a midterm and a final exam. In Global Marketing and Project Management, I also had three tests and a large final project. That being said, you often had to upload homework. In the beginning this really scared me off, but in the end it was really very easy in terms of demands, so that I had a lot of free time and still converted an average of 2.0 in the end. My subjects were all entirely in English.
Regarding the campus, I have to say that I had hoped for a little more from a private university in the price range. The campus wasn’t particularly modern, the computers were really old and slow and the university didn’t offer anything else when it came to sports.
The financing worked very well for me. The BAföG abroad covered almost the entire tuition fees and the BAföG abroad together with the PROMOS scholarship from my university was more than enough for a living. Many things in Peru are much cheaper than in Germany. Especially restaurants, fruits and vegetables, buses, tours and accommodations.
To get to the topic of language, it is definitely possible to study at USIL without knowledge of Spanish. I speak Spanish well myself and was very happy in everyday life because very little or no English is spoken in Peru, depending on the region.
On the subject of visas, I can say from my experience that a tourist visa is sufficient. I traveled to Chile once in between and when I got back to Peru, I was able to stay in the country for 90 days without a visa, so that I could stay in Peru for more than four months without a visa without any problems.
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Looking for an apartment in Lima is certainly an interesting topic. I arrived in Lima about a week before the start of the semester and was looking for an apartment on site. It worked well for me, I quickly found something suitable near the Ovalo Higuereta in Surco and was also very satisfied. But it is also very possible to search in numerous Facebook groups in advance. About the neighborhoods: I lived about 4 kilometers from Miraflores, which was ideal for me. Although I lived closer to the university than the people from Miraflores, it often took me 1.5 hours on the bus to the university. After Miraflores it is 15-45 minutes longer, depending on the traffic. I can’t recommend living in La Molina to others, the people who lived in La Molina often didn’t do anything after university because of the distance to Miraflores.
For recreation, I can say that I really never boring was. Lima is a huge city and there is a lot to discover: For example Centro de Lima, Barranco, Miraflores, La Punta, Monumental Callao, Lomas de Paraiso and Lomas de Lucumo are very worth seeing and easy to see in one day. A big plus for me in Lima was that there were several Whatsapp groups for exchange students, such as Erasmus Peru or Exchange Lima, so it was really easy to get in touch and there were always many opportunities for things to do.
You can also see a lot of Peru in the four months. The night buses transport you comfortably from A to B to most places within one night. In this sense, I can really recommend taking the buses from Oltursa or Cruz del Sur in Javier Prado, as I am really uncomfortable at the other stops felt and they were very out of the way. Even if the bus tickets from Plaza Norte or La Victoria were cheaper, the taxi to the bus station was often twice as expensive, so it was usually not worth it. In terms of transportation within Lima, it has to be said that public transport is terribly chaotic, so I used Uber or Cabify a lot. Taxis are much cheaper than in Germany, but because this was my main form of transport, I ended up spending more on getting around than in Germany.
To be on the safe side in Lima, it must be said that you really have to be very careful. A lot is stolen. My handbag was stolen from me on the beach in Barranco and numerous others (Peruvians and exchange students) were also stolen. Ideally, I would advise always to leave a second credit card in a safe place in the apartment and not to take an extremely expensive cell phone with you and to always keep both in a bum pocket or an inside jacket pocket, especially in discos, many cell phones were stolen from shoulder bags. Otherwise, to be on the safe side, I’ve only ever used Cabify or Uber taxis, as taxis from the street are not recommended on all sides.
One of the things that bothered me the most about Lima was the weather. I was in Lima from the beginning of August to the beginning of December and in the beginning it was really cold, humid and always cloudy. This is why most of the apartments in Lima also have a lot of mold problems. In the following months it was less cold, but always damp and very often cloudy.
In summary, I can say that although a lot of things bothered me in Lima, I had a really good time and made a lot of great new friends and it was an experience that brought me a completely different culture.