It was clear to me that if I would do a semester abroad, it would be in South America. So the first thing I did was get some information from my university in Bochum. In the field of architecture it is rather unusual to do a semester abroad and unfortunately my university doesn’t have many partner universities outside of Europe either. So I couldn’t study in South America with the help of my university, so I was quickly referred to MicroEDU. After a few conversations with Tatjana, I decided on USIL in Lima, Peru. A decision that I would make again and again without thinking twice. The application and good advice from MicroEDU made a lot of things easier for me and every concern or unanswered question could be taken away or answered at any time.
After I got the approval from Lima, there were many things to organize. First of all, I had to take care of the financing and applied for a foreign student loan as well as a scholarship at my university (PROMOS). Since I would not study at a partner university of my university, I had to pay the tuition fees at USIL of $ 5,300 myself. I got the approval of the Auslandsbafög as well as the scholarship and nothing stood in the way of my semester abroad. The Auslandsbafög also paid almost all of the tuition fees.
As a European you do not need a visa. You can get the tourist visa directly at the airport in Lima and will be issued depending on the official’s wishes. So I got a visa for 90 days and after the 90 days I went to Ecuador for a week to visit a friend and at the same time get a new visa for Peru.
- Learn more information about Peru and South America on shoe-wiki.
I had to be in Lima on August 3rd, 2015 to enroll and pay the tuition fees. To see a little of Peru beforehand and to organize an apartment, I flew on July 24th. from Frankfurt to Lima. I have already contacted a student residence on Facebook and then personally formed an opinion again on site. For the next 5 months I lived in “La Jato” in San Isidro. A very cool time that I wouldn’t want to miss. I shared a room with my boyfriend and we paid $ 540 for the ensuite room. In total, I spend around € 600-700 per month (including rent, travel, food, etc.).
In the student house we lived with 16 other international students, most of them fortunately came from Spain and so “at home” only Spanish was spoken. We were like a big family, traveled together, cooked a lot, partied and surfed together. With 16 roommates there is always someone in the house and you can be sure that you will never be alone when you come home from university. You can always find someone to go to town or to the cinema with.
The house was right on Avenida Arequipa in San Isidro (one of the safest neighborhoods in Lima) and was perfect for me, because it wasn’t far to USIL, Miraflores or Barranco (nightlife districts, trendy districts). The bus to USIL (La Molina) took about 30-40 minutes and the bus stop was only a 5-minute walk from me. Since I studied architecture there, I often had to take a taxi to get my models to the university, which also only cost me about 4 €. You could even walk to Miraflores from San Isidro and on Sundays Avenida Arequipa is always closed in the mornings so that you can jog, ride a bike or do inline skating. It’s not far for surfing either.
My studies began and beforehand I had to take a Spanish test at Usil because I wanted to take my courses in Spanish. My Ambassador Christian was really very helpful and I could easily change my schedule several times until I liked it. As I came to Lima as a free mover as I said, I realized relatively quickly that I would have problems with the crediting of the courses at my university in Germany and decided right from the start to see the semester more as an enrichment for myself and as a life experience. As a free mover, every course was available to me and therefore I could also choose courses that did not belong to the field of architecture, such as photography.
During your studies you had time on weekends to travel around Peru and see a little more of Lima. Real traveling only started after graduation. From Peru we traveled to Bolivia, northern Chile, northern Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil, where we spent Carnival in Rio. And after a total of 7.5 months I flew from Rio on February 16. back to Germany.
I’ve learned a lot over the past year. Not only at university, but also from my flatmates, from people you met while traveling, from beautiful landscapes, from life. A very different life than you find in Europe.
If someone asked me what I would have done differently, I would unfortunately not be able to give an answer. Have fun in the land of hidden treasures.