Before the semester
At my university in Germany, the fifth semester is planned as a semester abroad. I always wanted to do one and now the only question that had to be answered was whether I would like to travel to an English or Spanish speaking country. I decided to study Spanish, but I also wanted to get out of Europe to get to know something else. So the destination with South America was quickly clear. Since my university only has a few places at partner universities in South America and this is decided by lottery, I have decided to take my luck into my own hands. I came across MicroEDU through a tip from a friend and I found the perfect support in it.
After I had decided on Peru and Lima, it was time to write applications. MicroEDU guided you very well and was always available to answer open questions. Thanks to the application guide, the documents were put together in a fixed manner and everything was very straightforward.
It was clear to me in advance that South America would be a more expensive affair and the tuition fees alone already amount to over $ 5,000. Traveling is cheaper in South America and the general cost of living, but depending on how much you want to travel and where and with what, you can quickly spend 10,000 € for the entire semester with tuition fees.
Peru does not have special visa requirements for Germans (European citizens) as long as you only have one semester (less than half a year). When entering the country, you tell the immigration officer that you are planning to stay in Peru for six months and if he has a good day he will give you a 183-day tourist visa. Unfortunately it didn’t work for me and it didn’t work for a few friends either and we were given the typical 90 days. I then took the chance and traveled to Bolivia after the midterms and entered Peru again after 5 days. You only have to stay outside of Peru for more than 24 hours and then get a new tourist visa. For every day that you stay in Peru longer than your tourist visa, you have to pay $ 1, which is also completely uncomplicated at the counter of the immigration authorities.
I spoke to my doctor beforehand and he recommended that I get vaccinated against hepatitis A, rabies, yellow fever and typhoid. Just talk to your family doctor in good time about what he would recommend, because the whole thing can take a long time, because you sometimes have to keep certain time intervals between the vaccinations.
Semester abroad at the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola
The USIL is one of the many private universities in Lima, and especially known for its good gastronomy -Education. I would say that they are very organized by South American standards and that I personally never had any problems with anything. Friends of mine always complained about the structures, but I never found them bad, for example. The staff at the Internacional Office are very lovable and helpful and try to find a solution for everything. My roommate had big problems with her schedule and her supervisor tried to fix it with her for days. In addition, in the first week before the lectures start, they offer Get-to-know events such as a city tour, salsa course, Spanish conversation or other sporting events. In addition, everyone is assigned a Peruvian who will contact you in the run-up to the semester and help you, especially at the beginning, to find your way around and make connections.
The equipment at the university is quite modern with smartboards and a lot of what you are used to from Germany. Surprisingly, they took the attendance check very seriously and you were only allowed a certain percentage of absenteeism in order to take the exams. In general, the entire system is more school-based and different than everyday German university life. You can find that almost everywhere in South America.
- Learn more information about Peru and South America on campingship.
You will be asked in advance to indicate your top 10 courses and based on these a timetable will be created. Unfortunately, it is nowhere to be seen in advance on which day and at what time the course will take place. I was in Lima a good week before the start of the semester and went to the Internacional Office before the start of the semester and created my timetable together with an employee and was able to see exactly when which course was and thus put together the best possible timetable for me. USIL has a wide variety of courses and I once used it to attend courses that have less to do with my major from Germany. The level of the courses is very different. For some courses I hardly had to do anything and for others I had to do more. Unfortunately, you cannot make a general statement.
Traffic in Lima
The famous traffic in Lima. I was told beforehand that it was crazy and chaotic. And people didn’t exaggerate. There are really no correct timetables and travel times. Every Combi has its own route, but you have to find it out first. They are in the process of establishing the blue buses more, which will then have real stops. At the moment the streets are still dominated by the Combis and the “Coprador” who screams out the Combi’s goals. It took me a couple of weeks to get used to it, but overall it works pretty well when you start to orientate yourself in the huge city and know which streets are where. It’s best to ask when you get in: “Se va a…”It can happen that he says yes and then drives somewhere else, but that didn’t happen to me often. Understanding the traffic is part of the adventure. Depending on where you live, you should definitely try the Metropolitano, which is a somewhat more expensive, but significantly faster alternative for some routes, especially during rush hour when everything is halfway. Taxis are very cheap in Lima and in South America in general. You have to negotiate the price with the taxista in advance and should therefore know roughly how expensive the route normally is, because otherwise they will ask more from the gringos. While negotiating the price, take a good look at the taxi driver and use your knowledge of human nature if you take one off the street. If that seems strange to you, you just take the next one. There is no shortage of taxis in Lima. If you want to be on the safe side, you can use apps like Easytaxi and call a taxi seguro.