Peru was the best decision of my life!
Thanks to MicroEDU, I became aware of the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola: one of the three most expensive but also the best universities in Lima. It is characterized by the fact that it places a high emphasis on internationality. Around 100 students from other countries find their way here to the prosperous south of the Peruvian capital each semester. As a result, the range of courses in English is unusually well developed and offers interesting opportunities for every degree program. Economically oriented sciences in particular benefit from what USIL has to offer.
Choice of university
Above all, I was looking for a university that would give me the opportunity to attend English lectures with a psychological content. The reason why I decided to go abroad, however, was not just because of the university. I wanted to learn one of the world’s languages in a completely new culture. Within South America, I chose Peru because I found this huge country to be the most interesting culturally. Even those who like to travel and prefer the impressive nature instead of / alongside their studies would like to experience this continent, is right in Peru: of 32 climatic zones that exist in the world, there are already 28 in Peru. After I was sure about the target country, the university and my preferred course choice, the exchange via MicroEDU was thankfully quick.
I started my semester abroad in March 2018. At the beginning of the year I posted in a Facebook group that I was looking for a host family. A former “international student” contacted USIL and recommended his family to me. It couldn’t have happened better to me. My host brother spoke quite good English and his mother, who looked after the house and the two dogs, only Spanish – the perfect basis for perfecting both languages. We lived in the district where campuses 1 and 2 are also located. La Molina is in the south and is considered to be quite wealthy. As a result, the environment is very quiet, clean and luckily harmless.
The downside is that downtown is about an hour’s drive away towards the beach. Uber taxis are the most popular form of transport for foreigners, but at up to € 12 they are also the most expensive. An alternative are minibuses (around € 0.50) or a combination of normal city buses (around € 1) and the metro (€ 0.75), which charge a flat rate per trip. In this example, it can be clearly stated that the speed increases with the fare. Whether you prefer to live in the center, such as Miraflores, or near the university, should depend on your own priorities.
For me it was more advisable to take the long journeys to special events or meetings in the city center and to have a short walk to the university campus instead of living where there is always something going on, but also to the absolute rush hours sweating in the stuffy buses on the way to courses. I have never regretted my choice. With my host family, it was often a good idea to use my host brother’s car together to do something together. Later a French girl joined our family, who attended a few courses with me.
By the middle of the month, however, I had still not received any information from USIL. I later found out that my name had ended up on the wrong student list: the local student list, so there was no need to find out about the formal procedures. It seems to happen more often, but that doesn’t make it any less annoying as it left me with only the last day to choose my courses. So it came about that many events were already full and some others overlapped. Unfortunately, there was also no option to get more details about the respective seminars for better selection. This mishap did not seem important to the contacts at USIL. Although they apologized, I had no choice but to accept the circumstances.
I have chosen: International Human Resources, International Communication, Psychological Communication, Marketing, Ethics. It should be emphasized that the study system in South America is very schooled. The courses work like school classes with a maximum of 30 students in frontal lessons, whereby the teacher more or less meticulously ensures that the cell phone ban is observed. This is because, as in German schools, the teacher actually works out the content with the students (always with a Powerpoint presentation) and asks small tasks or questions. Although participation in the classroom plays a major role, it is not given any weighting in the grading. The presence is more relevant if you have not taken any online or blended learning courses – because anyone who is not present more than 30% of the time will be thrown out of the course.
Special features of studying at USIL
If you also value your grades, you should consider that some lecturers hold weekly tests, have essays written on a regular basis, some of which are only based on the content of presentations, and there are many group work that require presentations. At the beginning I was still surprised that it is very unusual to meet somewhere for such teamwork. Whatsapp groups are usually formed and then everyone works off their own tasks. Ideally. The reality looks ugly when you realize that the local students are not very motivated and prefer to let themselves be carried away. I didn’t want to get into my head why this is so, since the expensive visit to a university is a special privilege.
My Peruvian friends were able to open my eyes: While certificates and a stamp on paper are what count in Germany, the working world down there values more practical experience. This also includes the bachelor’s degree itself. It is only important that the young workers use the abbreviation B.Sc. have on their résumé, but the grades are relatively unimportant. After that, I was no longer surprised that the focus of my fellow students was only on not falling below the magical limit of attendance. That can be frustrating…
At the beginning of the semester you also have to register for the cultural and sporting program. Music groups such as traditional music-making or singing in a choir, various sports such as salsa, football, karate or swimming and other creative activities are offered.
As a special plus I experienced the university library as well as the unbeatably cheap possibility of having everything your heart desires bound as a copy.
Far from the USIL, Lima generally offers a lot of variety. My favorite place within the diverse capital is Barranco, which is known beyond national borders as a colorful, alternative artists’ quarter.
- Learn more information about Peru and South America on a2zcamerablog.
Anyway, I saw Lima and all of Peru as an incredible experience. Many professors are very sympathetic to the travel requests of foreign students, even during the semester. Nevertheless, I strongly recommend adding a few weeks’ stay to the official semester in order to explore Peru’s particularities. I’ve been in the jungle around Tarapoto, climbed the mountains around Lima ; I traveled to Paracas and Ica and did the compulsory program consisting of Cusco, including Machu Picchu, Arequipa and Puno on Lake Titicaca.
But Peru offers a lot more. I fell in love with the country and its people and I know that it will not be my last time. Since I’ve never been to South America before, I wanted to take the chance and visit other countries. I spent over a month in Bolivia and Brazil, which sharpened my view of this beautiful continent as well as my understanding of its inhabitants and their peculiarities.