When the decision was made to go to Peru, I received an email from MicroEDU with the necessary application documents. The application consists of a few forms in which you can also name course requests, etc., a number of necessary documents such as the certificate of study and the transcript of records and a letter of motivation. When I had finished processing all the documents, my consultant at MicroEDU checked the documents again for accuracy and then sent them to Peru. About 3 months later I received USIL’s approval and was able to start the concrete planning from the beginning of April.
It is extremely important to apply for BAföG as soon as possible if this is needed. I applied for the USIL before I was confirmed, so that the BAföG application could then be processed in accordance with August (the processing time usually takes about 6 months). In addition, I applied for the Promos Scholarship and was lucky enough to get it.
As I learned from USIL, the semester began on August 14th. and ended on December 14th. I decided to fly to Peru a week before the start of the semester and be back in Germany for Christmas. As soon as the financing and the flight were arranged, there wasn’t really much to do other than pass the last exams in Germany and pack your suitcase.
Formalities / arrival
Fortunately, I had decided to do it on 08.08. to fly to Peru, as our introductory week already began here. To find out about such things, however, you have to look at the USIL homepage and not rely on receiving an email with more information. The USIL then assigns you an ambassador, these are so-called buddies, who are supposed to help you with everything. My buddy then showed me everything I needed to know (which room is where, how the USIL system works, where it is best to eat cheaply, etc.). In addition, you will be assigned a person from the International Office who is then responsible for course choices and any questions that arise about the university.
Unfortunately, my advisor often forgot to forward official e-mails etc. to me, which is why I was often on my own and had to rely on my fellow students to forward everything to me, but most of the other advisors were very reliable and really suited me to the side with everything. On the first day there was a cooking and a salsa course and on the second day there was a welcome ceremony in which you got to know the entire school management, the international office and all the other exchange students. On the same day, USIL also offered a city tour through Lima, which you could take part in for free and make great contacts there.
I tried everything in advance to find accommodation before I got to Lima. For this purpose, Facebook groups like “Looking for Roommates in Lima” were recommended to me, in which a lot is offered. USIL also sends out a housing list to all students with recommendations as to which apartments can be rented. Since USIL is located in the La Molina district, but all leisure life takes place in districts such as Miraflores or Barranco, it was extremely difficult for me to decide where to move. The districts are about 12 kilometers apart. The traffic in Lima is unfortunately more than chaotic and the journey can take up to an hour and a half. So I rented an airbnb in Miraflores for the first six days and, with good luck, went to Lima without an apartment.
In retrospect, I would recommend everyone to do the same. However, I would recommend everyone on site to always go out with a Peruvian, since as a gringo you usually pay around 100 dollars on top. After about a week I found an apartment together with two fellow students (rental price: 350USD). In Peru it is usually necessary to leave a deposit. We paid two months’ rent, which we got back without any problems when we left. So we lived in an apartment in the Miraflores district, a five-minute walk from the beach and about 45 minutes by car to the university.
I have n’t regretted choosing Miraflores for a minute, not even when I was stuck in traffic for an hour and a half. How so? Because in Miraflores there is not only the beach, but also a number of museums, clubs, restaurants etc. and there is simply nothing in La Molina except the university, where you don’t spend too much time anyway, especially towards the end.
Course offer and level
The courses are divided into Spanish-speaking and English-speaking and in both cases there is a huge choice. Personally, I specialize in marketing. Since it was too risky for me to choose Spanish courses, I took all of my courses in English. In Lima, I put together a schedule together with my advisor, in which I sat at the university all day Monday to Wednesday, but always had a long weekend from Thursdayhad what can be used for travel. You can still make changes to your schedule within the first two weeks without any problems. However, you should make sure that only about 40-50 students fit into a course and once the course is full, there is no way to get into it. So I would recommend going to the International Office as early as possible and having a good timetable drawn up.
You have to imagine studying in Peru as going back to school. There are tests (every 4 weeks anyway and some professors are crazy enough to schedule one every week), 2 exams per semester (midterms and finals) and also oral participation as well as homework and group work count towards the grade. At first it is extremely unfamiliar and annoying, but over time you get used to it and it is actually a very good distraction from the German study system. The course level is not particularly high, so it is relatively easy to get good grades in the exams.
Cost of living
You can live very cheaply in Peru, as eating out is cheap, for example (lunch menus cost around € 2.50 in the restaurant) and taxi rides cost almost nothing (for our daily drive to the university, which could take an hour and a half four of us paid € 5, ie € 1.25 per person). Of course, there are also very European or American restaurants where you sometimes pay around 10 € for a meal. What you ultimately spend in Peru per month depends entirely on where you go to eat, whether you choose the bus (30 cents per trip) or the taxi and how often you go out in the evening, go to the cinema or visit museums.
- Learn more information about Peru and South America on rctoysadvice.
I can only say it again and again: Sure, going to USIL in Peru is definitely NOT the easiest way to go. There is a lot to organize, it is not always that easy financially (for me it was only possible through BAföG and promos) and in Peru itself you get a huge culture shock one or the other. But it’s definitely worth it and I would recommend everyone to go to Peru for a semester. Peru is really one of the most beautiful countries that I have been able to travel to so far. There is so much to see, so much to do and so many nice people to meet. I can only recommend doing it like me and taking whatever you can with you. A weekend in the jungle in the Amazon, six-hour hikes, lagoons at 4800m, beautiful beaches or one of the seven wonders of the world – Peru really has everything to offer and is perfect for a semester abroad.