The most important thing first of all: If you are considering doing a semester abroad (and possibly also far away): Do it! The semester in Peru was one of the best and definitely the most exciting half year of my life. And don’t let it fail because of financial worries. I z. B. financed my entire semester abroad from BAföG abroad and for this reason also chose USIL, as fees and flight were completely covered by BAföG. Otherwise, there is definitely a way to go if you want to go abroad.
MicroEDU was very helpful with the application process. Applying was very easy and, above all, you always had a reliable contact person.
Peru is a wonderful and very interesting country. Political views (and political education and interest) in particular diverge widely within the population and you can expect very interesting, but also sometimes very sad discussions due to the situation in the country. At the moment there are signs of a political turnaround and the opinions on this are very interesting.
I fell in love with Lima during six months. It just felt like home after a while. My roommates definitely contributed the most to this. I would recommend that you definitely move into a student house or a shared apartment, because you get to know people right away and get a bit of support. On recommendation, I looked for an Airbnb for the first week and then at the USIL’s barbeque I was told about free rooms in at least 5 shared apartments and was able to choose my roommates. So don’t worry about it at all! In a pinch there are always beds in hostels. If you want to look for something beforehand, I can offer you the APU Houses and the Student House Boluma. I lived in Santiago de Surco, which I liked very much; many of my friends were also very satisfied in Miraflores. This is where the whole student life takes place, which is why I would strongly recommend that you take the one and a half hour bus ride to USIL and have a short walk in the evening than the other way around.
Lima as a city is not a classic tourist destination and also not beautiful in the classic sense (lots of skyscrapers, traffic and smog), but if you know where, there are really nice corners. These include Barranco, the area around Parque Kennedy in Miraflores full of small shops and boutiques and, in summer, the Malecón(on top of the cliff by the sea). In addition, life as an exchange student in Lima is simply fun. We cooked at least twice a week in a student house we were friends with, had a drink (usually there was a spontaneous house party on the roof) and then went dancing. There are many ways to do this in Lima, but mainly if you are as enthusiastic about reggaetón as I am. After a while in Peru, you will be able to sing along to every reggaetón song even without great knowledge of Spanish. But there is also one or the other electro party. Definitely give Antigua and the Cazona a try !
- Learn more information about Peru and South America on smartercomputing.
At this point also about the less good points:
The traffic – I had to wean myself off my love of bicycles for half a year, because cycling, like many other things that is associated with driving yourself, is very dangerous. The traffic triples your times in every direction at rush hour, which cannot be avoided. There is only one metro line and the general rule in Lima is: You can get around by bus or (from 8 p.m.) taxi. Fortunately, the latter are significantly less expensive than in Europe and they can be shared.
The smog – Along with the traffic, it has to be said that the air in Lima is very bad. If you already have breathing problems anyway, I would recommend that you reconsider Lima.
Safety – The city is located in South America, so there are a few basic rules that should be followed. This includes not being out and about alone in the dark, depending on the district, in some of them not during the day either; Everywhere outside you bury your valuables deep in your rucksack and hold it tight; when you dance you either leave it at home or keep your bag in your hand; besides, you never take a taxi off the street on your own, but use Uber or Beat.
But you really shouldn’t worry too much about it – if you stick to it, nothing will happen to you. After a while and with the help of recommendations from Peruvians, you will know what you can do where and what not. Among all of the exchange students, nothing happened to anyone I know, so don’t worry. The only things were various cell phone and laptop thefts on the bus or in the club – do yourself a favor and take an old cell phone with you.
I can’t think of that much about the university – in my opinion that is really not the most important thing in a semester abroad. What was important to me is that the contact persons were friendly and helpful. The course selection etc. was very chaotic, but there is a very nice exchange coordinator who can solve almost everything in a short amount of time:) Imagine lessons less like university than school lessons – weekly examinations, oral participation, etc. The courses do not have a high level Level and learning effort (everything related to law courses) is low. You have to get used to the compulsory attendance, but you can also miss 1/3 of the time. I spent three days studying for all the exams and got good grades.
What I can strongly recommend to you: Choose a. a Spanish course, which is recommended and b. Spanish language courses ! I went to Peru with A2 level and in the first hour of my Spanish course I understood absolutely nothing, after a few weeks I understood everything and in the end I left the course very satisfied with the grade. It helps a lot with learning Spanish and there is a lot more choice.
The university has a buddy program called the USIL Ambassadors Club and my buddy was very nice and a great help to me in the first few days.
Actually, I only have one thing to say: being an exchange student in Peru is really great. I made some very good friends from Germany, Peru and France, learned Spanish and saw incredible places. As for that: Don’t book anything beforehand, maybe keep a little time free after the semester (yes, even over Christmas, that’s an interesting experience) and where you go at the end will be determined by itself as soon as you get to know people. My highlights were the Peruvian jungle, la Montaña de Siete Colores (Rainbow Mountain) and Colombia, but none of this would have been so nice if I hadn’t been there with my friends.
A few last tips: Dare to go alone (I didn’t know anyone before, but so many people feel that you make close friends very quickly); pack hiking boots and a thick jacket (in Lima it is winter in August and the windows are very thin); Do not worry so much about what you are packing, almost everything can be bought there; and prepare yourself for the fact that Peru will be different than you imagine, but that you will have a wonderful semester.