During my time in Peru, studying was of secondary importance and I had planned it that way beforehand. Those who want to advance their studies significantly with a semester at USIL will not have much success. This is not only due to the fact that in many ways the USIL has very little to do with a German university in terms of structure, level and content. A lot is also due to the fact that the courses that you select beforehand from Germany no longer exist or cannot be selected later when you arrive in Lima. When putting together my timetable, I made sure that I choose my 4 courses so that I had Monday and Friday off so that I could do as much as possible over the weekend.
Of these 4 courses, only one was somewhat challenging and interesting, with the other three I felt like I was back in high school. All of my courses were in English; I would highly recommend taking Spanish courses though! The support of the international students by the administration of the USIL is great! They go out of their way to help you with anything. These can also be problems that have nothing to do with the university.
Living in Lima
I lived with Gina in the center of Lima for the first two months. I got in touch with her through MicroEDU and I am very happy that I had previously made the decision to live with a Peruvian family for the first time. Gina is a very warm and open-minded woman who helped me with everything and, for example, when I had upset my stomach as usual at the beginning, she looked after me like her own daughter. In addition, I was forced to speak a lot of Spanish every day because she can’t speak a word of English and certainly not German. For everyone who wants to start their semester abroad slowly and with a bit of support, I can highly recommend living with her!
I then moved to San Borja at the beginning of October because the way to the university from Gina’s house was far too far for me. Then I lived alone in an apartment there. That was great! It was also very exciting to experience the stark differences between the residential areas in the various districts.
Lima is a city full of stark contrasts. There is simply everything and mostly everything in one place at the same time. Absolute poverty next to a gigantic shopping mall full of brands from all over the world; junk, rickety minibuses and fancy taxis; large markets with delicious food next to McDonalds, Starbucks and Co.
There are neighborhoods full of museums, art and cultural events and there are the typical areas with exclusive discos, small bars and posh restaurants. What you need in order to be able to feel comfortable in Lima is a certain basic calmness, because you can never completely rely on public transport, for example, and you mustn’t be very sensitive to noise and air pollution. As for safety, nothing really bad has ever happened to me, but I’ve had several situations that I’ll never forget because it was very close. Of course it is like everywhere else in the world: you have to try to stick to certain rules.
I am convinced that Lima, in all its crazy diversity, has something in store for everyone. It’s a great city!
Travel through Peru
Peru is just wonderful. Not only did I take smaller trips to the surrounding area of Lima at the weekend, I also took full advantage of the 30 percent absence that USIL is entitled to to see as much of this beautiful country as possible. Cusco, Macchu Picchu are of course the classics. For me, however, the highlight was clearly the jungle.
You can also surf, trek and admire breathtaking mountain landscapes in the heights.
- Learn more information about Peru and South America on sunglasseswill.
The infrastructure is not always 100% reliable, but it is very cheap and I got from A to B without any problems. If you don’t feel like sitting on the bus for 10 to 15 hours, you can almost always fly. Overall, life in the provinces is even cheaper than in Lima, so that as a tourist you don’t have to worry about money.
I am so happy that I spent my semester abroad in Peru. Even if USIL is not the greatest university, I have managed to organize my time here the way I wanted. In fact, I fell so much in love with this country that in December I rebooked my return flight and extended my time by 3 months. I just can’t get enough of the delicious food here and the fascinating places to see. So if you come here as an adventurer, you are in really good hands. Those who do a semester abroad for academic reasons should not study at USIL. Peru is highly recommended in any case!