Lima: Not always easy but definitely worth it Past Review

By (Physics/Spanish, University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse) for

CIEE: Lima - Liberal Arts

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes, it was definitely worthwhile! I would go back for another semester if I could(or the rest of my life). I learned a lot about interacting with and living in another culture, and it has broadened my understanding of people, cultural differences and the world. It was not always easy, and I did have tough days, but it was an amazing experience. I know I have grown personally from it- language skills, awareness of self and others, patience, learning to let things that aren't important go, being teachable, listening, more self-confidence... I'm sure there are more. I strongly desire to live abroad again (preferrably in Peru).

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Teaching methods in my classes favored lecture, with some class discussion. The workload was not too bad, though it was a little heavier in my literature class (lots of reading). The courses within the program were not overly demanding, which I liked to offset my direct enrollment courses. The grading system takes a little getting used to- they use 0 to 20, which may not translate directly into what we'd think of as certain grades in the American system.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The program directors in the host country were incredibly helpful. They had program office hours at the university during the week if you needed anything- advice, explanations, answers to questions, help with academic stuff, someone to talk to, etc. They were also accessible outside that time by email or home/cell phone. They are very accessible and supportive, and know a lot that can help students and are willing to go out of their way to do it. Both are familiar with the host country and American education, culture, etc. Our program was smaller, which I liked- easier to get to know the staff and other students.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The program does their best to match you up with a host family that fits with your personality and preferences. My host family was a great fit for me. My neighborhood was very safe, and was close to some things and not terribly far by car/bus/taxi from many other places. I didn't need to buy anything- my host family provided the necessary items. I was definitely treated as part of the family- my host mom told me it was my home too and sometimes introduced me as her daughter.

* Food:

Quantity of food is large- my host mom was always trying to feed me, and feed me a lot (especially lunch). It was good, home-cooked food. Exactly how meals work does depend a little on household though. I know she had a former student who was completely vegetarian, and I know she accomodated that. Advice on where to dine: check out local cafes/restaurants in your area.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I really enjoyed the program trips to Lunahuaná and to Cusco and Machu Picchu. Other events include watching traditional dances, museums, swimming with sea lions, learning to cook Peruvian dishes, and drumming and dancing workshops.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I never had any safety incidents during my time abroad. There were times I felt uncomfortable, but it depends on where exactly you are (there are very non-touristy areas) and how much you stand out (I did a lot- very fair-skinned and blond). I usually felt safe. The program gave us lots of information and advice on safety and health. I really only got sick once (didn't need medical attention), and the program was very helpful and concerned in making sure I was all right. There are some recommended vaccines for Peru (like Yellow Fever); your local US doctor may recommend more. They recommend malaria vaccine for some areas (not Lima).

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I did need to use the host country languange (Spanish) in everyday interaction, though to what extent depends on how much you want to and try to. I could practice language with my host family, with Peruvian friends or students at the university, in class/with professors, and with other American students if we chose. And sometimes with random people on the street, depending on the situation.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Helpfulness of program staff and professors
  • Peru in general?
* What could be improved?
  • More info on the city and culture beforehand, though experiencing it is really the only way
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? GO!!! Peru might not be the place for every student, but if you're considering it, it means you will have an amazing experience. It may be less Westernized, but Lima is a modern large city and Peru had so much diversity, learning and experiences to offer. CIEE is very well-organized, personable, helpful, and they know what they're doing.