IPSL: Cusco - Study Abroad + Service Learning in Peru

2 recent reviews
  • Location(s): Cusco / Cuzco, Peru
  • Program Type(s): Study Abroad, Volunteer, Intensive Language, Gap Year, Research

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High in the Andes, Cusco is the ideal location for anyone interested in the geology, geography, history, cultures, languages and foods of South America. Living in the Andean highlands, you can explore the Amazon cloud forest and basin, the Pacif... read more

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Based on 2 Reviews
Cost of Living
Overall Experience
May 18, 2016 A Different World
Worth it for sure. I learned a lot about how to live in a different culture and just how much culture infiltrates out everyday personalities and we don't even know it. - SUNY - College at New Paltz View Entire Review
I learned how to live in a new culture, I became much more patient after volunteering at a clinic here in Cusco, and I gained many new skills and experiences. - Drake University View Entire Review
My Spanish abilities greatly improved, I now have a much better understanding of Peruvian and Latin American history and culture, I made wonderful friends, saw amazing historical and cultural sites, and grew in my understanding of service. - Seton Hall University View Entire Review


High in the Andes, Cusco is the ideal location for anyone interested in the geology, geography, history, cultures, languages
and foods of South America. Living in the Andean highlands, you can explore the Amazon cloud forest and basin, the
Pacific coast and the vibrant political and culinary capital of Lima. Cusco is the gateway to Machu Picchu and one of the most breathtaking places on earth. The city of Cusco was declared a Cultural Heritage of Humanity site by UNESCO in 1983 and boasts charming cobblestone streets, stone buildings made by the Incas and exciting nightlife and cafes. In short, it is a perfect blend of the old and the new.

While in Peru, you will study Spanish language and culture, have an opportunity to study the indigenous language of the Incas (Quechua) and a variety of other courses such as the history and architecture of the Incan civilization, the biodiversity of Peru, business and literature of Latin America, photography, art and design. Your IPSL program is both academic and service-learning oriented, and blends hands-on experience with rigorous and exciting coursework.

This unique IPSL program has been developed to build an on-going commitment to the Cusco community through a variety of service-learning™ placements in partnership with local NGOs.  The abroad institution you will be studying at is the Universidad Andina del Cusco.  
The semester curriculum, which happens on the campus of the Universidad Andina del Cusco, combines a Spanish Language & Culture course, COSA in Peru and a Reflections and Practicum course with courses relevant and current to issues that Peru and its people are grappling with.  All courses are taught in English.  
There are required courses and a choice selection and students can take up to 18 semester credits. All courses are taught at the 300 level or above (except for beginning Swahili which is at a 100 level) and they are 45 contact hours and 3 semester credits each.  An official transcript is issued by the IPSL School of Record upon successful completion of the program.

Service Opportunities Include: 
• promoting entrepreneurship - business sustainability for women and youth

• teaching English

• child development and education - teaching English in a rural school

• health care - working with children/young adults with disabilities at San Juan de Dios hospital

• social work and rehabilitation - working at residential home for abandoned children with Downs Syndrome

• promoting intercultural work - assisting at a short term residential facility for low income rural people relocating to the city

• working on environmental projects with Indigenous peoples

Students will live in a homestay with a middle-class Peruvian  family who provide full board (breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days per week) and introduce you to Peruvian family life. An integral part of the program, the homestay offers you the opportunity to make life-long friends, reinforce language skills, and experience the culture from "the inside." All IPSL host families are carefully selected and experienced with hosting students.  Living with local residents is part of the immersion experience. Instead of being a tourist, an IPSL student gets to know what it's like to be a "Cusqueño." Living with a family also means that IPSL students' Spanish proficiency improves dramatically.

Excursions may include a city tour, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and Machu Picchu. Students arrive in Lima and spend several days visiting this important Latin American capital" the "City of Kings". 
Visits to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail, Incan ruins,
remote villages, Lima, Lake Titicaca and the Amazon region are all possible while studying and volunteering in Cusco.

Program Type(s):
Study Abroad
Intensive Language
Gap Year
Program Length(s):
  • Fall
  • Summer
  • Spring
  • Academic Year
  • Short Term
Instruction Language(s):
  • Spanish
  • English
Language Requirement(s):
  • Spanish
  • English
Relevant Study Subject(s):
  • Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Science
  • Architecture
  • Latin American Studies
  • Spanish Language, Literature
  • Hispanic and Latin American Languages, Literature
  • Foods and Nutrition
  • Literature
  • Liberal Arts, General Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • Psychology
  • Community Organization and Advocacy
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • Crafts, Craft Design
  • Fine Arts, Studio Arts
  • Business
  • History
Minimum GPA:
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IPSL Scholarships

FISL offers $500 scholarships to aid students who are enrolled in programs operated by IPSL. Students do not need to apply for this scholarship, all IPSL undergraduate students are considered. Recipients are selected based on their academic and professional goals and accomplishments, as well as financial need.


Contact IPSL for more information.

Must apply and be accepted to an IPSL program.


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