Excellent experience and caring support staff December 06, 2018

By (Transylvania University) - abroad from 01/09/2011 to 05/08/2011 with

IPSL: Peru - Environmental Justice, Indigenous Health and Human Rights

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I certainly gained a deeper appreciation for other cultures and understanding of cultural relativism. My Spanish improved tremendously. It was absolutely worthwhile.

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.

For our group, classes were all day (9:00-7:00) Monday & Tuesday, which was not bad at all. Then, we had a class or two on Wednesday and Thursday. We only had to purchase one textbook; it was for Spanish class and was 30 soles. The rest of our classes were based on lectures. Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola is a very small beautiful building (Spanish with Incan foundations) right in the center of the city. The classes there are all in English, so don't freak out if your Spanish isn't excelente. You are required to take a Spanish class, and there are 3 separate ones for different abilities. My Spanish was dreadful when I got there, but the basics (3 years in high school & 1 semester in college) got me by, and I improved tremendously! I took History of Incan Civilization, Contemporary Culture & Society of Peru, Inca Architecture, Institutions in Peruvian Society, Photography, and Spanish. You don't have to take that many-it all depends on what your university requires of course, but they are fairly easy and pretty fun. In Architecture and Photography, you take field trips! Your professors want you to experience the culture more than anything.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very attentive and caring!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Host family is the way to go! My family was very kind, made delicious meals, and ensured I had everything I needed.

* Food:

Peruvian food is delicious! Meals mostly consist of meat, rice, potatoes, and veggies. In the rare case that you don't love something your host family prepares for you, you can go to the grocery store or market and pick some things up for yourself. (They have Oreos!) There are a lot of great restaurants with a variety of foods like Mexican, Italian, and seafood. There are British and Irish pubs in the main square. Lunch is the big meal in most of South America, and dinner will be light.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Living with a host family will integrate you with the language and culture more than anything else. Classes are only students from the study abroad program, so you will need to make an effort to engage with local folks.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Administrators ensured any student who got sick was well taken care of. They provided transportation, interpretation, and support at the hospital or clinic.

* Safety:

There were only a few times when I felt uncomfortable, like with anywhere in the world. Cusco is safe overall.

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

Choosing to study abroad in Cusco, Peru with IPSL was the best decision I have ever made. Study abroad itself is such a transformational incredible experience. Cusco is really the perfect place to go. It's not overwhelming, but there is still so much to see and do. I really loved being surrounded by so much history. IPSL really made the experience worthwhile. Their small staff is so caring and well-versed in the many programs they offer.

Finances

* 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)

Very easy. Everything is included in initial program cost.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You can use any ATM there just like you do here. They are sprinkled throughout the city and in grocery stores. There is a fee of 10 soles (~$3). To avoid this, I would withdraw 300 soles at a time. I never had any issues. Most places in Cusco only take cash, so you might not even want to carry your debit/credit card (which should be MasterCard or Visa). I brought $100 in cash and $300 on my debit card originally. And then you'll need extra for excursions, like going to the Amazon (~$300) and Incan sites (~20 soles each)!

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Beginner
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? 3 years in HS, 2 classes in college
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Use it every chance you get! You are going to make mistakes, but that's how you learn. Be confident!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Service-learning component
  • Host family option
  • Opportunity to explore on my own
* What could be improved?
  • Academic rigor
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The return - re-entry culture shock. I also wish I had researched the government and political landscape more thoroughly.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.