Cuzco, Peru- incredible cultural, social, and life changing experience Past Review

By (Elementary Education, Grove City College) for

ISA Study Abroad in Lima, Peru

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Yes it was very worthwhile. I learned how to interact with all sorts of different people. I also learned to be an outsider and to make my place in a completely new culture and society. After my experience, I am much more appreciative and aware of other cultures. I would love to continue travelling and experiencing such thrilling experiences.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I did not take classes, but I found that volunteering helped my Spanish language improve more than anything else. ISA also offered several hours of tutoring which were very helpful.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There was a main ISA office that I could use to help finding my way around the city, getting to my placement, and with any other questions I had. The onsite director was very kind and willing to help when I had questions. I was not very happy with how they set up my volunteer placement. I didn't find out till the day of where I was actually going, and did not have very much help once I was there. Since ISA had problems with this placement and I wasn't completely happy there, they were extremely helpful finding a new placement. The volunteer hours were minimal, but it was an excellent placement. One weakness of the program is that there was not much interaction with Peruvian locals, and therefore not a lot of opportunities to practice Spanish outside of my volunteer work.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was very happy with my host family. They provided me and my American roommate each with our own bedroom, sheets, cleaning, laundry etc. They made all of our meals for us and took care of everything we needed. They were very friendly and accepted us as part of the family during our stay. We each had a key to the house to come and go as we pleased while we felt respected and cared for by keeping our host parents knowing where and when we left.

* Food:

The food was very good. I had problems with meat being left out for too long (hours at a time) I never got sick from it, but I was scared to eat it if it had been sitting out for over 3 hours. Otherwise food was very good.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We went to Macchu Pichu, El Valle Sagrado, and Lake Titicaca. These were all done with the group of American students on a big tour bus with a tour guide speaking English. There was also one night of salsa dancing with the locals. I wish there had been more interaction with the locals.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I felt very safe in the city. I was healthy for my whole stay. I was very careful where I kept my valuables and money when I traveled, but never had a problem. I was in a small accident when a car ran into the side of the bus and the glass shattered- no one was hurt thankfully! Transportation was wild and crazy, but I never felt my life was threatened.

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)


If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

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?
  • I loved my placement at the orphanage and school.
  • The Spanish tutoring was very helpful.
  • Cuzco is an excellent city and ISA did an excellent job setting me up with a good host family
* What could be improved?
  • More details to students ahead of time about what the volunteer work will be.
  • More interaction with Peruvian locals.
  • Longer volunteer hours.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You have to be flexible and willing to jump into any sort of situation. Life in Peru is brilliant, exciting, and an adventure all the time. Embrace the adventure and put yourself out there to try and experience as many new things as possible. It is incredible! To volunteer with ELAP, you have to be persistent, hardworking, and flexible.