Peru: Expect the Unexpected! Past Review

By (Spanish/Latin American Studies, Human Rights, Barnard College) - abroad from 03/12/2012 to 07/12/2012 with

Pontifical Catholic University of Peru / PUCP: Lima - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was ABSOLUTELY worthwhile! Any time spent traveling is time spent learning. I think that I learned more just from spending time in another place, and then what I learned at school just added to that. It is as much about living the experience with an open mind and wanting to learn as it is about strictly the academics.

Personal Information

If you took classes at multiple universities, list those universities here: Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru only
How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Direct enrollment at PUCP would definitely be tough without fluency in Spanish, since all classes are in Spanish and they are with Peruvian students. Language aside, the program had high academic rigor and lots of available resources.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

very organized, and communicate via social media!

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

We had to find individual housing separate of the university, although they provide a list; I ended up having a not so great landlord and somewhat of a bad house (old and falling apart), but the housing was not affiliated with PUCP.

* Food:

amazing food in Peru, and I did all my own cooking (living separate from university housing)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

VERY integrated - all Spanish, living with Peruvans among others, etc.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

n/a - didn't come up

* Safety:

Lima is not the safest city, and although my university was very safe, you have to be careful with public transportation in general and overall safety in the city when you are out and about.

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)

* Was housing included in your program cost? No
* Was food included in your program cost? No
Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? cook for yourself!!


* 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? Fluent
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? highest level Spanish seminars offered
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? The best way to get better at languages is to speak them - don't be afraid of sounding like an idiot, it's better to try, and people are usually pretty helpful and encouraging. That's the best way to improve!

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • International Students
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • 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?
  • being immersed with local students
  • having such a wide variety of classes to choose from
  • attending one university semester in a completely different language
* What could be improved?
  • coordination between the international students at PUCP (all directly enrolled)
  • housing recommendations
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known how crucial it is to go into a new university setting with an open mind. Universities in Lima operate completely differently than Barnard does, so using the same learning techniques and academic techniques doesn't always make sense - you have to adapt to a new environment, see how the Peruvians do University, and go from there.