Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola Review (11)
In the following experience report I would like to give you an insight into as many facets as possible of my six month stay in Peru. I will start by explaining why I decided to spend a semester abroad in Lima, Peru. It was already clear to me at the beginning that I would like to spend my semester abroad in Latin America. The reason for this was the different way of life, the language and admittedly also the weather. So I initially applied in Monterrey Mexico but had to change my goal again at short notice due to the problems there with the drug gangs.
Fortunately, the USIL in Lima could be organized very quickly via MicroEDU and also offers – at least on paper – a large variety of courses in English. In the end, however, I decided to take the courses in Spanish, which I can recommend to anyone with even the most basic knowledge. Although I could hardly understand the content of the lectures at the beginning, it helped a lot to learn the language and was able to participate more actively in the lessons at the end.
I can highly recommend the city of Lima and Peru. However, one should not expect that the weather will always be good in Lima because it is down there in South America. In the months of July to at least September, the city was covered with fog almost every day, so that no sun comes out and it doesn’t want to get really warm. From then on, however, it will get better and better and in the months of October, November and December it will be summery. I cannot judge the other months.
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In Lima, however, there is generally always a lot going on. The city offers countless concerts (including well-known artists), bars, discos, museums, monuments and a beautiful city center. Although the prices are rising sharply, they are still very affordable. This also applies to the rents. Despite the great distance to the university (Universidad Don Ignacio de Loyola) and the probably highest rents in Lima, I lived in the Miraflores district, as it is the Lima district where you can do the most things by far and a high level of security consists.
Security is something that you should definitely pay attention to in Peru, but from my point of view it is not an obstacle to visiting the country. Many people, including myself, have had valuable items stolen. In almost all cases, however, this is due to carelessness. However, I never heard of acts of violence. If you visit a country like Peru, you should be aware that if possible, you do not carry any valuable items with you, or at least take very good care of them. There are also certain rules of conduct that you should familiarize yourself with beforehand. Then I see the stay as not dangerous and you can concentrate on the beautiful sides of Peru.
Peru offers beautiful places in abundance. Even in my five months’ stay, I haven’t managed to visit them all. I have been in the jungle-like Amazonian region near Iquitos, visited the desert landscapes near Ica, the Canon of Arequipa, the beaches of Mancora and of course Machu Pichhu and the Andes near the city of Cusco, which is over 3400m high. I have never before experienced a country with such diversity that is still so easy to travel to. The recommended means of travel in Peru is the long-distance bus. The bus companies there are much more comfortable than comparable companies in Europe and the price is usually very good compared to the rather expensive flights.
Now of course I want to say a few words about the university. I have to say that in view of the relatively high tuition fees of 5200 USD I was a bit disappointed with the equipment and the placement of the USIL. However, I have not yet taken into account that when it comes to education, people in Germany are spoiled with the almost free, public universities. For the Latin American standard, the USIL should be at a very high level and there are also some points that should be positively emphasized. On the one hand there is the clear class size of approx. 12-40 students per course, on the other hand it is the supervision of international students.
There is an International Office that takes care of foreign students and a relatively large number of courses in English. USIL did not have the range of English-language courses by far, as I was promised before the day of the course selection, but with a little flexibility in the timetable or in the courses to be selected, a completely English-language semester would have to be realized. I had planned this too, but due to the unfavorable times, with one exception, I switched completely to Spanish-language courses and have in no way regretted the decision. Of course, this also depends on how the home university counts the semester abroad. As in my case, you just have to pass your courses (pass / fail), I would recommend the choice of Spanish-language courses to everyone, as you can quickly understand the rough topics even without much prior knowledge. If, on the other hand, the grades of the courses in the semester abroad are included in the overall grade of the degree, then the English-language courses are definitely to be preferred. These are not only easier to understand, but also significantly lower in level, as the main challenge for many Peruvians is the English language.
The university offers sports teams for football, basketball and some other sports that you can join for free. In addition, there are sports festivals and a large tournament at the end of the semester that you can take part in.
All in all, I can only recommend Peru, Lima and USIL to everyone. The lifestyle there, the people, the atmosphere and the landscape cannot be approximated with pictures or words. I myself was very skeptical about my stay in Latin America and can only say again and again how happy I am to have gone there.