University of Mannheim
I arrived on my own because I was already travelling around before settling in Lima. In the beginning of August, we had two introduction days. They gave us lots of information and the buddies showed us around the university. There was a welcome lunch which was nice for getting to know people. The course selection was a bit complicated for some of us because of different requirements from the home universities and the system of UP.
I would recommend to attend the introduction day because there you get to know most of the other exchange students and make first friends.
I attended some events organized by the buddy team and CEUP – the student group. I joined the CEUP after the first weeks, starting in the sustainability department and helping at most of the events which the whole group organized. In total, I spend a good time with them but you need to speak Spanish properly to have a chance to survive in the group (meetings).
My best experience was a great house party. I won’t forget many of the people I met, the nice places in Lima and Peru, the traffic, the classes and lots of other things. I will forever remember how I changed my date for leaving for a later day constantly during two weeks to meet everyone again. I learned about myself that I can be more spontaneous and that it is always good to work on yourself but at the same time be content with what you are and what you have.
About the academic part, my course choice were “Gestión de Ventas y Equipos Comerciales” with Christian Manrique, which you should only take with a good level of Spanish but which was very interesting and the professor is friendly, relaxed and has lots of practical experience. “Comportamiento Humano” (like HR Management) with Isabel Miyashiro. She is just and I learned a lot, so I do have a good impression of this course in total. As well you should speak and write Spanish properly in the course with this professor.
“Relaciones Internacionales” with Fernando Bambarén was a very interesting course including three-minute meditation in the beginning. This course is feasible with a lower level of Spanish as well because the professor is very supportive and you can do all your exams and memos in Spanish, but I do not recommend taking it with (nearly) no Spanish knowledge.
In “Psicología” with Cesar Francis I was sitting with the 17 and 18-year-old Peruvians from the first semester which was noticeable in their way of working and studying. Professor Francis has lots of experience and stories to tell and together with the contents of the course it was never boring. Equally, you should speak Spanish to enjoy the course.
I never missed class and travelled moderately to get everything done. As my grades where important to me, this was necessary. If you only have to pass, it is much more relaxed.
Academically the level of the courses was not too demanding in comparison to my home university but I had to spend much more time during the semester on the different tasks.
I did not take any of the extra offerings of non-academic courses. In total, I am content with my choice and with my results and I learned a lot.
In total, I am content with my stay at UP. I had lots of work for the courses, which made it a bit stressful sometimes but I still enjoyed may stay. It is easier and a more real experience when you come with a medium Spanish knowledge. The university is well equipped and most professors are doing a very good job.
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It was fine to stay at one of the APU houses (APU 3 in Miraflores) but there are probably better and surely cheaper choices.
I lived in a house with other exchange students, some of them at UP as well and some from other universities. I had my girls crew from UP and got along well with the other exchange students I met more or less frequently.
Try to meet as many locals as possible because this will teach you a lot about the country even if you can only speak to them in English. Otherwise you will only stay in your exchange bubble.
I had a buddy and he was always very supportive. It started with the course choice in the beginning and general advice and later we just made some excursions together and met for lunch.
We both did not have a lot of time but we managed to meet regularly and I knew I could always ask him in case that I had a problem.
Lima is a huge city with a traffic issue and long distances. In winter (roughly July to September) the sky is grey and the air is foggy. In spring, it is a better and you will appreciate each sunny day.
Lima was not love at first sight and neither at second, but there are lots of nice spots to discover and as soon as you know people and your surroundings, you won’t mind the bad aspects that much anymore.
The university is in Jesús Maria, a secure and quiet barrier close to the bank quartier of San Isidro. That is not the historic city center. To the center you only go for sightseeing purposes a few times during your stay. Lima is a city with great food and lots of offers. The same can be said for bars.
For going out, generally Miraflores and Barranco – a very nice quartier – are recommended. Do not hesitate to ask your Peruvian classmates about places they recommend. They are very helpful with those issues. For sports, you can go surfing in the Pacific Ocean, for example in Miraflores. Apart from the city center and the mentioned nice quartiers of the city, you can go to “Parque de la Reserva” for the beautiful water fountains, to Callao for swimming with sea lions or to one of the museums or Huaca Pucclana, ruins from the Lima culture. It is difficult to compare Lima to Germany cities because it is so much larger and to compare Peru to Germany because culture, climate, landscapes, food etc. are different.
Peru is a beautiful and very interesting country, so just be open and come and discover it for yourself.
Preparation depends a lot on your home university. Ask people who have been to Peru before about things that you are interested in, get contact to locals as early as possible, try to take Spanish classes and be proactive in getting to know the Peruvians. I felt pretty well prepared and it is definitely not possible to prepare everything.
Follow some safety rules but do not let people make you crazy who are exaggerating dangers. With common sense and always paying attention you will definitely do fine. Just enjoy your time and select Peru for your exchange semester
You just have to be open and address directly to peruvians because most of them will not do it on their own account. It also helped that I took university seriously and was able to contribute to the work which had all to be done in Spanish. Except for Relaciones Internacionales and Gestión de la Innovación I was pretty much the only foreigner or only with one other exchange student.
I did not really have a culture shock because I already anticipated some of aspects that might be relevant for the Peruvian culture and I have been to many different countries before.
I always realize abroad that I my own culture determines a lot how I look at the world and that it is important to try to get other perspectives as well. I do not like to generalize things but broadly spoken Peruvians are outgoing and friendly and helpful with everything you could have problems. Sometimes strangers are a bit too interested in foreign girls, but you will learn to differentiate between the nice people and the ones which you do not need.
I have learned a lot about Peruvian culture because I spend many hours with Peruvians. It is important to see, though, that UP only represents a small part of Peruvian society – the middle to upper class – and not the broad range of (poorer) groups. You should always have in mind that you are basically in contact with the privileged part and should not forget that it is a country with lots of problems and maybe get some ideas what could be changed.