University of Florida
I choose to study abroad at the Universidad del Pacífico (UP) in Lima, Peru to improve my Spanish, but I gained so much more.
Classes at UP are taught by professors who are leaders in their fields. Each of my professors has his or her PhD, and the classes were organized, technologically proficient, and intriguing. In my favorite class, about literature from the Andean theme, I explored a group of people that has a different perspective on life than what I am familiar with in Western culture. Learning about the Andean people through literature introduced me to many contemporary topics in Peruvian culture.
In the UP’s running club, I met more amazing people with whom I ran alongside the beautiful Pacific coastline during sunset.
During my exchange semester, I lived in Casa Yllika, a house for international students that UP recommended. We were fourteen students in total, and the majority also studied at UP. I recommend making a list of priorities that you look for in a housing site. For me, safety and proximity to campus were high on my list, which is why I choose to live at Casa Yllika, located only eight minutes walking from UP in a safe area of Jesús María.
My personal experience at UP was equally enriching. For example, through an organization for exchange students called Best Buddies, I met amazing Peruvian students who took me to see plays, brought me homemade waffles, and made Peruvian foods with me.
Outside Lima, I visited towns in the Andean mountains as well as in the Amazon rainforest. In the latter, I even visited a thermal bath where I covered my body from head to toe in mud to soften my skin. Each of these extra-academic experiences helped make me feel welcomed into Peru and like a part of the diverse Peruvian landscape.
While I maintained a focus on improving my Spanish through readings and conversations, I also explored many interesting aspects of Peruvian life and culture. I recommend that students interested in studying abroad at UP keep an open mind and say “yes” to as many new experiences as possible in order to take advantage of all that UP and Peru have to offer.