- Study Abroad
- Volunteer Abroad
- Teach Abroad
- Intern Abroad
- Gap Year
- Travel Resources
ISA in Lima, Peru
Interview with Michelle Miller, ISA Lima alum
GO: Why did you decide to study abroad with ISA in Lima, Peru?
Michelle: I decided to study abroad with ISA because they were well organized and offered a wide variety of opportunities and locations to study. I chose Lima because Peru is not a country that most people think about going to in order to study. I knew that Peruvians spoke one of the most pure forms of Spanish, second to Colombia. I thought it would be a perfect place to learn about an amazing prehistorical culture as well as learning about their modern culture that's elements are slowly diffusing into our own. ISA Lima offered 3 types of experiences in different universities as well as great excursions.
GO: What made studying in Peru a unique and special experience?
Michelle: The people I met really made this experience special for me. I made great friends and learned a lot about the culture by having an insiders point of view. Being able to integrate into the society by speaking with my host family about politics, religion, and the future really allowed me to understand what it would be like to grow up in a different country. I was also able to become more fluent in Spanish and learn more about the society in a way that you could never learn in a classroom.
GO: How did this experience impact your academic development?
Michelle: This trip impacted my future in many ways. Since studying abroad in Peru, I have gone back to work on an archaeological site with the university there. Because I had experience living in Lima, knew the university as well as the history, language, and culture of the country, I was able to help lead my fellow students and give them advice during our stay.
Once I complete my undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and Spanish, I am going to go back to Peru to work at the same archaeological site, work in the laboratory of the school in which I studied, as well as possibly work with international students who come to the university. Although I do not know exactly what I will be doing with my future long term, I know that I now have family in Peru. It was an experience that I would repeat a thousand times over and I would not trade it for anything in the world.
Interview with Zachary Macinnes, ISA-Lima alum
GO: Why did you decide to study abroad with ISA in Lima, Peru?
Zachary: I actually was lucky enough to study abroad a couple times while a student at Emmanuel College in Boston. I spent time in Mexico, Spain and Peru. Of those, it was my Academic Year program with ISA in Lima, Peru that impacted me the most. I knew I wanted to be immersed in a Spanish-speaking country that's somewhat off-the-beaten path.
I remember saying to my Study Abroad Advisor when we were picking the right program, "Hey, with all these programs in Spain and Latin America, these guys must really know what they're doing."
GO: What made your study abroad experience unique and special?
Zachary: I was lucky enough study in Lima for two semesters. By the time my second semester rolled around, I was speaking Spanish like a Peruvian, comfortable navigating my way through Lima by way of their decidedly South American public transportation system of "micros" and "combis,"and spending my free time with a great group of Peruvian friends that I keep in touch with to this day. Perhaps it is for this reason that I get excited when talking to Year students to this day.
My academic experience as a foreign student enrolled directly in courses with local students at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) was decidedly unique. Classes here were challenging (and in Spanish), but the class I remember most in Latin. I'd never studied Latin before, and it interesting learning the language with speakers of Spanish.
My wonderful Resident Director Michelle McRaney de Winder went out of her way to find a Latin tutor to help me out. Meanwhile, my roommate Mike was studying Quechua language - and Michelle was able to find a tutor for him as well. ISA Resident Directors are a special bunch, and every RD I've met does a fantastic job integrating ISA students into the local culture.
In addition to Peru, I spent time studying in Mexico and Madrid as well. All were unforgettable experiences, but I was able to compare apples to apples and ISA comes out om top. ISA believes that study abroad students should be as integrated into the host culture as much as possible, a philosophy I share. This integration can happen in the classroom, ISA housing (homestays and student dormitories), on-campus student organizations, socially and volunteer and internship placements.
GO: How has this experience impacted your future?
Zachary: It's almost a cliche to say that students come back from study abroad more mature, and for me it was no exception. Back in Boston, I immediately sought out my study abroad office. I didn't know it at the time, but I had made an unconscious decision to pursue a career in international education.
Emmanuel requires most majors to have an internship their senior year, and mine was (naturally) in the study abroad office. That year, I met representatives from ISA and other organizations on campus at Emanuel. One thing led to another and the rest was history!
GO: Now that you work for ISA, what do you do for them?
Zachary: At ISA, I work mainly in New England visiting campuses to talk about ISA programs as a University Relations Representative. I'm also part of ISA's Communications Team as a Social Media Coordinator and am in charge of social media at ISA. I joined ISA back in 2009 and am loving my third year "on the road" repping ISA at study abroad fairs across New England.
ISA distinguishes itself as a study abroad provider by its commitment to each individual student. ISA services are available to students, parents, faculty and advisers throughout the study abroad process. In addition to the ISA team in the U.S., ISA offers study abroad students constant support through resident directors available in study abroad locations globally.
Everyone at ISA is proud to be a part of offering a high quality study abroad experience to American and Canadian college students at an affordable price. We recognize that we play an important role in the worldwide effort of international educators to increase awareness of cultures and societies outside of each student's national boundaries. Our programs are designed to maximize our participants' learning abroad, and we understand that most college students need support and expert guidance before, during and after their time abroad.