From the archeological mystery of Machu Picchu, to the city lights of Lima, to the mountain backdrop of Cusco, Peru is a great high school abroad destination for all types of students!
Study alongside Peruvian students at their high school and learn about the history of the Incas. Practice your Spanish while enjoying a home cooked meal with your host family. Spend a summer volunteering with children, or learning about agricultural sustainability. The options are endless. Buzzfeed gives us 26 Fantastic Reasons To Pack Your Bags and Visit Peru.
Peru is great for students who are interested in history, archaeology, Latin American Studies, and Spanish language immersion, and community service.
If you're interested in spending time abroad in the Peru while in high school, you can choose from:
- Semester, gap year, or full year exchange
- Volunteer (service learning)
- Summer programs
- Language Immersion
- Teen Travel
Semester, Gap Year, or Full Year Exchange
Study abroad and fully immerse yourself by living with a host family and attending a local Peruvian high school. Get to know the history of the Incas by being lectured by people who grew up near Machu Picchu, and who have had stories passed down for generations in Cusco. Learn about government and history by taking a tour of Lima with your fellow classmates.
Volunteer (Service Learning)
Spend your summer doing something that really matters. Make an impact on the lives of indigenous children and women by working with non-profits on health, wellness, and education initiatives at the foothills of the Andes mountains. Work alongside farmers and learn about the best sustainability practices, and help plant traditional medicinal plants and community gardens.
Want to spend a few weeks in different cities and villages throughout the country? Then a summer program might be just what you're looking for. Embark on a backpacking journey through the Amazon and the Andes with a teen travel adventure program. Enroll in an immersive short term program with a homestay.
Take classes in Spanish, live with a Peruvian family, and complete your assignments in a language that is not your native tongue. By the time you leave, you may even be dreaming in Spanish. Short term summer programs let students practice their language skills while white rafting at the Rio Urubamba, or while trekking through Macchu Picchu.
Want to get to know South America in one summer? Study abroad on a teen travel program that will take you to another country as well, like Ecuador. Travel, camp, and learn about Latin American studies with people who grew up there. Learn about Peru by traveling and seeing it.
Planning Your Trip
Students staying in Peru for less than 90 days will not need a visa, however proof of departure (like a plane ticket home) is required upon arrival. Once students reach the airport, they will receive a card and entry stamp that they must present with them at the time of departure as well. Passports must be valid for at least three months after the anticipated departure date from Peru.
Programs that last longer than 90 days will provide students with visa assistance. Visit the Embassy of Peru website for the most current visa information.
Housing varies depending on program type. Long term programs, such as semester or year, place students in homestays in their host cities. Teen travel programs host students in hotels and guest houses, with the option to even stay with a homestay in a smaller village for a week or weekend.
Peru is pretty inexpensive for Westerners. The official currency in Peru is the nuevo sol (S). An average lunch can cost you S15 ($4.40), but if you're looking to splurge on a multi-course meal, you can spend around S40, ($11.76). Your program fees will include entrance fees to various tourist sites, like museums and national parks excursions.
Lonely Planet is a great resource for all things related to costs in Peru. According to them, it is best to ask for "billetes pequeños (small bills), as S100 bills are hard to change in small towns or for small purchases."
Program costs will vary depending on term, and duration. Semester programs cost about $14,000, and year long programs cost between $28,000-$40,000 . If you're looking to enroll in a summer program, plan to spend between $2,882 and $5,884, depending on how long you stay there. Shorter term volunteer programs or teen travel programs that last about two weeks average around $2,695.
Keep in mind that housing and in-country transportation is usually included in the costs. You should still plan to have spending money for souvenirs, snacks, and emergencies.
Weather really varies depending on your location within Peru, as some regions are mountainous, while others are more coastal. There's even a jungle to pack for too. Here are some packing tips based on region:
1. La Costa (The Coast - Lima):
- For summer months (December - March) pack a mix of shorts and shirts, a light sweater, a formal outfit, and comfy sneakers, and flip flops.
- For winter months (May - October) pack light jackets, sweaters, long pants, and shoes with good traction.
2. La Sierra (The Mountains - Machu Picchu):
- This region has two seasons, rainy (December to March) and dry (late-May to October). It's best to pack a rain jacket and comfy sneakers to be safe.
3. La Selva (The Jungle - The Amazon):
- La selva has two main seasons as well, heavy rains and flooding (December to March) and light rains and dry (May through October). Pack a rain jacket, umbrella, and durable waterproof shoes.
Extra Tip: In order to charge electronics, or use blow dryers, travelers must purchase a 220V power converter.
Health & Safety
Traces of the Zika virus have been found in Peru. To learn more about Zika and how to avoid getting infected, read the Washington Post's article on Zika precautions.
Students are not required to get any vaccinations prior to arrival in Peru, however a yellow fever vaccination is recommended. For more information, visit the Embassy of Peru website.
Fresh fruit, locally grown veggies, ceviche, and soft meat platters are a staple of Peruvian culture. National Geographic recommends that you try these Top 10 Foods in Peru.
The only real safety issue in Peru is petty theft, such as pickpocketing and having your bags stolen from buses. We recommend keeping all of your important items and documents stored in a money belt, hidden under your clothing. Like traveling in most new places, it is best to be street smart and to avoid traveling alone at night.
Peru is also known for the circulation of fake currency, so make sure to exchange your currency at reliable places, like casas de cambios (foreign-exchange bureaus), or banks.
Contributed by Danielle Ortiz
High School Abroad Programs in Peru
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