Spanish majors hoping to begin or perfect their language skills often choose Peru for their study abroad experience. Peruvians are friendly, easy to understand, and take pride in one of the best cuisines in the world. Year-round, the weather in Peru is temperate and very agreeable. Located a few hours south of the equator, the country offers many cultural opportunities. With the Amazon in the east, Machu Picchu in the center, and Lake Titicaca in the south, it is impossible to be bored in Peru.
Photo Credit: Gabi Schiller
Although specific grants and scholarships may be offered from the home university or study abroad program, there are a variety of national scholarships available including:
- Boren Scholarship - Up to $20,000 is awarded to undergraduate students studying abroad in critical interest areas throughout the world.
- Gillman Scholarships - U.S. undergrad students receiving a Federal Pell Grant are eligible to receive up to $5,000 towards their study abroad program.
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships
Deciding where to call your Peruvian home is a difficult decision. To give you an idea of what's possible, here's a list of Peru's most popular cities.
Lima: The capital of Peru has the largest number of universities and is home to the highest population in the country. The most popular school is nicknamed “La Católica,” however its official name is Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Known for programs in humanities, social sciences, Spanish language, education, business, art, and natural sciences, it even boasts many famous graduates, including the current President of Peru, Ollanta Humala. With over 17,000 undergraduate students from around the world, and 8 million residents in Lima itself, there are many opportunities to make new friends and enjoy this coastal city.
Cuzco: As the gateway city to Machu Picchu, Cuzco provides a unique cultural experience for anyone interested in studying abroad. Established in 1692, the Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cuzco is Cuzco’s oldest University and offers a variety programs including architecture, tourism, history, anthropology, biology, economics, and Spanish. Surrounded by rich Incan history and Andean mountains, students can spend their free time exploring the magic and mystery of this UNESCO heritage site.
Arequipa: The second largest city in Peru is commonly referred to as La Ciudad Blanca (The White City). Due to its proximity to the volcano El Misti, most of the buildings in Arequipa are built from, sillar, a white volcanic rock. Universidad Nacional de San Agustin de Arequipa is a public university with programs in biomedicine, engineering, business and social sciences. Located near the famous Colca Canyon, Arequipa is a great location for study abroad students interested in outdoor activities.
How to Choose a Program
Peruvians are known to have the purest Spanish accent making it easy to learn, understand, and communicate. Local students believe in working hard and playing hard which creates a great balance between school life and personal life.
1) Language: Depending on the university, a high level of Spanish proficiency may be required, as some professors will not lower expectations for non-native speakers. Many universities offer language partner programs in which students can practice their Spanish while teaching English to a Peruvian student.
In some regions of Spain people speak an entirely different language/dialect, such as Catalan or Basque in the northern parts of the country. Inform yourself about the local cultures of the destinations in which you are considering studying abroad in. Your decision to study in a larger or a smaller city will also affect your degree of immersion—larger cities will typically offer more familiar comforts of home (including English speakers!).
2) Academic Life: In Peru, the summer holiday is celebrated from January to March. This means that the Spring semester runs from March to July, and the Fall semester from August to December. Class sizes can vary and professors are very involved in research and academic work.
Whenever you decide to go, the most important thing is that you take your studies seriously.