Thinking back on my two months in Lima, I’m having a difficult time classifying my time here, and I think that says a lot in itself about the Peru that I’ve gotten to know! There’s so much diversity here that you can’t place much in categories, generalize and get away with it – there’s far too much here for that. From the three climate zones – la costa (the coast), la sierra (the mountains), and la selva (the rainforest) – to the people that inhabit those regions, to the obviously vast differences in the socio-economic makeup of the country; there is just too much variety to say any one thing about Peru.
That variety provides students with great opportunities to see some amazing places. Being situated in Lima, you are in the perfect place to travel throughout the country. As one-third of the Peruvian population lives in Lima, everything runs through the city. You can take flights to take weeklong tours of the jungle or to spend time hiking up to Machu Picchu or take a bus for a weekend to the Nazca Lines or to a northern beach town. And with the school, you can adjust your schedule around these trips. Take a week off to travel and come back for more time improving you comprehension.
The school itself is situated in a beautiful area of Miraflores – where the wealth of Peru is on display. While I was there, the school was still new and growing. This meant small classes with more personal attention. You tend to have a closer relationship with the professors, and the school tends to function as a much tighter family than in the bigger schools.
Miraflores is also where the majority of students live, which makes your time much safer. And while it is the clean, aesthetically pleasing place to be, it’s good to also get out of that bubble and see some of the realities of life in Lima. Even a trip to the center district of the city will give you a sense of the economic disparity prevalent in the city (nicely surrounded by incredible, 19th Century architecture).
As for the Peruvian people, it’s hard to talk about them without talking about the Peruvian food! They tend to make sure that’s the case, because at times you feel as if it’s all they talk about! Whether it’s the world-famous ceviche, the Chinese-influenced chifa, or the classic chicharrone sandwich, everything is unique and usually delicious. Look for the places filled up with locals and you’ll not only find good quality, but great prices!
As I said in the beginning, I’m having trouble classifying my time here. It’s crazy. It’s unique. It’s Lima. And anyone who’s been here, I’m sure, has strong feelings for the city and will never forget the people, the place, or the time they spent here.
Daniel Shea (USA)