Semester Abroad in Peru

Semester Abroad in Peru

Peru – the land of the Incas and the Andes, the Amazon rainforests and the alpacas. Hardly any other area offers such a diverse culture and landscape as the third largest country in South America.

The mysterious ruined city of Machu Picchu and the old Inca capital Cusco are impressive examples of the lost culture of the Incas. The legacy of the Spanish conquerors can still be felt in the former colonial cities with their baroque cathedrals and churches. And the mysterious, giant scratches in the Nazca desert are still a mystery today.

Peru: one country – four landscapes

The cultural treasures of Peru are embedded in a breathtaking landscape: behind the narrow and dry coastal region “La Costa” with its desert landscapes and fishing villages, the Andes rise majestically: “La Sierra”. Their plateaus are up to 4,000 meters high here. The highest mountain in Peru, Huascarán, is over 6,700 meters high. However, half of Peru is made up of “La Selva”, the rainforest, and “La Montana”, the cloud forest. The deep green Amazon basin in particular, with its numerous rivers and pristine jungle, is home to countless animal and bird species.

Of the 30 million people in Peru, more than half are of indigenous descent. Many of the indigenous people still follow their traditional way of life. They speak the indigenous languages Quechua or Aymara, which, along with Spanish, are the Peruvian national languages. In the big cities, the customs of the Indians have mixed with the Catholic traditions of the colonial powers.

According to searchforpublicschools, the capital Lima is the cultural and economic center of Peru. There you will find magnificent buildings from the colonial era, colorful markets, shady plazas, old churches and excellent museums. The beaches close to the city, a colorful nightlife and the warmth and hospitality of the residents ensure that there is no boredom in the noisy metropolis.

Semester in Peru: special semester programs

For students who want to see the countless cultural and natural wonders of Peru with their own eyes, some Peruvian universities offer special study opportunities. Programs like Semester in Lima International Program or Semester in Cusco International Exchange Program represent a unique opportunity to get to know this fascinating country during a semester abroad.

The state universities in Peru teach almost exclusively in Spanish. Private universities, such as the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, often have courses in English as well as courses in Spanish. These are not intended exclusively for international students. They are also aimed at local students who value perfecting their English skills as part of their studies.

This is of course very practical for international students whose knowledge of Spanish is not that advanced. At the same time, many Peruvian universities also offer Spanish courses. At some universities there is even the option of learning the basics of Aymara or Quechua as part of a semester abroad in Peru.

The exact structure of the semester programs in Peru differs from university to university. At some universities you can take courses from the university’s general range of lectures together with local students during your semester abroad in Peru. Other universities offer international students mainly country-specific courses on Peruvian history, nature, art and culture, as well as Spanish courses. These programs aim to provide international students with a deep understanding of Peruvian culture during their semester.

The study system in Peru is predominantly based on the Spanish system, with some universities also using the North American system as a model. The universities usually award credit points within the specially designed semester programs. This means that you can often have your academic achievements recognized during the semester in Peru easily recognized by your home university. However, you should clarify this in advance with your home examination office.

Requirements and application

The application process for a semester abroad in Peru is simple. To be able to participate in the semester program of a Peruvian university, you only need the (technical) high school diploma. In most cases, universities do not require formal proof of language skills. Nevertheless, you should of course have sufficient knowledge of Spanish or at least English for your semester in Peru.

Costs and financing options for a semester abroad in Peru

Peruvian universities are financed through tuition fees. These vary from university to university and can be up to US $ 5,500 per semester. The cost of living is far below the German level. Anyone who adapts to the Peruvian way of life gets along well with living expenses of EUR 450 per month. The cost of a room in a shared apartment in the capital Lima, for example, is around EUR 120-280 per month. You only have to plan around EUR 100 per month for accommodation with a host family. A warm meal is often available in Peru for the equivalent of three euros.

There are different ways to finance the semester abroad in Peru. On the one hand, many German students receive funding from the Auslands-BAföG. This includes a subsidy for tuition fees of up to EUR 4,600 and additional subsidies for living and travel expenses. Students who are not entitled to BAföG in Germany may also receive funding, as the assessment limits for BAföG abroad are higher. So it is definitely worth it to find out about the possibilities at the BAföG office in Bremen, which is responsible for Latin America.

For some students, a scholarship can also be considered to finance a semester abroad in Peru, for example from the DAAD or other foundations. Student loans are also a financing option.

Foreign students are also allowed to work during the semester break in order to top up their travel budget. To do this, you have to apply for a work permit at the Peruvian embassy in advance.

Semester Abroad in Peru

Visa and entry to Peru

Anyone planning to spend a semester abroad in Peru must apply for a student visa. However, these are not issued by the Peruvian consulates in Germany. There are two ways to get the visa anyway:

  • The university at which you are enrolled has the visa processed by the Ministry of Interior’s Immigration Service (DIGEMIN).
  • You enter Peru on a tourist visa and have this converted into a student visa at DIGEMIN.

For a student visa you have to

  • the certificate of enrollment,
  • proof of sufficient financial resources and
  • the return tickets

In any case, you need adequate international health insurance for your semester stay in Peru.

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