1st Days in Pera
So, this is my first post – who knows what will come of it. This blog is meant for anyone who wants to know what it is like as an exchange student in Lima and of course friends and family (Hi mom!).
Let me start by telling you why I am in Lima in the first place. I am an 8th semester Philosophy & Economics student at the university of Bayreuth, Germany. I did a semester abroad in Korea two years before and loved it, so I thought, why not go on another semester abroad to write my bachelor thesis? So that’s exactly what I did.
My plane landed and the hot air struck me immediately. The humid, hot air came as somewhat of a surprise, having had to scratch off the ice of the windshield when getting to the Frankfurt airport just a couple of hours before. And when I say hot and humid I really mean it, since the three days I have been here there was not a single moment I did not sweat. Anyway, the next day I finally took out my travel guide and was amazed at all the stuff you can see and do in Peru! So. Much. Stuff.
Tons and tons of Inka and generally pre-colonial cultural sites, Macchu Pichu being the obvious one but many, many more and not much less astounding. There are beautiful countrysides wherever you turn your head; do I really have to mention the Titicaca lake or the sacred valley? And on top of all that Peru offers many amazing outdoor activities, which luckily almost always combine amazing scenery and fun.
Here is a list of the most amazing stuff you can do in Peru:
Stuff to do / Stuff to see in Peru
So now that I had so much stuff to excitedly look forward to I decided to check out my now home turf: Lima. Lima is a very noisy and chaotic city. There seems to be little concern about air quality which is downright terrible if you are on a big street at rush hour. On top of that the sun is incredibly intense in Lima. The UV index has never been below 12 since I have been here and the forecast does not look like its improving. It’s not really that bad, but you have to use sunblock all the time; I personally keep some in my bag. Something else you should keep in mind when considering to study in Lima is that getting around with public transport is a hustle, especially since it generally takes a lot of time to get from A to B. There aren’t really any official buses (They are slowly introducing them), which is why one must rely on van like private “buses”. And then you have cabs, which cost a fraction of European prices but significantly more than busses and for routes of 20 min plus not really an option for everyday commuting.
Apart from all that Lima is amazing to me. The sun is always shining (quite typical for places in the desert) and although it is really hot for the moment, there is a fresh sea breeze constantly blowing through Limas streets, alleviating the heat ever so gently. The people I had to do with until now were all extremely helpful and nice. I am living in a nice neighborhood (San Isidro) and I can only speak for myself, but the parks here are very nice and relaxed too, which is why my typical working day ends in one. The best thing though is that I can now go swimming in the nice and cold pacific ocean any time I want! The coast is approx. 10 – 15 min. from the apartment I am staying in. If I am lucky it is even possible to see Dolphins!
If you are a food connaisseur you will definitely love this place. Since Peru generally is a very diverse country, the food is too. From traditional Andean cuisine to Chinese influenced “Chifa”, you will find many, many different tastes. The closeness to the sea means constantly fresh seafood and the geographical location means a lot of different foods grow in the countrysides. For example out of all 4000 potato types, 3000 are indigenous to Peru. On top of that you can try some really crazy stuff like yummy roasted Guinea pig or Alpaca meat (supposedly very healthy!).
So long, amigos!