Open your eyes to the world-renowned Latin American culture, cuisine, and history by spending a semester in Peru! Explore Peru's natural playground by trekking the Inca Trail to one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, Machu Picchu, or adventure into Colca Canyon, home to some of the largest birds in nature, the Andean Condors.
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Summer in Peru


Picture yourself studying Spanish and Peruvian history, art, and biology among stunning mountain views and llamas. Our program includes a trip to one of the Seven Wonders of the World: Machu Picchu!

January in Peru


Spend January in the Imperial City of the Incas. Take 1-2 courses while exploring the Andean geography, ancient architecture and modern day culture of Cusco, Peru.

Semester in Cusco


Immerse yourself in the center of Incan culture as you study Spanish- language and Peru-focused courses taught in English. Our program includes a trip to one of the Seven Wonders of the World: Machu Picchu!

Semester in Lima


Learn about the Spanish language and the local culture from top professors, alongside students from Lima and around the world. Go sand boarding, visit the highland towns of the Andes, and explore Islas Ballestas to check out penguins, seals, and sea lions.

Official name of country: Republic of Peru

Population: 29.1 million

Capital City: Lima

Time Difference: Peru is on Central Standard Time, so it is 1 hour behind the east coast and 2 hours ahead of the west coast.

National Animal: Vicuña

National Currency: Nuevo sol

National Flower: Cantuta

National Food: Ceviche

Languages: Although Spanish is the primary language in Peru, there are a number of languages spoken by people in the Andes. Today, there are still many indigenous languages thriving throughout the country. The most prominent second tongue is Quechua, which is spoken by about 13% of the population. Your Spanish courses will surely improve your language skills, but feel free to try your hand at learning some new Quechua phrases too!

Geography: Peru is located on the western side of South America and shares borders with Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile. The majestic Andes comprise most of the topography of Peru and divide the country into three distinct regions: the coast, the highlands, and the jungle. In just one country you will find arid plains, plateaus, snow-covered mountain peaks, and flat Amazon rainforest terrain. Climate, like the geography, varies throughout the country.

Famous People: Pietro Sibille (actor), Mariano Melgar (poet), Ricardo Palma (author), José Sabogal (painter), and Yma Sumac (singer).

Great Movies: Piratas en el Callao; The Milk of Sorrow; Dragones: Destino de Fuego; City of M; La Mujer de mi Hermano.

In general, Peru is a safe travel destination, but just like in the US, there are certain precautions that you need to take. Pickpocketing is the most common petty crime, but being aware of your surroundings, traveling with a friend, keeping a close eye on your belongings at all times, and common sense will ensure an enjoyable experience abroad. Peru does not have many general health risks beyond those found in the US. However, tap water is usually unsafe to drink, but stick to bottled water and you’ll be fine. Also, be aware of the different kinds of food that your body may not yet be used to or hasn’t yet experienced. At first, you may suffer from food allergies or temporary ill effects until your body grows accustomed to the local cuisine. Health insurance is not required by the Peruvian government, but CIS includes a comprehensive medical and accident insurance plan with all of our programs.

While studying in Peru, you will find that the educational system is similar to that of the US. You will enjoy small classes taught by local and international faculty. Depending on your level of Spanish, you will take the appropriate courses for your language skills. A wide variety of courses are also taught in English.  Our programs in both Lima and Cusco offer Spanish-language courses and courses taught in English.

Peru Site Director Interview: Cristian 

What three things about Peru make it an ideal place to spend a semester abroad?

1) Peru is a country with so many beautiful places to visit, from the coast to the Andes, from the mountains to the deserts.
2) People, they are very friendly and welcoming.
3) Peru is not a really expensive country, there are a lot of places where you can eat and travel for very affordable prices for a student.

As a student yourself, what advice can you give students about balancing work and play during their semester in Peru?
Education in Peru is different in many ways, foreign students don’t have to expect an education system like the one they have in USA, from the very beginning and at orientation there are clear expectation and schedules. Study abroad students will find enough time for playing, traveling and having fun.

What is your favorite travel destination in Peru, and why?
Machu Picchu! If you are anywhere in Peru, you have to visit Machu Picchu.

What does an average day in Peru look like for your students?
This is a difficult question, if the students are in Lima, transportation and traffic is very complicated and students have to learn to commute from the univeristy to their housing. Lima is for the student who wants to experience a large city in South America. In Cusco students live 4 blocks from the campus and most of the homestays are just 10 minutes by bus. My students in Cusco use to have classes and then if they have time in between the next class, they use to walk around the Plaza de Armas or explore the Sun Temple or just ha Machu Picchu Machu Picchu e a coffee next to the main square.

As an advisor in Cusco, what is one thing every student should see or experience during their semester abroad? Definitely Machu Picchu, but If you need one more suggestion, I think exploring the Sacred Valley is also very nice, not only because of the Inca sites, the view, the agriculture, people, traditions, markets, etc.

As not only a student, but a teacher, what do you hope students leave Cusco having learned, from you or their professors? In my 5 years’ experience at CISabroad and USIL, student learn Architecture, History, Biodiversity, but they learn from the locals about Peru's history and the influences we have from our ancestors. We also learn from our students about what they have at home, and together we dialogue about the world's problems.

What lead you to be a site director with CISabroad?
I think CISabroad is one of the best providers and over the years and they support and follow their student carefully and do their best to make the program as affordable as possible. As a father I understand the need for study abroad and I hope my kids will do the same when they are older. 

If students are looking to travel elsewhere in Peru during their summer or semester abroad, where should they go and what should they see?
The Peruvian jungle is really amazing. Traveling from Lima or Cusco it is not really far or expensive.

Are there any major cultural do’s and don’ts students should know before their summer or semester in Peru?
Peruvians greet each other in the morning, afternoon, and evening - participate in greeting your new friends.
Wherever you go, try to engage and do what locals are doing.