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!

On our Semester in Cusco study abroad program, you'll study Spanish abroad in the Andes and learn about local culture in the land of the Incas. While working on your Spanish, learn about of this culturally rich corner of South America by visiting ancient ruins, beautiful cathedrals, and small rural villages.  

We have the experience to help you. At CISabroad, all our advisors have studied or lived abroad. From Machu Picchu to potatoes, we love the highlands of Peru. Imagine yourself studying in the Andes...and then let us help you make it happen.

We care about the environment. Your round-trip flight to Cusco will be offset by the work of volunteers around the world, as well as by opportunities for you to give back to the local community while study abroad in Peru

Cusco is a unique blend of ancient and modern, as the city that is now a tourist hub was originally established by the Inca and built up by the Spanish colonials. This vibrant, high-elevation city provides the perfect setting for you to study abroad in Peru. Start getting excited about:

Traditional Peruvian culture and a rich history - Cusco retains much of its legacy as the center of the impressive Incan civilization, as they consider it the "belly button of the world." Incan influences are still very much present today, as many locals adorn the colorful outfits, speak Quechua, and maintain many customs and beliefs of the ancient Inca. Museums, libraries, and archaeological sites relating to the Inca abound in Cusco and surrounding areas.  

Incredible sights - Cusco is in a high valley, flanked by arguably the most beautiful mountain range in the world. The climate is delightful, the sun is bright, and the people are warm and welcoming. This region is home to amazing landmarks like Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, and is also filled with beautiful mountain views, traditional Quechua communities, llamas, salt flats, market towns, and ancient ruins.

A quaint program focusing on Spanish language and Peruvian culture - The program takes place at a small satellite campus of a Peruvian university, developed specifically with study abroad students in mind. You can study Spanish language at any level and choose from a variety of courses focused on Peru's history and culture. Both classes and extracurriculars will take you out to explore the city and the many archaeological sites. 

If you've ever wanted to study abroad in Peru, then check out our Semester in Cusco program! Here are a few of the key highlights that make this program unique.

  • Beautiful Sacred Valley with ruins, market towns, mountain hiking, and more
  • Study Spanish in the Andes: Spanish-language courses at all levels
  • Students from around the world
  • Classes in diverse subjects in English
  • Superb university
  • Strong on-site support from the University staff
  • Great, inexpensive Andean cuisine, including local specialty cuy (guinea pig!)
  • The Cusco region has more than 2,000 types of potatoes to try!
  • Heart of the Incan and other pre-Hispanic empires
  • Colorful indigenous and religious festivals

While on your semester in Cusco you’ll have the chance to take an overnight trip to one of the 7 wonders of the world – Machu Picchu! Here’s a little bit information about what you’ll be able to see:

Machu Picchu
Situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley, Machu Picchu is the best known archaeological site on the continent and is not only on the UNESCO world-heritage list, but is also one of the ancient natural wonders of the world. Originally built in the 1400s and situated almost 8000 feet above sea level, Machu Picchu is an estate built for the Incan empire and is often referred to as ‘The Lost City of the Incas’ as the entire estate was hidden from the Spanish during their conquest. Set on a breathtaking backdrop of natural mountains and valleys, Machu Picchu is definitely a site to be seen.

Additionally, there are two day trips included in your semester for extensive tours of city ruins and a visit to Sacred Valley, a valley in the Andes that contains numerous archaeological remains and villages.

On Semester in Cusco, you’ll take up to 5 courses, a combination of Spanish-language and Peru-focused courses taught in English or Spanish. All levels of Spanish, from beginner to advanced, can be accommodated. A placement test taken when you arrive in Peru will determine the best language course for you. The classes are highly interactive, and the field trips built into the curriculum will help you gain a true understanding and appreciation of this magnificent area.

GPA Required: 2.7. If you find your GPA is lower than the requirement, do not despair! Use the "Contact An Advisor" button on this page or call us to let us know your situation. We'll do all we can to find the right program for you.

How to choose your courses
Now the fun part! As part of the application process you will be required to complete the CISabroad Course Selection Worksheet found in the CISabroad Application Page. The following instructions will guide you through the steps of choosing your courses.

Course load: 5 classes (15 US credits)

Course approval: It is best to get 7–8 classes approved before you go abroad. This gives you some flexibility in setting up your class schedule. Think about courses required for your major, but also courses that fulfill your elective requirements.

Course descriptions and catalog. Read through the Cusco Course Catalog and let your advisor know if you need a syllabus to help get credit. There are course options in Business, History, Biodiversity, Inca Architecture, Photography, and Intensive Language in both Spanish and Quechua. 

Did you know that 70% of all CISabroad students receive scholarships or grants to study or intern abroad? You can get a grant for something as simple as applying early, or a scholarship for blogging. 

For details on all scholarship and grant offerings and to apply, please click here.

Cusco is a traveler’s favorite, and we know you’ll love it too. But unlike the typical traveler, you’ll have the opportunity to make Cusco your home for a full semester. Although Lima remains the official capital of Peru, Cusco was recently designated the historical capital of the country for its glorious past as the center of Incan civilization. UNESCO declared the city a World Heritage site in 1983, and you can easily see why: the legacy of Incan culture is readily apparent in the stunning architecture of the city, as well as its demographics.

Peru is a highlight of South America for its diverse landscape of jungles, beaches, and mountains, as well as for its friendly people, delicious Andean cuisine, fun cities, and remote villages. You will love listening to Andean flutes, staying warm with alpaca sweaters, eating healthy quinoa soup, cheering on the Cienciaro futbol team, learning salsa moves, exploring the hippie San Blas neighborhood, volunteering locally, walking on cobblestone streets to nearby ruins, and relaxing in the famous Plaza de Armas.  Cusco is a city you will never forget and that you will love living in for your semester abroad.

Our Semester in Cusco program is located at Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola. Founded in 1995, Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola is accredited by Ministerio de Educación, Perú, The experienced faculty and quality academics make this a unique and innovative study abroad experience that focuses on student-faculty interaction.

You will combine Spanish-language study with extracurricular activities that will serve to fully integrate you into life in Cusco! The university uses modern technology-inspired teaching methods to make your study abroad experience both challenging and rewarding.

Cusco is a thriving city that always has something going on. The people who live there are proud of their city and always willing to show it off to curious tourists! When you arrive in Cusco, you’ll be met at the airport and taken to your new accommodations. You’ll get to have an on-site orientation to get you acquainted with your housing and the International Center.

During your semester, you’ll also get to go on excursions and field trips to check out the amazing ruins of Machu Picchu, the Sacsayhuman fortress, and other archaeological sites. Cusco is full of technology and restaurants and bars with food from around the world that cater to the many tourists and ex-pats that call visit and live in Cusco. The city also has a very different side to it, with local markets, indigenous people that don't speak Spanish, and countless museums to explore. 

The Sacred Valley is all around you and there are many rarely seen Inca ruins to visit as well as small towns, each with their own unique style. 

On Semester in Cusco, you will have two choices of housing at your disposal.  

Apartments: If you choose to live in student apartments, you will live in “La Casa de Don Ignacio,” just a few blocks from the main square, Plaza de Armas.  Each dorm style apartment offers shared bedrooms, bathrooms, a living room, a small kitchen with a stove and refrigerator, a television and wireless internet access.  The residence building has a TV room and computer room that all students will have access to.  Housekeeping and changing sheets is included in the housing, and laundry can be done for the students who are charged a fee based on the weight of the clothing, which is returned and ironed after washing. Breakfast is provided to all students but other meals are self-catered. Students who prefer to live in a single room can do so for a different rate. By living a few blocks from the main square, you’ll enjoy the many attractions offered by the city of Cusco while you enjoy your home away from home!  

Homestays: Students usually report that living in a homestay was their favorite part of studying abroad. You’ll get to truly immerse yourself in Peruvian culture by living with a family and getting an inside look at life in Cusco. Two delicious meals a day are provided, along with bed linens, utilities, and laundry services. All of the host families have been interviewed and visited to make sure that they will provide you with a safe and comfortable home during your stay in Cusco.

CISabroad Site Director in Peru:

Originally from Peru, Cristian studies Tourism in his native Cusco, where students undertake in-depth studies of Peru's archaeology, flora, fauna and history. Cristian will soon complete his Master’s degree in administration with mention in tourism management, and he is also currently a teacher in the Private University of Cusco (Universidad Andina).  In addition, Cristian has been guiding visitors for 11 years. He has three children: two daughters and one boy.

Cristian says, “I want to thank everyone who likes to travel because it gives me the chance to meet them!”

1. What is the cost of the program? What is included in the program fees?

The program cost for the Semester in Cusco program can be found here.

2. When are the program fees due?

Program fees for the Semester in Cusco program are due on December 1st for Spring term and July 15th for Fall term. CISabroad will email invoices to students approximately one month before the program payment deadline. For example, if your payment deadline is July 15, you should expect your invoice in mid-June. If you are using financial aid, please ensure all financial aid paperwork is returned to our office by the payment deadline. If your financial aid does not cover your entire balance, CISabroad accepts these payment methods.

3. What is due with my application and when is my application due?

There are four easy steps in the Application process.

1. Fill out the online application, which includes your contact information, what program you are applying for, etc.

2. Pay the $200 application deposit in order to secure your space in the program. This amount will be applied toward the final cost.

3. Complete the Academic Reference Form, Course Selection Worksheet, Personal Statement, Applicant Profile, and Scholarship Application (Optional).

4. Mail in your official Transcript to our office.

For detailed instructions, see application instructions. The application deadline for Semester in Cusco is usually in early November for the Spring term and early July for the Fall term. For exact dates, check here or contact an advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

4. Do I need a passport or visa? When should I apply for my passport/visa?

Yes, you WILL need a passport to travel to Peru. Your passport must be valid for 6 months BEYOND the date you return to the United States. For detailed passport instructions, U.S. citizens should check the State Department's Travel Site. For the Semester in Cusco program, you WILL NOT need a visa. U.S. Passport holders can stay in Peru for up to 183 days without a Student Visa.

5. Is there a GPA requirement?

Yes. The GPA requirement for the Semester in Cusco program is 2.7, but sometimes a lower GPA is accepted. Use the "Contact a CISabroad Advisor" button on this page or call us at 1-877-617-9090 to let us know your situation. We'll do all we can to find the right program for you!

6. What are my housing options?

The Semester in Cusco program has two housing options. One is with local homestay families and the other is in apartment-style hotel rooms. Homestay families provide 2 meals a day while the apartment serves breakfast only. Both are great options, but contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090 for more information on which option may be best for you.

7. Will other students participate in the program with me? How many?

CISabroad programs are not only a great way to meet local and international students, but also students from around the United States. Program size varies each year - if enrollment size is important to you, contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

8. How many credits are offered in the program?

For the Semester in Cusco program, a student will receive between 12 and 15 credits. For a more detailed breakdown of course options in Cusco, go here.

9. Can I combine this program with another CISabroad program like intern, summer, or semester abroad?

Yes! A great way to extend your CISabroad experience is participating in another program. Combine semester programs to create a full academic year or if an academic year is just a little too long and a semester is too short, combine a semester and summer session or a semester and January term program. You can also participate in a semester abroad and combine that with a summer intern abroad. To find out more information on the application process for more than one CISabroad program, contact a CISabroad advisor at 1-877-617-9090.

Term: Spring 2017
Arrival January 12
CISabroad Orientation January 13 to January 15
Classes Start January 16
Classes End May 5
Departure May 6
Application Deadline November 1
Term: Fall 2017
Arrival August 10
CISabroad Orientation August 11
Classes Start August 14
Classes End December 1
Departure December 2
Application Deadline June 15
Term: Spring 2017 Price: $10,590 - $10,990 more info
Term: Fall 2017 Price: $10,590 - $10,990 more info

Dates posted here are for reference only and are subject to change. Please do not book flights until you have received the confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork.

To view expected additional expenses for this program, click here.

Program fees are in US dollars and include the following:

    •    Excursion to Machu Picchu
    •    Full-time tuition and fees
    •    Housing (apartment or homestay)
    •    Two meals per day (homestay option only)
    •    Medical and accident insurance
    •    CISabroad support services before, during, and after the program 
    •    Academic advising 
    •    Financial aid counseling 
    •    Assistance with travel arrangements 
    •    Predeparture orientation 
    •    Airport pickup 
    •    Universidad de San Ignacio de Loyola orientation 
    •    On-site support 
    •    Wireless internet 
    •    Weekly laundry service (homestay)
    •    Universidad de San Ignacio de Loyola official transcript 
    •    Carbon offset of travel & Green Travel Guide

CISabroad reserves the right to alter fees at any time due to currency fluctuations and/or fee changes made by our partner universities.