LIMA Liberal Arts

Study Abroad in Lima, Peru

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Traffic & transport in Lima

Traffic & transport in Lima can be quite confusing and chaotic for those who are newly arrived to the city.

There are many means of transports available, depending on the budget, time and  comfort standards you have.

We would like to quote a very usefull post we found on the internet to help anyone who wants to travel in Lima. Here you can find very detailed information of all the options offered, great advices and examples to make your ride more enjoyable 😉

For our students, the most common way to get to the university is taking the so called “micros” or “combis”, which is the most popular way to get moving around the city.

We prepared a video with comments of our Liberal Arts students and some advices for taking micros or combis. Watch it here.

Enjoy the ride!





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Peruvian cuisine

Perú is well known for it’s delicious cuisine, considered the world’s leading culinary destination since 2012. When travelers meet peruvian people, it is very common that they will ask them if they already tried this and that dish, naming a large list of options, and usually they will be happy to give them some advices to find the best spots to eat.

As the country counts with a diverse geography (3 regions: coast, Andes highlands and rainforest), the cuisine is also very varied and offers options for every taste. Typical dishes from the coast (where the capital Lima is) are: Ceviche (fresh fish in lemon juice, chili pepper and spices), Causa rellena (Smashed potatoes wraping chicken, vegetables or tuna fish), Lomo saltado (Sauteed beef with onions, tomatoes, spices, served with french fries), Ají de gallina (Chicken’s chili pepper), among many others. Here we leave you a post about peruvian cuisine.

On May 21st, our Spelman and Liberal Arts students had a peruvian cuisine workshop at EXPRO Institute. They learned to prepare the dishes mentioned above and got to taste them, some of them for the first time.

Watch the video of the experience here: Peruvian Cuisine Workshop – Spelman & Liberal Arts 2016 and check out which were the most liked dishes.

Here are some of the pics. More of them can be found in our facebook albums:Liberal Arts 2016Spelman 2016

¡Buen provecho!


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Spelman students’ first week in Lima

These past days have been the first week in Lima of the Spelman 2016 students. They got to try peruvian food which they are loving, they used for the first time the transport service and got a surprise on the ride, they went to the university, met new friends, got a peruvian music class and had lots of fun!

Here are some reviews of the Spelman students:

“My experience here in Lima has been great so far, I had  some really good food, that is probably my favourite part, eating all the good food while I’ve been here and I’m looking forward to partying more” – Simone

“My first week in Lima so far has been excelent, my favouite part is the food, I tried ´anticuchos´ and ´lucuma´ which is my favourite so far, and I’m really having a great time” – Camille

“So far in Lima has been a great experience, I’ve loved the people, they are super nice to us and the food is amazing and I can’t wait to meet new people” – Alexis

Check out some pictures and videos of this great week! #cieelima #SpelmanCollege

Videos: First bus ridePeruvian music classFirst week in Lima




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Crossing Borders, Creating Bridges: Ni de aquí, ni de allá

From: Lipstained Poetry | Inherent Storyteller

By: Ariana, Fall 2014

Where are you really from? Is a common question people of color hear in the United States. It has one underlying message: you look like an Other, therefore; not from here. I’ve become accustomed to this daily microaggression when meeting someone new because my features are somewhat unique or exotic, another microagression I roll my eyes at.

Oye flaca,¿de dónde eres? Is a question I hear often in Lima, Perú. I hear it almost everywhere: at the mercado, on a combi, and at my host university. I expected this question, but it’s still not one I can answer comfortably. If I feel safe enough to reveal where my geographical home is, the first question is followed with, Entonces eres más gringa, ¿Sí o no? That one’s even harder to swallow. I smile, trying to hide the defeat, Soy Peruana pues…

I’m in my fourth month of studying abroad in Lima. I live with my primo in Callao, where my dad and his family is from. Parts of my selves feel right at home here. Everyday I eat comida that I wasn’t raised with. I’m surrounded by gente that look just like my familia, and I get to think and speak in español every day. Sometimes I can blend in here until I open my mouth.

Like most native-Spanish speakers, I have an accent, but instead of hearing it in English, you can hear it in my Spanish. My mom’s family is from Northern México and immigrated to the U.S. in the mid 1960s. Although she doesn’t have that Chihuahuense accent, my mom’s Spanish is still perfect. My dad immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s and before that he studied at the University of México, Guadalajara. He has that quick, Peruvian Spanish, but after living in México and the U.S. his accent is a little mixed as well.

The mezcla of diferentes dialectos de Español and living in the U.S. has resulted in my accent: ni de aquí, ni de allá español. It sounds neither mexicano nor peruano and maybe a litte more ‘americano’ than I like to admit. This nepantlera tongue I have, results in the constant question, ¿de dónde eres?

In many ways, Lima feels like home, but in so many others I’ll always feel extraña. After a few weeks of being in Lima, I felt like I made the biggest mistake: Me hubiera ido a México.

I grew up mexicana and learned to be peruana. I grew up with La Virgen de Guadalupe, El Grito, Selena, and tortillas hechas a mano. All of a sudden, I immersed myself in el desconocido: images of Santa Rosa de Lima, jerga peruana, música criolla, and papa amarilla. I wonder how I’d feel in México as I search the streets of Lima for a taquería and all the mercados for frijoles pintos. I try to catch my breath in the packed combis and miss my car in Los Ángeles. I walk through the mercado on Venezuela con Faucett and think I never want to leave. My highest highs and lowest lows have been in Lima. I’ve never felt more uncomfortable or lonely for this long. I don’t think I’ve found what I was looking for when I began this trip. I don’t think think my etapa in Lima will ever feel complete. I was searching for new connections, but maybe I was really looking for home.

Will I ever find a home? Is it here in the chaotic, dusty, and humble streets of Lima? Is it in mi México desconocido y herido, or traffic-filled and smoggy Los Ángeles? Is it anywhere? These days I’ve been trying to create bridges between my identities and the locations my ancestors and I have been displaced from. While my home may be simultaneously nowhere and everywhere, I’ve decided to build my home on these bridges. In this home I can be a mexicana, peruana, xicana, queer, survivor and it makes sense.

I’m looking for the disbelonging to become less painful as I learn more about my selves in this temporary geographical space. Perhaps I’ll find some esperanza in knowing that I have two ancestral histories to claim and two ancestral traumas to heal from. This recognition is where the healing begins – where there is suffering, there is growing, and where colonization happened and neo-colonialism persists, there is resistance. There is movement.

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Micro Madness: How I got Lost (and found again) in the Center of Lima

I’m realizing more and more that all I ever want to blog about is the micros, which I’ll admit is pretty weird, but I’ve never really been one to consider myself normal anyway. Public transportation doesn’t tend to be the most exciting topic of conversation; however, since I spend over 2 hours a day on the buses, it has overtaken my life, both figuratively and literally. With the current transportation reform occurring, I’ve actually decided to investigate it further in terms of its social, political, and economic aspects in order to explore it for my senior thesis. So basically, you better get excited about transportation. Never fear! This post isn’t really about the Micros too much. It’s more of a story how I got lost and found again, and how I’m finding this story to be more and more of a demonstration of what study abroad is like as a whole. When this first happened, Marion (my resident director) actually joked that I should blog about it and make it sound all deep and philosophical, and I laughed then…but now, that’s exactly what I’m going to do. It was my second week being in Lima, and our second week of intensive Spanish classes. My host parents had taken me to school the first couple days to make sure I knew the route well and could take it on my own. I had taken copious visual notes, noting that there was a telepizza a few blocks before the bus would turn off of Arequipa on to Cuba, we would pass a really busy street (Brasil) before turning on to Bolivar which would lead straight to the school. I had it down. I’m also very proud to say thatnormally I’m very good at navigating. My mother never worried about me getting lost when I first started to drive, as I was always very observant of street signs and directions. Unfortunately, that did not seem to help me on that fateful Monday. To get to school I could take 1 of 2 micros, the 26 or the 28. Up to this point I had only taken the 26 once, but I was still confident in taking either since they run identical routes. I had been waiting for over 10 minutes at the paradero for a 28 to arrive, when a large 26 pulled up. As always, I confirmed with the chofer/cobrador that he was going to la Católica, and he confirmed, so I hopped aboard without a second thought. Everything was normal, we were cruising up Arequipa passing the normal sites and I zoned out for a minute. When I looked out the again window I suddenly realized that I wasn’t entirely certain of where I was. We were approaching this extremely busy street I hadn’t seen before. I looked at the street signs, we were still on Arequipa, which was a good sign, until I realized we were all the way in the center of Lima. Panic ensued. Being the worrier that I am, I started looking around frantically somehow hoping that I was wrong. I was not. I walked back up to the front of the bus to ask the driver again if he was going to la Católica. He seemed taken aback and responded with a sassy “No” that almost seemed to question why I would ask such a crazy thing. Frustrated, I sighed and got off the bus the next chance I had. I looked around for any hint as to where I was, but I had no idea. I had only been here for a few weeks after all, I only really knew Miraflores and the very specific route I take to school. (Note: if this had happened a month later, I would have known exactly where I was because it’s really quite simple) Anyway, in my panic I called Marion, as instructed, and explained to her that I was lost. Per her instructions I located the nearest corner and found that I was pretty close to 28 de Julio and Arequipa one of the bigger intersections in the city. She told me to ask around for help and to keep her posted about my whereabouts and she would tell my class I would be late. We hung up the phone. During the phone call I tried to act all cool, calm, and collected even though I was anything but that. Even though I was surrounded by peruanos bustling down the sidewalk on their way to work, I had never felt more alone. Now, I have always considered myself an independent woman. A problem solver. Someone who could take on almost anything. I was an RA after all. I would have thought that I would not be concerned in this situation, wouldn’t bat an eye, but I did. I had a mini panic attack. I was completely out of my element. I was in a big city, in a foreign country, with a different language. This was no duty round, nor a student government debate; this was the real world and I was completely alone. Or so I thought. After collecting myself, taking a deep breath and giving myself an internal pep talk, I looked around for some sign of help. Fortunately, with the transportation reform in progress, there were SIT workers at every paradero, so I located the nearest one and asked for directions. I explained where I wanted to go and asked which micro I needed to take to get there from here. The first worker told me to cross the street and take an orange and gray micro. So after walking down the longest block in the history of the world, I crossed the street. I wasn’t taking any chances this time, so I asked the worker at this paradero as well just to make sure, since I had learned earlier that morning that Sí doesn’t always mean Sí when it comes to asking for directions. It was a good thing too. This worker said that I needed to travel back down Arequipa a few blocks and take a blue micro to get to school. I decided to take this one’s word and head back towards home, because I figured at this point I couldn’t get any further away from school. I got to what I thought might be the paradero he was referring to only to realize that it was still two more blocks down. I looked at my watch. 9:05. Class started. Filled with a combination of frustration and determination I continued on my quest. When I finally arrived at the correct paradero, I looked around to find no helpful worker in the blue and black vests. I panicked again, and it was clearly readable on my face. For the first time in my life, the fact that you can read my emotions easily was useful. A very kind woman in a pink jacket saw me in the crowd and approached me. Although I’m not entirely sure what exactly prompted her to approach me, I’m sure my terrified expression, blonde hair, pale skin, and all around gringa-ness had plenty to do with it. She greeted me by saying hello and looked at me with knowing eyes. I told her I was lost, and asked her if she knew how to get to la Catolica. Fortunately, she did. She told me that the micro she was going to take also passes by la Catolica. Moments later the micro pulled up. She even asked the cobrador for confirmation for me before waving me on board. We were separated a bit in the shuffle of boarding, and when I finally got seated I looked around for my savior in the pink jacket. When I found her she waved and smiled. She gave me a thumbs up, and I mouthed a silent ‘gracias’. She got off a few stops later, and bid me goodbye and “buena suerte”. 5 minutes later things looked familiar again, 15 minutes later I got off at la Católica and 20 minutes later I was in the safety of the classroom. I plopped down with a heavy sigh. It was only 9:40am and I had already had a days worth of adventure. Alright, alright. I know what you’re thinking. Here comes the lame metaphor and/or connection to life, blah blah blah. You’re right. Now, I’m not going to pretend that this little adventure was a life-changing moment that will define my life, because it won’t. Certainly though, I learned about myself. I learned that even though I thought I was a completely independent person, I’m not. I need people. I need people to help in the times where I’m lost, and celebrate with me in the times where I’m found. More than that though, I learned that that’s okay. It is okay to need people sometimes, It is okay to need to rely on someone whether a good friend or a complete stranger. It is good. It is necessary. It is life. This is something I’ve been realizing again and again in my study abroad experience, is that people are the key to everything. There are so many instances here where I have been lost. Whether it’s not understanding a professor’s lecture, my host mom’s question, or just feeling lost and alone. In all of those scenarios I’ve had to ask for help, which as a strong independent woman has not always been something that’s easy for me, but I’ve learned to ask. To ask that student I’ve never met before what the homework is. To ask what my host sister about why certain things are cultural norms in Perú. To ask my friends and family to Skype just because I need someone to be with me. That’s one of the things I’ve learned that’s been most valuable to me in my study abroad experience thus far. To ask questions even when it’s awkward, because people will be willing to help.