Known around the world for its gastronomic prowess, Lima offers so much more than the roasted pollo a la brasa or perfectly prepared ceviche — although we certainly won’t turn either down! It is also the modern seat of the Incan heritage, and to this day reflects striking contrasts in landscape and culture. By living with families and exploring indigenous communities, high school students have the opportunity to practice their Spanish, study Incan history, and explore the sacred Andes Mountains and lush Amazonian rainforests. Ready, set, GO — it’s time for high school travel in Lima.
Popular High School Programs in Lima
Though Lima has taken many steps towards modernity, it is still deeply rooted in the ancient world. There are countless ways to experience the dichotomy of twenty-first century amenities and indigenous wisdom, so pack your bags and say napaykullayki to your newest home away from home.
If you want to learn Spanish, there is no better way than to immerse yourself in a country that speaks it. Language immersion programs for teens are popular in Lima, and whether your only word is hola or you’ve already mastered the subjunctive, you’ll learn to appreciate the culture behind the language. Classes are typically two to three hours per day, and also include extras like dance classes, cooking classes, weaving demonstrations, or group countryside bike rides. If you’re placed in a homestay, you’ll get extra practice with your host family, and might even pick up some Quechua, the indigenous language of Peru.
If Spanish isn’t your focus, consider community service and volunteering. You’ll be placed in English-speaking groups that work to upgrade educational facilities, teach children to read, and provide resources and training in agriculture to aspiring or struggling farmers. These programs emphasize the importance of cross-cultural connections with local communities.
Students looking for adventure can satisfy their thirst for the unknown by participating in Lima’s outdoor education programs. These shorter trips range from personal, independently-designed expeditions through the Andes, to group trips exploring Peru’s natural and man-made wonders. Whether you’re backpacking, kayaking, trekking, or climbing mountains, you’ll be learning how to cooperate in groups, rely on yourself, speak Spanish, and explore how indigenous people meet their needs.
Teen Life in Lima
Lima is a desert city situated on the western coast of Peru. As the capital, it is the largest city in the country and the third-largest in South America. It’s densely populated but easy to navigate, and, luckily for you, the Pacific Ocean keeps the climate pretty cool. This makes your midday wanders through the colonial and Spanish baroque streets something to be enjoyed, not avoided.
Two of the most prominent districts within Lima are the bohemian district of Barranco and the slightly more expensive, westernized district of Miraflores. Both have parks, restaurants, and shopping centers, and one or the other will probably be your home base. In your free time, join the throngs of sun-seekers at the beaches along the northern and southern ends of the city, or take advantage of Lima’s active theater scene. There is also the Historic Centre to explore, with several important churches, monasteries, and the Palace of Torre Tagle.
Perhaps the most enticing of all— the food! Conquistadors and immigrants have been flocking to Lima for decades, and as a result, Peruvian cuisine has taken on flavors from all over the world. Today, Lima’s restaurants and chefs are recognized internationally, and foods like the salchipapa have taken off from the streets of Lima to being staples in Spanish-speaking countries around the globe.
This definitely sounds a bit more exciting than the grub of high school cafeterias back home, no?
Costs of High School in Lima
Like the spit of an angry alpaca, your dollar can really go far in Lima. Program costs might be a couple grand, but life in Lima itself is relatively cheap.
Food and clothes are inexpensive by Western standards. You can spend just $12 for a lunch for five people! Others have been known to drop just $3 for a huge plate of rice and chicken, and less than $1 for fresh fruits and veggies. Starbucks is one place where prices will be comparable to those back home, but other chains, including Subway, are considerably cheaper in Lima (can you say $2 footlong?!).
Programs themselves range from about $2000-$4000 for two weeks to a month of adventure travel and volunteering, and can be up to $11,000 for a year in a Peruvian high school. They tend to include in-country meals, accommodation, transport, excursions, and support throughout your stay, though airfare to and from is on your own. With a part-time job (or two) and some fundraising, this will be an investment well worth the effort when college applications roll around. It’s also worth it to check out the scholarship options and see if you qualify for extra aid.
GoAbroad Insider Tips
While living in Lima, you will be unable to avoid the warmth and generous spirit of the Peruvian people. They are not shy in showing affection, welcoming you into their lives, and showing off their beautiful country. You may be living in Lima, but you’ll be super close to a huge range of landscapes. Mountains, beaches, rainforests, and deserts are all just a bus ride away, and you can experience them all in even the shortest of programs.
There are a few adaptations you’ll need to make. For example, lunch is typically the largest meal of the day and dinner might not come until nine at night, if at all. This will take some adjusting at first and your body may feel out of whack for a week or two. Another thing to get used to is the drinking water— or lack thereof. You will be buying bottled water. Restaurants don’t give tap, and it’s unlikely you’ll even get ice in your drink. It’s also important to take precautions with food, particularly with fruits and vegetables that need to be washed with clean water and preferably be cooked.
All in all, studying abroad in Lima will stand out on college applications, and not just for your having been abroad. It’s a unique destination that celebrates life and nature, and you’ll be right in the thick of it. Pachamama is still revered as the reigning goddess over all things earth, and the cuy (yes, guinea pig) that is offered in sacrifice to her is also offered on menus around the country.
High school travel programs in Lima let you experience the land, the food, and the language that inspired one of the greatest ancient civilizations in the world. Leave your mark on the mosaic of cultures that are alive there today, and take with you memories of a land and people quite unlike your own.
Read our comprehensive guide on high school programs in Peru for even more awesome info.