Living in Lima

Sarah Lawrence College’s program in Peru is centered in the nation’s capital. Peru is no doubt one of the most attractive sites for study abroad in Latin America. Its cultural and ecological diversity, varied and stunning landscapes, its people and the wealth of archeological and historical sites make Peru a truly unique experience. Founded in 1535, the capital, Lima, in addition to being a bustling Latin American city, is also a privileged location because every stage of Peruvian history has left its mark on the city and its environs. For instance, Caral is found there, the first city built in the Americas, about five thousand years ago. During the intervening millennia, many different cultures flourished in the Peruvian territory.

The Pontificia Universidad Católica de Perú (PUCP) is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in Latin America, and perhaps the most active in Peru in terms of its range of links to foreign institutions and the number and quality of its academic programs for international students.

We require that students reside with host families for the semester in Lima. Sarah Lawrence College and the Office of International Studies at PUCP, in conjunction with the local program coordinator, Patricia Alba, will assess appropriate neighborhoods, families, and living conditions.

Lima and the Miraflores Neighborhood

While studying at PUCP, you will be living in Miraflores, one of the older districts in Lima, where you can still find some beautiful examples of the old houses, mansions, and traditional small urban estates of earlier periods. Miraflores boasts a busy commercial center that offers exclusive boutiques and small shops featuring alternative designs next to department stores and crafts markets. In addition, it is one of the city centers for art galleries, movie houses, theatres, museums, cafés, and bookstores, as well as Cultural Centers such as the Alliance Française, the British Institute, and the Instituto Cultural Peruano-Norteamericano, which also host a wide range of cultural activities.

The coastline and beaches also deserve special mention. Miraflores faces the ocean, perched on the cliffs along the Lima coast, and the waterfront also offers a variety of activities. Beginning early in the morning, people go out to run, ride their bicycles, do tai chi, or simply take a stroll and enjoy the spectacular view of the Lima bay from the perspective of the cliffs. Weather permitting, young people enjoy surfing, windsurfing or hang gliding, or just sun themselves on the beaches between the city and the sea.

In addition to the vital atmosphere and the beauty of the landscape, this is also one of the greenest areas of the city, and it boasts one of the most efficient security systems. Being conveniently situated in the center of the city, it is well served by the public transportation system that connects it to all the other areas.

Visits in and Around Lima and Cuzco

The Sarah Lawrence College in Lima program includes a series of visits to a number of sites and attractions in and around Lima, such as its historical colonial area, the bohemian and cultural area of Barranco, or the peripheral neighborhoods with its vibrant "chicha" culture. We will visit pre-Hispanic sites like the Huacas located in the middle of the urban center and local markets and crafts fairs where we can find products from every corner of Peru. In the outlying areas, towards the southern beaches, we will visit the Ceremonial Center of Pachacamac, a very important pre-Inca site wisely maintained by the Inca as one of their major pilgrimage centers. Located only two hours away, within the Lima province, we will also visit Caral, which is considered the oldest city in the Americas.

Cuzco is the main attraction for visitors to Peru and there is a good reason for this: It is the ancient capital of the Inca Empire and it abounds in signs that enable us to imagine the grandeur of the Inca culture. We therefore will organize a trip to the city of Cuzco that includes a visit to the Valle Sagrado of Urubamba (with stops in two towns along the route, Ollantaytambo and Pisac), as well as Macchu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Lima, Peru