Meet Kaitlyn Young from the University of Connecticut, she studied abroad in Cusco, Peru in the 2014 Fall Semester. After Kaitlyn arrived home from Cusco, she could not have had a better cultural, social, academic and overall wonderful experience. Kaitlyn was able to visit Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, Manu National Park and much more! Read her adventures as she shares a typical day living in the beautiful city of Cusco from her study abroad journal:
A special weekend excursion to Machu Picchu
It still hits me in the most surreal ways that I’m studying abroad in one of the most beautiful and historical cities in South America- Cusco, Peru. In the time I have been here I’ve discovered wonderful places to eat, learn, shop and explore. Here’s a peek into what a typical day may look like!
7:00am: Rise and shine!
Spanish class starts at 8am so it’s time to get the day started. After gathering my things I head down to the hotel dining room for breakfast. Normally I like to change up my meals, but the food is so yummy that I wake up every morning craving my daily fix—flavored yogurt with kiwicha granola, mixed fruit, over-easy eggs and toast! From the hotel it’s only a ten-minute walk to school, a very convenient commute.
8:00am-1:00pm: Class time
I am taking five classes at the international center of La Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola. The courses are related to Peruvian culture, such as biodiversity of Peru, Inca architecture and Andean Nutrition, so rarely do they seem like actual classes! We get ten-minute breaks in between each class, which I always spend outside either at the patio tables or in the flower garden in the back of the school. It’s a great way to unwind and prepare for the next class!
Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola… my beautiful school!
My class schedule varies day by day, but generally I head to lunch at around 2pm. Most restaurants in the area offer a menu, which is a set meal at a really affordable cost. My absolute favorite spot is a vegan restaurant in San Blas, a boho-trendy neighborhood walking distance from the school. Today I had a salad, quinoa soup, Chinese spaghetti with sautéed vegetables, mint juice and a pineapple stew dessert all for 10 soles (that’s around $3 US dollars!) I always walk out satisfied and just the perfect amount of fullness.
There are always new places to find in Cusco, you just have to do some exploring!! Some days I head to the Plaza de Armas, the main square, to grab a coffee or people-watch (a guilty pleasure). Or I’ll throw on some comfy clothes and take a hike. It really doesn’t matter the path or destination because everywhere is an adventure! If I’ve got some extra spending money, I love checking out the markets. They offer everything from traditional design clothing, trinkets, shoes, jewelry and authentic minerals from Peru. Don’t be afraid to do some bargaining, the vendors will work with you and make it hard to leave empty-handed.
Only a 20 minute walk from the Plaza!
Another favorite spot of mine, also in San Blas, is the Healing House of Cusco. They offer yoga, Reiki energy healing, meditation and other holistic services! I am a big yoga junkie at home so I was more than happy to learn that they offer yoga classes- most are set at 20 soles a session, but other classes like meditation are by donation so you can pay what you like! Rolling out my mat in my hotel is nice, but just isn’t the same as a good group class.
I always toggle between buying dinners and cooking, but for me nothing beats a home cooked meal. Some time during the week I head to the foods market to buy fresh veggies and main staples like pasta, rice and quinoa. Luckily, the kitchen in my hotel lets us cook after the work hours so I head down to make my meal and then dig in! Once I’m finished with dinner I’ll hop on the computer to catch up with my friends from home or Skype with my family.
Veggie pasta topped with fresh oregano!
To be frank, I really don’t get that much homework here, so I’ll finish the assignment at nighttime and prepare for my next day. Sometimes I’m ready to crash by now, but if not I like to curl up in bed with a good book or watch a couple episodes of That 70’s Show, another guilty pleasure that reminds me of home. When I close my eyes for sleep, I think of how incredibly blessed I am to have this opportunity and realize that tomorrow holds a brand new adventure for me.
Interested in learning about your study abroad options in Peru? Do you want to speak with an alumni about their experience? Looking for more summer options in Latin America? Contact us and #makethedeadline.