Semester in Cusco
Universidad San Ignacio Loyola

Best Value
Gap Year Friendly

Uncover the heart of the Incan empire.

Immerse yourself in Spanish language and Peruvian culture while in the ancient home of the Incan civilization. On our Semester in Cusco program, quickly learn why this great city is a World Heritage Site visited by millions of travelers every year. Study at Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, a small, beautiful campus centrally located so you can explore Cusco, the center of modern indigenous culture in Peru. Take courses in Incan history, photography, and biodiversity, as well as Spanish and Quechua language classes.

What to Expect:

  • Language: English and Spanish
  • Average Courseload: 4-5 courses (12-15 U.S. credits)
  • GPA Requirement: 2.7


  • Immerse yourself in ancient Andean culture and cuisine
  • Easy access to the beautiful Sacred Valley, with ruins, market towns, hiking trails, and more
  • Improve your Spanish and immerse in local culture through a homestay
  • Enjoy many modern conveniences and extensive vibrant nightlife
  • Spanish-language courses at all levels

Program Details

Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola - Cusco

Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola (USIL) is a young, private Peruvian university with an entrepreneurial spirit, whose mission statement is “to shape competent entrepreneurial professionals who are socially responsible and capable of performing successfully, both domestically and internationally.” While the main campus is based in bustling Lima and is home to approximately 6,000 students, the satellite campus in Cusco is quaint and designed specifically for study abroad students wishing to take advantage of the exceptional learning potential of Cusco and its surrounds.

At USIL’s Cusco campus you can study Spanish language at various levels (Beginner, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, Advanced) to help you better understand and interact with the city and its inhabitants. You can also choose from a variety of courses instructed in English, most of which have a local focus in business, humanities, and sciences. Because classes are integrated with the city of Cusco and the surrounding Sacred Valley itself, you’ll get hands-on experience with the community and historical traditions of Cusco. This campus is located just five minutes from the main square of Cusco, the Plaza de Armas.
Accreditation: Ministerio de Educación, Perú

Areas of study with 3 to 7 classes available

  • Art & Design
  • Communications
  • World Languages
  • Natural & Applied Sciences

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

Areas of study which have more than 8 classes available

  • Business

Don't see your major listed here? There may still be courses available. Browse our programs by major.

CIS Abroad partners with Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola (USIL) for the Semester in Cusco program. In addition to all levels of Spanish language (Beginner, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate, Advanced), the following courses will be offered Fall 2020 at USIL’s Cusco campus:

You can mix and match courses from different “tracks.” Please read through the course catalog to see descriptions of the courses offered. Please note that all courses will run subject to sufficient enrollmentso in addition to your first-choice courses, it’s important that you get several alternative courses approved as well!

You can use the courses from previous terms as a good indication of what to expect for your semester, as they don’t typically vary too much from year to year. Once the new courses have been finalized they will be updated here.


If you need more than a course description to get approval from your home university, please let your advisor know. We’d be happy to get you syllabi for these courses.

Why Life in Cusco

Cusco, one of the oldest inhabited cities on the continent, is a traveler’s favorite. But unlike the typical traveler, you can make the city your home for a full summer or semester. Cusco is situated at 11,500 feet in elevation, giving it a brisk mountain climate and beautiful views of the mountains rising up all around it. Lima remains the official capital of Peru. That said, Cusco is the historical capital of the country for its glorious past as the center of Incan civilization. This vibrant, high-elevation city provides the perfect setting for you to study abroad in Peru.

UNESCO declared the entire city a World Heritage site in 1983, and you can easily see why. All around you, you’ll see the marks of Incan civilization, including in Cusco’s population. Consequently, you’ll meet indigenous people on Cusco’s streets speaking in Quechua and wearing traditional dress.

While you can feel the history that surrounds Cusco, you’ll also notice an undeniable sense of modernity. You’re as likely to stroll on cobblestone streets to nearby ruins as you are to attend a salsa lesson at a discoteca. You may listen to Andean flutes or explore the flourishing urban arts scene. Be sure to delve into the city’s coffee culture or simply meander around the Plaza de Armas or Plaza de San Francisco.

Oh, and Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World is nearby, waiting for you. Need we say more?

Live La Vida Local

  • Hiking Trails

    Enjoy breathtaking scenery throughout numerous hikes around Cusco, with many interesting Inca ruins along the way.

  • Plaza de Armas

    A beautiful and vibrant square with great restaurants, museums and shopping!

  • Local Markets

    Enjoy a 'slice of life' in Peru. Experience the day-to-day, living Peruvian culture off the beaten tourist path. Browse for food, gifts, and much more!

Homestay in Peru


Students usually tell us 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. All of the host families have been interviewed and visited to ensure they’ll provide you with a safe and comfortable home during your stay in Cusco. Homestays are a 15-20 minute bus ride from the university, but it is much shorter via taxi. Your host family will provide you with bed linens, utilities, and they’ll even do your laundry!

Check out the photo gallery for photos of past students with their homestay families 🙂


Your host family will provide two delicious meals a day!

Inclusions and Amenities

  • BathroomShared
  • Bed linens
  • CommutePublic Transportation
  • Laundry
  • Meals

What's Included


Program fees are in U.S. dollars and include the following:

  • Excursion to Machu Picchu
  • Full-time tuition and fees
  • Housing (homestay)
  • Two meals per day
  • Medical and accident insurance
  • CIS Abroad 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
  • La Vida Local cultural program

Welcome & Orientation

Upon arrival, you’ll be picked up the airport (nothing like a friendly face after a long flight!) and checked in at your accommodation. In the first few days, take part in both the University and CIS Abroad orientation program, where you’ll learn practical tips for living in Cusco, like where to go out, how to stay safe, where to shop. You’ll also enjoy a local welcome meal!

Farewell & Re-Entry Program

Though you’re not an astronaut returning from space, re-entering your home culture after being abroad can be shocking to the system. Your site director will walk you through some of the things to expect, reflecting on stories about your time abroad so that you can remember the highlights.

Program Excursions

While participating on a CIS Abroad program, you'll be able to take part in built-in day trips at no additional cost. These trips are subject to change from term to term; listed below are excursions that have run in the past.
Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is the best-known archaeological site on the continent, and it’s an UNESCO World Heritage Site and a New Seven Wonders of the World. You’ll explore this “The Lost City of the Incas,” which has a breathtaking backdrop of natural mountains and valleys.

Sacred Valley

Sacred Valley

Visit the Sacred Valley to explore ancient towns where Quechua is still spoken more than Spanish. Here, ancient ruins are still being discovered and the beautiful Andes mountians look like they go on forever. The excursion includes lunch and a guided tour of many ruins.

Sacsayhuaman and other impressive archaeological sites near Cusco

Sacsayhuaman and other impressive archaeological sites near Cusco

This excursion includes Pre-Incan, Incan, and Spanish sites such as the ancient citadel of Sacsayhuaman (complete with a great view overlooking Cusco!), Coricancha (the Incan “sun house” with a Dominican convent as a backdrop), Cusco’s impressive Incan city walls (constructed without the use of mortar) and other sites that demonstrate the blend of Pre-Incan, Incan, and Spanish architecture prevalent in Cusco.

Site Director

Mila (Milagro) Montufar Paz
Travel Tip:

Cusco and the surrounding areas are some of the most beautiful places to explore in all of Peru (and maybe the world). Bring comfortable shoes and be prepared to do a lot of walking!

Travel Tip:

Cusco and the surrounding areas are some of the most beautiful places to explore in all of Peru (and maybe the world). Bring comfortable shoes and be prepared to do a lot of walking!


Milagro was born in Cusco, Peru where she completed her primary and secondary studies, as well as her bachelor’s degree in accounting. After graduating, she began working for a variety of public and private institutions, including serving as the director of the Charity Pharmacies of Cusco. Mila has also worked for many different municipalities as a supplies and logistics specialist and held the post of Administrative Director for the Municipality of Urubamba. In 2003 she joined the ProPeru, which hosted study and internship opportunities for international participants in and around Cusco and the Sacred Valley. Mila later assumed the post of Administrative Director of ProPeru in 2009 where she was very highly regarded. Most recently, Mila has been working on her master’s degree in administration with a focus on tourism at La Universidad San Antonio Abad del Cusco.

Your Support Staff

CIS Abroad Advising & Support
Travel Tip:

You’ll be supported every step of the way!

Global Advising

Our advising team will help match you with a program that fits your academic and personal needs. Once you have selected your program our advisor will help you complete your Online Application.

Program Enrollment

Once you’ve started your application and submitted the $90 deposit, you’ll be assigned a program enrollment coordinator who will guide you through the enrollment process to get you abroad!

Alexandra Woolner
Travel Tip:

Expect the unexpected! Sometimes culture shock is stronger in countries where you expect things to be more similar to your home country and environment. Traveling abroad is an excellent way to learn more about your own culture, habits, style, and adaptability.

COVID-19 Plan

We believe that study abroad is still possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, but certain policies and procedures will need to be in place to ensure every student can be safe and healthy during their semester abroad.

Learn more about CIS Abroad’s Risk Management Team’s three step process for operating  our programs around the world and important program refund policies.

Read more below for information related to this program:

Program Suspended

This program is currently not available for the Academic Year 2021/22. Please consider other options by exploring our Open Semester Programs in 2022, Open January Programs in 2022, or consider a Virtual Internship.

We monitor international indicators and health standards in the country where we operate and our risk management team makes decisions based on those factors and our own policy. We will reopen programs as we are able.

Dates & Prices

ADVISOR TIP: Please WAIT to book flights until you have received confirmed dates in your acceptance paperwork. Dates posted here are subject to change.

  • Application Deadline: Nov 1 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: January 15 (Estimated)
  • Departure: May 8 (Estimated)
  • Price: $11,290 - $12,390 (Estimated)
  • Application Deadline: Jun 15 (Estimated)
  • Arrival: August 6 (Estimated)
  • Departure: November 27 (Estimated)
  • Price: $11,290 - $12,390 (Estimated)
Additional Information:

Lower end of range: Homestay
Higher end of range: Apartment

As with all study abroad programs, you should count on a few additional expenses.

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