Thousands of years ago, the Inca civilization thrived in Peru until the invasion of the Spanish conquistadors. Today, Peru contains a blend of both cultures. Peru’s main attractions for tourists are the stunningly beautiful mountain trails through the Peruvian Andes, the colorful indigenous culture, and the ruins of the once-powerful Inca empire, which extended its influence up and down the Pacific coast of South America in the 15th and 16th centuries. The most spectacular of the Incan ruins, located near the ancient and still populated Incan capital of Cuzco, is the beautiful mountain site of Machu Picchu, the legendary “Lost City of the Incas.”
Peru is an equatorial country with a great variety of climates, thanks to the influence of the Andes Mountains and ocean currents. Arid and dry-tropical plains on the coast contrast with the Amazon Rainforest of the interior and the towering peaks of the Andes in the south.Although a developing country, nearly a third of the population of twenty-eight million live in metropolitan Lima, the nation’s capital and center of economic activity. The historic center of Lima was designated a UNESCO world heritage site for its colonial architecture and churches. Most of the universities in Peru are located in Lima. Overall, this is a wonderful destination to become immersed in the past and appreciate the traditional way of life.
The climate on the coast is relatively cool with light precipitation. The Andes mountains are also cooler, and precipitation increases with elevation. The extensive Amazon Rain Forest Basin in the eastern part of the country is very wet with high temperatures and humidity.
Religion and Festivals
Roman Catholicism, sometimes mixed among the indigenous peoples with traditional beliefs, is the predominant religion. About 10% of the populations declare Protestant faiths.
Lima’s international airport sees considerable international traffic and fares are priced accordingly. Transportation within the country happens mainly through buses, minibuses, and taxis. There are two train routes running between Machu Picchu and Cuzco, and Lima and Huancayo, which are noted for the incredible scenic views they offer, which may be inaccessible otherwise.
Peru is known for its long Amerindian and Spanish history. The National University of San Marcos is one of the oldest in the Americas. It was founded by royal charter in 1551.The Pontifical Catholic University of Peru is a prestigious private university. It is ranked in the top 500 of schools worldwide by QS, which rates it highly in arts and humanities. Other well known schools include the National University of Trujillo, and the private University of Lima.
There are many scholarships to fund your study abroad experience. Here is a list of Diversity Abroad scholarships available for study in this country:
For more scholarships, visit Scholarships for Study Abroad in Peru
If you have studied abroad in Peru, consider creating a profile and sharing your experience. What you have to say could help inspire another student considering studying abroad. You can also submit an article to be considered for publication on our website.
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Also, here are some links to potential opportunities for students who have studied abroad and graduates interested in work opportunities in Peru.
Due to the historic and ancient nature of many sites frequented by students and tourists throughout the country, students with limited physical abilities will find navigating this terrain to be challenging. There are very few places that are known to provide accommodations for those with little mobility, so if you are a student that identifies as such, be sure to consult with your program or in=country staff for additional information.
Amerindian 45%, mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 37%, white 15%, black, Japanese, Chinese, and other 5%
Peru is a country students often choose to study abroad in so as to improve their Spanish language skills, learn more about indigenous culture -- especially to explore Incan ruins -- as well its remarkable archaeology.
It would be impossible not to visit Machu Picchu, the UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the "new seven wonders of the world" in 2007. Explore the Inca Trail as you make your way there, and marvel at the beauty of the Sacred Valley as well.
Are you ready for Peru? Here are few essential resources to help make your trip a success:
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