Study Abroad With A Twist
Updated: Mar 9
My name is Briaunna and I am a university student from North Carolina who loves learning languages and any opportunity to travel. From a young age, I knew I wanted to travel abroad, and as soon as I heard of the study abroad programs offered at my university, I knew that would be something I would be very interested in. I have always been fascinated with the Spanish language and have been learning it for a while. So, after doing heavy research on the Spanish-speaking countries that were available for an exchange, I decided that Lima, Peru would be a great destination for me.
After not being able to study abroad the previous semester due to academic reasons and working double shifts all summer to save up for the trip, I was very excited to finally leave for Peru. The day came for me to leave and I remember saying goodbye to my family and friends. I was sad to leave them for so long, but very excited to enjoy this next chapter of my life abroad.
As I arrived in Peru, I saw how it was very different from the US. It seemed like every little thing was different: from the way the US looks from a plane to the way Peru looked from a plane to the airport, to everyone speaking Spanish around me. Even the bathrooms were different, and the style of clothing everyone was wearing was different; I noticed that everyone around me dressed a little bit more modestly and less revealing clothes despite the hot weather. It felt like a whole new world. Seeing the country by plane and through the airport was a very interesting and cool experience, and it was time for my Spanish-speaking skills to be tested.
I was able to navigate through the airport completely in Spanish, and there, my host family greeted me and picked us up from the airport. They were so kind and sweet. On the way to my host family's house, I noticed that the roads were so different, and in Peru, there are huge “glorietas' ' (roundabouts). They were larger than any roundabout I have seen in the US. It was very interesting to see how different everything was and I loved every minute of it. My host family's house was beautiful and I was ready to start my Peruvian experience.
My roommate and I took the day to shower and unpack. I unpacked quicker than I ever have in my life because I was eager to explore Peru as soon as I could. We walked around the block because we lived near many restaurants and grocery stores and tried what Peru is known for, its delicious food. The food was great, I got to try Peruvian “Pollo a la brasa” (grilled chicken), Lomo Saltado (A steak dish), and Peruvian-style sushi. Everything was delicious and it was exciting to get to practice my Spanish by ordering food.
As a few days passed of exploring the neighborhood, touring the University we would go to, and getting situated and comfortable with being in Peru, we heard the news of the Coronavirus. We did not think it was a big deal and did not know how serious the virus really was because, well, a “pandemic” has never happened in our lifetimes and we didn't think anything like that could take away our study abroad experience. Later, we heard the unfortunate news that we might have to return home. We were heartbroken and I remember crying with my study abroad, friend. We decided that we wanted to at least travel to “Miraflores,” the city by the beach before we had to possibly leave.
We had the best time there, I got to see “El Parque de Amor” (the park of love), the beach, and all of the other beautiful things Miraflores offers. I had a great time. The next day we went to “El Centro de Lima” where we got to see museums and where the President of Peru lives; that was a great day, but a worrisome night because we had some difficulties getting back, and kind of got stranded! That's all a part of the experience though, so we weren't stressed. Finally, we arrived home and unfortunately, were notified that we would have to return home, after only five days of being abroad. We were very upset, but we knew that it would be the best option. I returned home very sad to have to leave so soon.
However, after being there for only five days, I felt like I learned so much Spanish so quickly. I enjoyed my time in Peru and I am grateful to have had that experience. Though this experience was short, I learned a lot in a short amount of time about the country. Hopefully, I will be able to return to beautiful Peru in the future.
(El Centro De Lima, Peru)