This week at school was TOUGH. I tried out several different classes, and I was discouraged by many of them. I found that either I couldn’t understand the majority of what the professors were saying or they assigned a LOT of reading (readings that would have been hard enough in english). But….I did find a few professors that speak English and are allowing me to write papers in English, take tests in English, and come to their office hours. I know this kinda seems to defeat the purpose of total immersion, but believe me the poli sci classes here would be hard enough in English and I don’t have the correct Spanish vocab background to understand all the concepts. I’m trying out 4 Poli sci classes (only need 2): Seguridad Internacional, Pensamientos Político Clásico, Justicia y Organismos Públicos, y Temas en Relaciones Internacionales. I’m also taking Quechua 1 y Ant: Etnicidad, Identidad, y Nación. I’ll drop two of the Poli Sci classes before April 8.

I’m sure it will get easier as time progresses…. And I know that going to the beach yesterday definitely helped. It made all the stress of school seem far away. Gonna cut this short though because I have a million things to read.



Combis y más

On Wednesday, all the exchange students met for an orientation. The University in Lima is very safe–there are guards at all the entrances that only let students with ID’s in (carnet? en castellano). We discussed how foreign exchange students sign up for classes here. Basically, we can try out whichever classes we want until March 22. Then on March 22, we have to turn in a finalized list, but we can put extra classes on the list and then drop them before April 8 for free.

Also on Wednesday, I got to meet my “compañera de PUCP.” This is a student that will help me get acclimated to life in Lima and at the University. Her name is Karla, and she is super nice. I could not have asked for a better compañera. She took us to the Plaza San Miguel, a mall near campus, and she also helped us take our first combi from school to our house.

Combis are the buses which make up the public transportation system. They are CRAZY. “Cobradoras” (men at the doors of the combis) yell “sube sube sube sube” y the name of the place they are going. Sube means –get on. The drivers swerve in and out of traffic very quickly. The driving here in Lima is nuts. There are no traffic regulations and no such thing as a “right of way”. In a turn lane in between medians for example, in the US there is normally one car— here there can be five or six. When someone pulls in front of us in the US, we slow down–here they speed up! Combis are the safest and cheapest way to travel, but they are still very scary. There are no schedules for the combis. You just go to a “paradero” (stop) and wait. Then, get on a bus that says your location or ask the cobrador if the bus goes there. You have to make sure you get on the bus in the right direction that you want to go. The bus might say where you want to go, but is going in the opposite direction–then you need to cross the street and take the bus from there.. Seems simple–but a very easy mistake to make.

On Thursday, there were orientations for specific types of classes. For example, you could go to a meeting to learn more about the classes and teacher and difficulty level of the Political Science. Then we went to an obligatory meeting about Security. This meeting made me really scared. The director of the exchange program (programa de intercambios) talked about many scary things. Afterward, Calin and I didn’t ever want to leave our house here again. But the father of your host family assured us that is like every big city–there are parts that are more dangerous than others, especially at night. We do need to be aware of our surroundings and belongings and speak Spanish to each other–but we don’t need to worry all the time, he said. Our district is especially safe and for this I am thankful. However Karla warned us “Tengan cuidado” (be safe, or take care), and we will be sure to follow her advice.

Today, we went to Miraflores with Karla. She showed us the beach and the mall and Parque Kennedy (a very pretty park where lots of cats live) and La Calle de Pizzas (basically a sidewalk with about 10 or 15 different pizza restaurants). We were still scared and tired from the day before, and my stomach hurt from the change in food here. Stomachaches are common for foreigners when they travel to new places, but after awhile my body will adjust. I hope we didn’t seem rude today because were a bit tired, scared, and sick– we really appreciate her showing us around and being so nice to us.

–Here in Lima, there are different districts like Miraflores, Puebla Libre, Jesus Maria, San Borja, Surco, Salamanca, etc.
–Take combis but be aware of theifs
–If you take a taxi, make sure it’s one with a clear windshield that has certification stickers–the most safe are white or yellow in color and the university gives you a list of taxis that you can call
–something cool!!!!! Many of you may know that there are multitudes of squirrels on OU’s campus that allow you to get very close to them –well in the university here (Católica) there are DEER the same way!!!!! (see pictures). And according to Karla they don’t have special words for female, male, and baby deer like doe, buck, and fawn. They are all called “Venado” (deer), except the call the babies “Bambi” at times.
—“de repente” can mean “all of a sudden” or is a synonym for “tal vez, quizas, etc” or “maybe.” Here they frequently use it as maybe
–“Chau” y “nos vemos” are the common ways to say goodbye and they say “aló” for hello on telephones 🙂
—“Chevere” is their word for cool

First Day in Lima!

March 9

Yesterday we left Oklahoma City at 7:10 am, flew to New Jersey, had a 3 hour layover, then arrived in Lima at 10:30 pm their time.

On the plane I met the nicest girl named Cynthia.  Cynthia lives in Lima and goes to San Martín, a different university than the one I will attend (PUCP).  We talked in Spanish and she gave me her bracelet (see pictures).  The bracelet shows Christ hanging on the cross with purple and glitter accents! It’s very similar to a bracelet I purchased in Guadalajara, Mexico, that had the Virgen Guadalupe on it instead. Cynthia and I exchanged emails, and she might travel with us!

Our host family : Soooooo nice, especially the father who is very jolly.  We live with a man (Enrique) and a woman(Ingrid) and their 28 yr old son (Willy). There is also a daughter, 26 yrs, who is visiting her fiance in Holland! I don’t think we’ll get to meet her 🙁  The family has been very accomodating.  Our rent includes breakfast and one other meal, and they said we could choose if we wanted lunch or dinner and that it doesn’t have to be the same one each day.  The house is awesome–I love their decorating style: knick knacky, eclectic, antique,…..

For breakfast this morning Ingrid left us each a little note card that said there was juice and butter and milk in the fridge.  I ate bread with marmalade and drank tea ( blueberry tea that I packed).

Today we’re going to go out into the city and purchase shampoo, soap, a fan, etc.  Tomorrow we have orientation at the University and the next day we enroll for classes.  Monday is our first day of school!

I think I’m going to stop typing now because I’m having difficulty since I have been speaking Spanish frequently now. Will update soon 🙂


-picture link, but only if you have facebook :/
–tried to post pictures on the blog, but am having difficulties. I will try again later 🙂

I am blogging from Norman, Oklahoma.  I leave for Peru 2 weeks from today! As my departure gets closer, I find myself making millions of to-do lists.  My most recent list consisted of the following:

  • Meeting with Alice Kloker about Visa process
  • Appointment with travel nurse at Goddard for vaccinations and malarial medication
  • Buy camera
  • Set my sister up on Skype
  • Register with the US Consulate (
  • Let my bank know I’m leaving the country
  • Laminate/put photo on my ISIC Card
  • Get extra debit card in case I get mugged :/
  • Make a Peru Folder to bring with me consisting of the following:
  1. OU FAN or bank statement to prove financial solvency (for Visa)
  2. Official acceptance letter from PUCP (for Visa)
  3. List of classes I would like to take
  4. Copy of Passport
  5. Homestay address and telephone number
  6. Flight itineraries
  7. Proof of vaccinations/shot record
  • Make copies of documents in my Peru folder for family members/others back home
  • Purchase Atlas Series Travel Health Insurance
  • Brush up on my Spanish
  • Meet with my friend who studied in Lima last spring
  • Sign up for the PUCP compañero program (kinda like OU cousins)
  • Call/email OU Med and make sure I’m caught up on paperwork, etc.
  • Re-make my budget
  • Visit  with the OU Scholars, parents and sister, and other friends before I leave
  • See the new Alice in Wonderland movie coming out March 5th!

The list is long, but it definitely helps to make one when a smooth trip depends on so many factors.

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