8 Things I Wish I Knew Before Leaving for Lima

Serena Spence is a student at Georgia College and State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is studying abroad with ISA in Lima, Peru.

Lima is an endlessly beautiful and thrilling city, but be warned, it’s quite the change of pace from American life! Here are the 8 things I wish I knew before I jumped into this peruana lifestyle.

1.       R.I.P. sun:

I knew I was heading into Peruvian winter, and everyone said it would be cold despite the average temperature being 68 F, but nobody ever told me that I would never see the sun. We have gone as long as two weeks before the sun finally showed, but when it does, it is glorious!

2.       Peruvian winter has all the seasons:

This relates to the first point. When the sun is hiding it can be very cold and you will need a warm jacket. Then when the sun comes out it can be very warm, so pack for everything!

3.       Everything you learned in Spanish class is useful:

This should probably be a given, but it is a good idea to review your Spanish before arriving in Lima! It will be very helpful.

4.       Kiss kiss:

Greetings are very personal here in Peru. If you walk into a room with 11 people you had better believe you’re going to go say hello to each person individually with a single kiss on the cheek. Not saying hello with a kiss can be seen as rude in Peruvian culture.

5.       Just because Peru has some of the best coffee in the world doesn’t mean that the locals drink it:

As an avid coffee drinker I was very excited about getting some home-grown Peruvian coffee while abroad. I was disappointed to discover that coffee is mainly an export here and most locals just drink instant coffee. As it turns out, Starbucks is one the best places to get local Peruvian coffee!

6.       Chill man:

Before leaving for Peru I remember thinking to myself how tired I was of being busy. Luckily for me, Lima is just the opposite! While the city itself is always bustling, the pace of life is much slower here. People walk slower, your food is prepared slower and you will wait endlessly in the grocery store lines. Your time is not money here, so enjoy the moment!

7.       Almuerzo is kind of a big deal:

As someone who snacks all day long then eats a huge dinner, this was probably the hardest adjustment. Lunch is the biggest meal of the day and is usually eaten around 1 or 2 p.m. and can last as long as three hours depending on the day.  Dinner is usually leftovers from lunch or sometimes just dessert.

8.       That international phone plan is definitely worth it:

Traveling can be difficult here, especially since it gets dark around 6 and everyone in ISA lives all over the city, so depending just on Wi-Fi can make it difficult to meet up with people and get back home.

The world awaits…discover it.

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