One of ISA’s longest tenured staff members anywhere in the world, Michelle McRaney has been part of the ISA family for over 20 years and has helped students going to Lima have the best semester of their lives.
Learn more about her experience with ISA.
ISA – Tell us about your background and history with ISA and with being a Resident Director in Lima.
Michelle – I started working for ISA right out of college. I was the classic case of the American student who studied abroad and whose life was changed forever. I traveled on direct exchanges with my university in France and Mexico, staying two semesters and two summers, that was as much time as was allowed. I knew when I graduated that my mission was to make sure as many of my fellow Americans had a similar experience, and that is why ISA was such a perfect fit. The year was 1998.
ISA – Can you describe why we have the excursions we have in Lima? Which one is your favorite and why?
Michelle – I picked the three overnight destinations in order to highlight the three very distinct geographical regions of Peru: Desert Coast, Amazon Jungle and Andes Highlands. Although I love being in the mountains of Cusco, my favorite location is Iquitos and the Pacaya Samiria National Reserve. I’ve always been a fan of Nat Geo or Discovery Channel documentaries and I feel like I’m on a true adventure when I am in the jungle.
ISA – What’s one of your favorite memories interacting with students?
Michelle – I am very lucky to host small groups of students so I have the unique opportunity to get to know each student individually. However, my favorite memories are usually made during the excursions where we are together for several days in a row, out of our comfort zones completely.
ISA – What is one of the most interesting parts about Lima that not many people would know?
Michelle – Most people associate Machu Picchu as the only place to visit in Peru, but after living in Lima over 13 years, I could not imagine a better happening place. It’s a major capital city located directly on the Pacific Ocean, with daily surfing. The weather is very mild and it never rains… imagine that! I love the sunset skies during the summer, and the variety of delicious food is overwhelming, ceviche being one of my favorites!
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