Semester in Cusco

Program Information

Cusco is a unique blend of ancient and modern, as the city that is now a tourist hub was originally established by the Inca and built up by the Spanish colonials. This vibrant, high-elevation city provides the perfect setting for you to study abroad in Peru. Start getting excited about:

 Traditional Peruvian culture and a rich history - Cusco retains much of its legacy as the center of the impressive Incan civilization, as they consider it the "belly button of the world." Incan influences are still very much present today, as many locals adorn the colorful outfits, speak Quechua, and maintain many customs and beliefs of the ancient Inca. Museums, libraries, and archaeological sites relating to the Inca abound in Cusco and surrounding areas.

Incredible sights - Cusco is in a high valley, flanked by arguably the most beautiful mountain range in the world. The climate is delightful, the sun is bright, and the people are warm and welcoming. This region is home to amazing landmarks like Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu, and is also filled with beautiful mountain views, traditional Quechua communities, llamas, salt flats, market towns, and ancient ruins.

A quaint program focusing on Spanish language and Peruvian culture - The program takes place at a small satellite campus of a Peruvian university, developed specifically with study abroad students in mind. You can study Spanish language at any level and choose from a variety of courses focused on Peru's history and culture. Both classes and extracurriculars will take you out to explore the city and the many archaeological sites.

Highlights and Excursions

If you've ever wanted to study abroad in Peru, then check out our Semester in Cusco program! Here are a few of the key highlights that make this program unique.
  • Beautiful Sacred Valley with ruins, market towns, mountain hiking, and more 
  • Study Spanish in the Andes: Spanish-language courses at all levels 
  • Students from around the world 
  • Classes in diverse subjects in English 
  • Superb university 
  • Strong on-site support from the University staff 
  • Great, inexpensive Andean cuisine, including local specialty cuy (guinea pig!) 
  • The Cusco region has more than 2,000 types of potatoes to try! 
  • Heart of the Incan and other pre-Hispanic empires 
  • Colorful indigenous and religious festivals
While on your semester in Cusco you’ll have the chance to take an overnight trip to one of the 7 wonders of the world – Machu Picchu! Here’s a little bit information about what you’ll be able to see:

Machu Picchu Situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley, Machu Picchu is the best known archaeological site on the continent and is not only on the UNESCO world-heritage list, but is also one of the ancient natural wonders of the world. Originally built in the 1400s and situated almost 8000 feet above sea level, Machu Picchu is an estate built for the Incan empire and is often referred to as ‘The Lost City of the Incas’ as the entire estate was hidden from the Spanish during their conquest. Set on a breathtaking backdrop of natural mountains and valleys, Machu Picchu is definitely a site to be seen.

Additionally, there are two day trips included in your semester for extensive tours of city ruins and a visit to Sacred Valley, a valley in the Andes that contains numerous archaeological remains and villages.


On Semester in Cusco, you will have two choices of housing at your disposal.

Apartments: If you choose to live in student apartments, you will live in “La Casa de Don Ignacio,” just a few blocks from the main square, Plaza de Armas. Each dorm style apartment offers shared bedrooms, bathrooms, a living room, a small kitchen with a stove and refrigerator, a television and wireless internet access. The residence building has a TV room and computer room that all students will have access to. Housekeeping and changing sheets is included in the housing, and laundry can be done for the students who are charged a fee based on the weight of the clothing, which is returned and ironed after washing. Breakfast is provided to all students but other meals are self-catered. Students who prefer to live in a single room can do so for a different rate. By living a few blocks from the main square, you’ll enjoy the many attractions offered by the city of Cusco while you enjoy your home away from home!

Homestays: Students usually report that living in a homestay was their favorite part of studying abroad. You’ll get to truly immerse ycourself in Peruvian culture by living with a family and getting an inside look at life in Cusco. Two delicious meals a day are provided, along with bed linens, utilities, and laundry services. All of the host families have been interviewed and visited to make sure that they will provide you with a safe and comfortable home during your stay in Cusco.


Courses include architecture, art and design, biodiversity, cultural studies, history, photography, and Spanish language.

Course Description and Catalog:

Spanish (Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced)
You’ll develop the language skills you need to express ideas and understand everyday needs.

History of the Inca Civilization (English)
Learn the prehistory of civilizations in the central Andean region, with critical and updated opinion about the studied historical periods and the great Inca Civilization.

Contemporary Society and Culture of Peru (English)
Peruvian society has undergone a series of transformations enriched by Andean, Occidental, and Amazonian traditions. These transformations will be addressed from  historical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives.

Biodiversity of Peru (English) 
Peru’s astonishing biodiversity puts it among the top 12 most biodiverse countries in the world. This theoretical course will focus on developing the skills needed to analyze and value the components of biodiversity. You’ll identify the potentials of this biodiversity and the tools needed for its sustainable use and conservation.

Inca Architecture (English)
This amazing course will develop knowledge of, as well as interest in, the concepts, techniques, and architecture and urban management of Andean society represented by the Inca culture.

Art & Design in Cusco (English)
The course is aimed at critical analysis of the history of Cusco’s art from a visual perspective, creating new spaces for reflection.  Artistic expressions from the different periods of its cultural development are studied and interpreted, within the framework of their particular contexts of time and space.

Photography (English)
While in Cusco, you’ll take hundreds of photographs. In order to have the best shots, you’ll learn the photographic production process, including the study of visual treatment, lighting and mastery of digital photography resources. You will take the best photos of Machu Picchu, rivers, churches, archaeological sites, markets, and people, using the appropriate composition and measures.

Latin American Literature (Spanish)
This theoretical-practical course develops the skills you need to read critically and value Latin American literature through detailed analysis of poetry and novels.

Business in Peru and Latin America (English)
The objective of this course is to introdcue the student to the Peruvian Economy, the policital and economic forcers shaping business activities, and the national challenges ahead to obtain social progress. The course also looks at how these factors influence Latin America as a whole and the influence other Latin American countries has on Peru. Finally, the course looks at recent successful Peruvian marketing strategies.

Andean Nutrition (English)
The purpose of this course is to familiarize students with the nutritional wealth of Andean crops and their significance in the population's nutrition, comparing them with other crops and their influence and importtance regarding the world food supply. Healthy recipes will be developed using these products as ingredients. Lastly, we will review the type of Andean crops being exported to the USA, Europe, etc.

This is a practical and experiential course in which students use their knowledge in situation that simulate real communication with other speakers of the Andean language. The course is geared toward students' use of the four language skills (reading, writing, speaking and listening) to communicate at a basic level through the acquisition of general knowledge of grammar and vocabulary that will enable them to establish communication with the rural Quechua-speaking population in ordinary situations.

Campus Setting

Small city

Average Course Load

5 courses (15 US credits)

GPA Requirement


Language of Instruction

English and Spanish

Program Dates

Spring 2014*:

Start Date: January 16
End Date: May 10

Fall 2014*:

Start Date: August 14
End Date: December 6

Program Fee


*Cost may change at any time due to current exchange rate.


  • Excursion to Machu Picchu
  • Full-time tuition & fees
  • Housing and some meals
  • Pre-departure and onsite orientation
  • Airport pick-up
  • Medical & accident insurance
  • Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola official transcript
  • Carbon offset of travel & Green Travel Guide

How to Apply

  • Set up an appointment with Frances Weiner,
  • Fill out the CISabroad Online Application
  • Pay the $200 application deposit*
*This is NOT an extra fee, but is a non-refundable deposit applied towards your total progam fee. You will be directed to pay this after completing the online application.