Study Abroad in Lima, Peru




Lima, Peru

Explore Lima’s culture, history, and social climate through coursework and visits to historical sites. The Sarah Lawrence College in Lima program allows students with a high level of Spanish fluency to learn in the nation’s capital, one of the most culturally and ecologically diverse sites for study abroad in Latin America.


Students take one core course and three electives during their semester in Lima. As part of the core course, students produce a research project, directed by the instructor or program coordinator through bi-weekly individual meetings.

Students also select three electives from the wide-ranging curriculum offered by the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP), one of the most prestigious institutions of higher learning in Latin America.

Core Course

All students enroll in a core class taught exclusively for Sarah Lawrence College students. This class explores the rich history and culture of Peru and includes trips in and around Lima.

Visits include museums, archeological sites, the colonial center and its churches, the Republican mansions from the 19th century, and various locations that enable students to learn about Lima’s culture (ranging from marginal neighborhoods to art galleries and markets). Students will also travel to Cuzco, Ollantaytambo, and Macchu Picchu.


All students enroll in three electives, selected from the wide array of courses offered through PUCP. 

Elective courses selected must be pre-approved by Isabel DeSena, professor of Spanish literature and language at Sarah Lawrence College. Dr. DeSena will meet with all students to discuss and approve courses prior to their arrival in Lima. 

The Lima program director provides assistance with PUCP registration during the orientation period.

Living in Lima

Cultural and ecological diversity, varied and stunning landscapes, and a wealth of archeological and historical sites make Peru an ideal location for study abroad in Latin America.


  • Students are required to reside with host families. Sarah Lawrence College, the Office of International Studies at PUCP, and the local program coordinator assess appropriate neighborhoods, families, and living conditions.

  • Students typically live in Miraflores, one of the older districts in Lima, filled with beautiful examples of old houses, mansions, and traditional small urban estates that signify earlier periods.

The Miraflores Neighborhood

  • Miraflores boasts a busy commercial center filled with boutiques, shops, department stores, and crafts markets. It is one of the city centers for art galleries, movie houses, theatres, museums, cafés, and bookstores, as well as cultural centers such as the Alliance Française, the British Institute, and the Instituto Cultural Peruano-Norteamericano, which host a wide range of activities.

  • The Miraflores neighborhood faces the ocean, perched on the cliffs along the Lima coast, and the waterfront offers a variety of activities. 

  • Miraflores is one of the greenest areas of the city, boasts one of the most efficient security systems, and is well served by the public transportation system that connects it to all of Lima.

Cultural Activities & Excursions

The Sarah Lawrence College in Lima program includes a series of visits to a number of locations in and around Lima, such as its historical colonial area, the bohemian and cultural area of Barranco, and the peripheral neighborhoods with their vibrant chicha culture.

Volunteer Opportunities

Class in LimaVolunteer work is one of the best ways to practice and learn a foreign language, enhance the experience of living in another country, and gain first-hand exposure to its culture and issues.


PUCP’s Academic Office of Social Responsibility (Dirección Académica de Responsabilidad Social, or DARS) oversees a wide range of projects, on and off campus. On-campus projects include the creation of groups to address particular issues, like gay rights or gender-based violence. Off campus, DARS partners with organizations that do volunteer work. 

Students involved in DARS can develop working groups for their own projects. Projects can be connected to arts and other academic courses, or lead to the development of thesis and dissertations.


  • Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (The National Coordinator for Human Rights) is the reference point for human rights organizations in Latin America. They focus on seven main areas: reparations for human rights abuses between 1980 and 2000, legal defense, support for indigenous peoples, post-traumatic stress, citizen mobilization, prison work, and media campaigns. The environment is safe, and students work with a young, dynamic staff. Students can volunteer to do graphic design, web design, paint murals, and more.

  • Pachacamac works at a major pre-Inca and Inca ceremonial site (Patrimony of Humanity) located outside of Lima, where only a relatively small portion has been excavated and restored. They work to create awareness of cultural and historical patrimony, and develop workshops for children to teach them about the site, history, drawing, and painting. Students can get involved with excavation, leading tours, developing teaching materials, and teaching children.

  • Escuela D1 is a dance-based community project started by dancer Vania Macias to help children and youth in vulnerable neighborhoods. They have two sites, one in Chorrillos (Lima), and the other in Pachacutec. 

  • Cajamarquilla, or Women Weavers, helps women (typically those displaced by the civil war in the 1980s who have moved from the inland region to the Lima area) develop weaving workshops. The workshops teach the women to organize themselves, become financially independent, and learn a range of weaving skills. Cajamarquilla is outside Lima and transportation to this site can be difficult due to distance, but a student interested in textiles and community work can ride with the director one or two times per week.

  • Alto-Peru is a project started by two young men in a very poor neighborhood of Lima. They started by teaching the children how to surf and have diversified their work to include an annual street fair; dance, gym, painting, and music workshops for children; community-based projects (painting houses, cleaning streets); and more. Due to the nature of the neighborhood, student volunteers are required to work in close proximity to program directors.


The highly selective Sarah Lawrence in Lima program is open to juniors and seniors from Sarah Lawrence College and other universities. The program is open for the spring semester. Only students with at least two years of college-level Spanish should apply.

Applications & Deadlines

The Sarah Lawrence College in Peru application, as well as the application for PUCP, are both due to the International Programs Office by October 15.

Tuition & Fees

Students are charged the cost of Sarah Lawrence tuition each semester. Additional semester costs include:

Room with breakfast & dinner


Study Abroad medical insurance*


Personal Expenses (includes local transportation, lunches, etc.)


*Students still need to have their own coverage or coverage through the Sarah Lawrence plan to ensure they are adequately covered before they leave the US and upon their return.

Financial Aid

Sarah Lawrence College students who normally receive financial aid may apply their awards to any College-sponsored program abroad.

Sarah Lawrence College offers limited financial assistance to guest students on this program. Students should consult their home school's financial aid office for guidance on other financial aid resources.

For more information about Sarah Lawrence financial aid options, e-mail the Office of International Programs.