The Peruvian Exchange
My name is Myrthe van den Reek, and I am a 5th year Bachelor Squared student. Last year I helped creating our 2017-2018 almanac as a member of the Marketing Committee of FAECTOR. To keep FAECTOR close nowadays, I am running around with my green canvas bag in Peru. Yes, Machu Picchu, Alpaca, Avocado Peru! Then last week, I was asked to write about my exchange for Estimator, which of course I love to do.
I have been living in Peru for over 3 months now, yet it still feels very unreal and strange to call Lima “my home”. Lima is an enormous city (12 million inhabitants) and is different from Rotterdam in so many ways , but they are similar in the fact that you really need to know where to go in order to have a good time. Therefore, it took quite a bit of adjustment when I first moved to Lima. As an introduction, I would like to first share with you what I love and what I like less about the city.
Let’s start positive:
- Lima is at the sea.
In July I traveled up to Máncora where I spent two weeks learning to surf. Back in Lima, I moved to Miraflores and I can literally walk to the sea in my wetsuit and be in the water within 15 minutes. Fingers crossed I come back with some skills.
The food is AMAZING (and really cheap).
For 40 soles (10 euro) you can have the best dish in a good restaurant OR enjoy unlimited sushi. For 10-15 soles you get a menu (starter, main and drink) at local restaurants. And honestly, everything is mega delicious.
If you, like me, have a Spotify playlist with Daddy Yankee, Bad Bunny and Maluma, Lima is your place to be: you will be dancing to your favorite music in every club. But it does not stop there, they play it in the bus, in the stores… Pretty much everywhere you go.
Peru = Inefficiency
Maybe it’s because I am Dutch, but I have this thing for efficiency. However, I realised this was a lost battle, because Peruvians are everything but efficient. They are so slow, to the point it drives me crazy.
It is a man’s world
With an 80/20 ratio at econometrics I thought that I would be perfectly prepared for this masculine society… Wrong. Gender inequality is a big problem here, making it quite uncomfortable and dangerous for girls at times. Not nice to write but is the truth unfortunately.
I am always cold
The sunny photos on Instagram are a lie. In winter you do not see the sun for a week and a half and then you are blessed with one sunny afternoon. Everywhere in Peru the weather is great, except from my exchange city.
Then a little more about my daily life. Let’s start with university, as that is the aim of my presence here. I learn about project and export management as my economic courses, but my true enjoyment lies with my non-economic courses. I have a very nice course about the foreign relations between US and Latin America and one about Women and Development. However interesting they are, these courses are nowhere as demanding as our econometrics curriculum, which leaves plenty of time for other activities….
The main ingredient for my week is sport. Since I live in Miraflores (at the sea) I surf a lot (almost every day) and last week I even bought my own board. This truly was a milestone for me, as I can now surf whenever and wherever I want. Furthermore, I found a great boxing club, so I can keep practicing here in Lima as well. Then there are the many, many social activities with all the other exchange students, the highlight being Wednesday night in club Bizarro (Laag gaan like in Vrienden Live). My friends are mainly exchange students and together we are discovering many places in Peru. Just to name a few, we sandboarded in a desert oasis, learned to surf in Máncora, held anacondas and sloths (YAY) in the Jungle of Iquitos and took a cargo boat for 5 days on the Amazon River. To never forget these crazy places and situations, I write about them. This is my other main activity in Lima: I started a travel website, www.travelswellspent.com, to write about my exchange experience!
All in all, life is good here on the other side of the world. The adjusting phase is over, and I am in love with Lima. I would most definitely recommend it as an exchange destination - you will not regret it. For now, I will just keep posting photos and writing blog posts to convince you. May you ever have any questions about it, you would only do me a favour to let me answer them!
Permanenzca de lo major y hasta luego!
Cruising the Amazon at sunrise