This week, we are offering you our second interview!
Martin – being passionate about Latin America – decided to do a semester-long exchange in Peru. You’ll know all about his story later on!
Have fun reading,
The S’Konnection Team! ✈
⌘ Presentation of the student:
My name is Martin Jolivet, and I’ve done my first year at SKEMA in Lille. My passions are basketball, rap, and traveling, so I couldn’t wait to do an exchange as soon as my third semester at SKEMA.
Right now, I am studying at ESAN in Lima for a semester, and I’m leaving to SKEMA’s Raleigh campus for my 4th semester.
⌘ Why choosing this destination?
I actually really chose Lima by eliminating the other destinations.
It all happened as follows: I absolutely wanted to study a semester in a Hispanic country, and the other in an Anglo-Saxon country. I knew as a fact that many Skemians – as well as many friends of mine — were to go to Raleigh for the 4th semester, so I decided my Hispanic semester wsould be the 3rd semester.
Then, how did I chose the destination? I really wanted to go to Latin America. I started out by wanting to go study in Argentina, but it wasn’t possible with SKEMA. As a consequence, I examined every possible exchange offered by our beloved college (which was unfortunately a very tight range compared to what we are offered on other continents, considering Latin America is very culturally wealthy).
So finally, after all my researches, I rapidly found out ESAN (in Peru) was the best destination for me, considering the traveling-studies ratio. Actually, ESAN is one of the best universities in Latin America that have a partnership with SKEMA. Plus, Peru is a country my curiosity has always wanted to visit (with the Machu Picchu, the Cordillera of the Andes…).
⌘ What are the steps to study there? Is there a need of a visa?
SKEMA has guided me all along the way, sending e-mails all the time. So we’re always informed about our situation, there’s no problem about it.
But yeah, a visa is needed. SKEMA and ESAN helps a lot with all this. But even considering this, paperwork stays paperwork, huh, it’s boring. But I can tell you going to Peru is REALLY simpler than going to the US.
⌘ How did you live your arrival in Lima?
At first, I felt a little stranded, but that’s normal. Lima is a gigantic city, more than a third of Peru’s habitants live there (about 11 out of 30 million people).
Moreover, public transports there are really different than in France or Europe: everything is managed by private companies. So we need to get used to it to understand everything. But then everything really flows along by itself. Basically, Lima is like Paris without a subway.
But even with all this, I had no problem arriving there. Everything happened perfectly well since the land-owner of the first flat I was sharing spoke French perfectly well and came to pick me up at the airport. If you wish to contact him, you can always ask me by message. The flat is really great, as well as the atmosphere there. The only problem is that it’s very far from ESAN facilities (there’s like one hour or one hour and a half of public transport, because of all the traffic).
I adapted really easily to the life there thanks to my French flat-mate. But it was also thanks to ESAN which assigns everyone to a Buddy/Junior assistant. This process is actually kind of Esans’s S’konnection, and my buddy has always been treating me perfectly.
⌘ What can you say about the lifestyle? The welcoming University?
The style of life in Lima is actually very European-like. And even more in the swell blocks like Miraflores where the expatriates live. But then, we still feel everything is really smoother than in France; here, they don’t get mad about anything. For me, leaving Lima and traveling to the neighboring regions (which is as easy as it is cheap) is what lost me completely.
The atmosphere in the university is also pretty cool. It really appears to be a university but with 40 students max per class. This situation is actually great to have the occasion of speaking Spanish, mainly if you are the only foreign student, the class gringo, haha.
⌘ How is organized your student life? And the courses you take?
My student life didn’t really change after my first year at SKEMA: everybody studies at the last moment. Frankly, the courses I applied for are easy but not really stimulating. But considering the student life organization, there’s nothing to be afraid of, we’re not under tons of work. It’s just that I find the university very high-school-ish.
You need to know Peru’s level at the Pisa test isn’t very high, and I can feel it. We have a of of books to read, with exams on them. I really feel like I’m back in high-school concerning the courses’ substances.
⌘ What are the differences between studying in France and in Peru?
First, the language, obviously! As well as the fact we have to understand and speak Spanish all the time, and the fact of being the only foreign student in the class. It’s very interesting and rewarding.
Then, there’s another thing we need to get used to: the atmosphere in class, and being late. Here, everybody, without exception, gets to class late, and even several professors… Plus, in class, everyone goes in or out without asking the permission to go to the restroom, for example. There is a constant movement in class. Lessons appear less formal than in France whereas concerning the lesson’s substances – as I said earlier – is more high-school-ish.
⌘ How did you found your housing?
I’ve had two flats.
The first one was in Barranco. It was great to get used to the city. I was sharing the flat with other French students, and the land-owner was living beneath us (we had two stories of the building for us). But I only stayed there a month because it was too far from ESAN, even if Barranco is my favorite block in Lima, leading Miraflores. The flat was alright, cozy enough but not perfectly comfy. I was paying 250€ a month.
The second flat was in Miraflores, next to the Angamos avenue, which is – in my opinion – the best way to reach ESAN: it’s direct and, only, 30-40 minutes away. I upgraded my standings for this flat: pool on the roof, totally new flat… I now pay $350 monthly, which is around 300€.
You sure have already noticed life costs are very low here. For example, there are many Peruvian restaurants where we can eat a complete meal (starter, main course, desert, and beverage) for less than 3€.
Also, I was able to travel for long 4-5-day weekends for less than 100€! Talking about traveling, I really advice you to follow “What to do” trips, which are organized for students on exchanges and always on low fares.
⌘ What is there to see in Lima?
Everything I’ve visited is to visit: Iquitos, the Nazca lines, Huaras and its magnificent treks (there you can see the well-known Laguna 69), Cusco as well as the Sacred Valley, and finally, Machu Picchu. At the start of your stay, it’s nice to go check out Ica/Huacachina and the Ballestas islands because it’s close to Lima, provides a massive change of scenery, and very easily reachable (thanks to What to do or Erasmus Peru).
Next, I advice you to go see Arequipa and the Titicaca lake, which I unfortunately haven’t had the chance to go check out. Also, I plan to go to Trujillo for its beaches before coming back to France for Christmas. I want to come back to France very suntanned. In fact, the weather is bad 24/7 during this time of year.
And finally, free are you to go check out any other spots. There are so many wonderful things to see in this country you’ll have no excuse to run from Lima.
⌘ What did you like the most/the least during your exchange in Lima?
As you may have figured out, all the travels were a big pro. Furthermore, I now feel more at my ease in Spanish, and that’s also a pretty good pro. I can now easily speak with Peruvians and that’s pretty badass!
Also, the Peruvian food is very different than in Europe, even in fruits for example. When we get out of Lima, we rapidly learn about the real Peruvian un-Occidentalized culture, as well as the Inca culture we can feel in many places.
Plus, our buying power is massive here, and that’s cool. 1€ is now like more than 3,7 nuevos soles. And, to give you an idea of life costs, I regularly eat in small restaurants for 8-12 soles (2-3€) or at Burger King for 15-20 soles (4-5€), and 5-day travels cost around 300 soles (80€)… J
PS: I’m not a party hard kinda guy but for those people, you can really have fun here!
On the cons side, I would talk about the unstoppable readings I had for my classes. Those were the only inconvenient here. But actually, I didn’t come here for this, I knew what I was getting into.
⌘ What did you exchange in the university of Lima brought you?
A notable progress in Spanish, unforgettable memories in terms of voyages and culture, and I had the occasion of meeting many people coming from all over the world.
⌘ Do you have some advices for those who also wants to go to Lima?
You have to work well (just a minimum regularly) during your first semester, and try to be in a good Spanish-level group. Those would be the two important criteria.
I don’t have anything specific that comes to my mind right now, but you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by Facebook whenever for questions or information.
⌘ Would you recommend this country for a student exchange?
OF COURSE. I WOULD DO IT 10 TIMES, 20 TIMES, 100 TIMES…
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? AM I THAT BORING? C’M’ON, OPEN YOUR YEP AND APPLY FOR AN EXCHANGE AT ESAN.
⌘ Do you have an anecdote?
For the story, a French guy I met in the plane to Lima ,going to ESAN for an exchange, didn’t have any basics in Spanish, so I had fun telling him if a Peruvian woman spoke to him, he should say “zorra” to her to tell her she is beautiful (well… it actually means something closer to “bitch”).
That idiot remembered this word and told it at a party to an ESAN girl with whom we were speaking. Of course, laughter everywhere. I was disappointed, she didn’t even slap him.
More seriously, my best memory – if I had to chose one – would be the ultimate Peruvian tourist trip to Cusco, the Sacred Valley, and the Peruvian Grail: Machu Picchu. It was wonderful. Plus, I visited it with my parents after not having seen them for 4-5 months.