Ohio University

Peru: Spanish Language and Latin American Culture in Cusco, Spring Semester

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Program Feature

Language Immersion
Service Learning

Program Term


Program Type

OHIO Credit

Academic Focus

Language and Area Studies
Leadership and Community Engagement

For more information contact:

Dr. Keith Woodall
Program Director

Ellie Koewler
Program Coordinator  


Cusco Mountain


This study abroad program is offered by the Ohio University Department of Modern Languages in association with the University of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Cusco. Students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the Spanish language and unique cultures of Peru while living within the highest and most extensive mountain range of the western hemisphere. This incredibly historic city, for many centuries the capital of the Inca Empire and later Spanish-Peru, Cusco still retains much of its pre-Columbian heritage and Spanish colonial architecture. Excursions to significant historical sites, including the fabulous ruins of Machu Picchu, and service-learning projects in outlying communities complement the traditional Spanish language and culture coursework and will appeal to those students with a spirit of adventure.

Highlights and Excursions 

  • One three-day excursion to Machu Picchu and another to the Puno region on the shore of Lake Titicaca. The highest-altitude navigable lake on the planet, as well as the largest in South America, Lake Titicaca is home to the unique Puno culture that traces its roots to fishing and the commerce afforded by this incredible natural resource.
  • All day excursion to the "Sacred Valley," home to several archeological parks containing the ruins of extensive Inca communities. These long-abandoned cities, including Ollantaytambo and Pisaq, feature the large terraced farms typical of the Andes along with the temples and palaces of the elite classes.
  • Guided tour of Cusco including the city plaza, market, Inca walls and archeological parks along with modern Cuzco.
  • Four or five day-long service projects in outlying communities building fuel-efficient adobe stoves and ovens to improve the quality of life of people who have traditionally cooked over an open fire in their kitchens.
  • Cuzco is also home to several outstanding museums and historic sites, including monasteries and the main Cathedral built in the 16th century atop former Incan temples.

About Cusco

Called the "Ombligo del mundo (Bellybutton of the world)" by the Inca, Cusco is located at 12,000 feet in the spectacular Andes Mountains in southeast Peru. The peaks of the Andes are the second highest in the world, after the Himalaya, and form the longest continuous mountain range on the planet. They extend through seven South American countries.

The capital of the Incan Empires, Cusco was the home of kings, emperors and generals prior to the Spanish Conquest when it became the capital of Spanish Peru. Atahualpa, Huáscar, Manco Inca Yupanqui, Francisco Pizarro, Gonzalo Pizarro, Diego de Almagro and Túpac Amaru are just a few of the historical names associated with the city.

Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983, the city contains many places of historical and cultural interest such as the ruins of the Temple of Sacsayhuamán and its aqueduct, the Templo de la Sagrada Familia, the Arco de Santa Clara, and the Plaza de Armas with her Cathedral of Santo Domingo and the Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús. There are many museums including the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, The Center for Traditional Textiles, Cusco and the Museo Inka.

Cusco is protected from weather extremes by mountains and altitude. Average temperatures during our spring semester range from lows in the mid-forties to highs in the mid-sixties. The extended growing season and rich soil allow for a wide variety of food including around 3000 varieties of potato. With a population of around 400,000 people, there are a wide variety of restaurants featuring traditional Andean cuisine along with imports from all over Latin America, the United States and Europe. Fusion cuisine, incorporating the best from local and foreign cultures has grown in popularity in the last decade and attracts great interest from "foodies" worldwide.


Living Arrangements 

Students will live with host families. Host families provide 3 meals/day, laundry service and comfortable housing in a supportive, family environment. Most families have WiFi.

Program Dates 

Spring Semester 2021 program dates are approximately January 6 - May 1, 2021. The program includes 15 weeks of coursework and 1 week Spring Break.

The program will be offered every other year, alternating with the Semester in Toledo, Spain program.


During the spring semester, students take 12-15 credit hours, selected from the courses below. Courses offered will be determined based on student needs but may include:

  • ML 2400 Language Immersion through Community-Based Service Learning during Study Abroad
  • SPAN 2110 Intermediate Spanish I
  • SPAN 2120 Intermediate Spanish II
  • SPAN 3110 Advanced Conversation and Composition I
  • SPAN 3120 Advanced Conversation and Composition II
  • SPAN 3349 Spanish American Civilization and Culture
  • SPAN 3550 Introduction to Literature

All courses will be taught by Ohio University and USIL faculty. Courses are subject to change. 


The program fee for this program includes: Student housing with host families which include 3 meals per day and laundry, excursions, airport transfers, welcome and farewell dinner and international health insurance.

In addition to the program fee, students should plan for 12-20 credit hours of tuition*, administrative fee, and out-of-pocket costs. Below will be the student budget worksheet for this program, which outlines costs.  

2021 Student Budget Worksheet Coming Soon!

Items that are not related to the program (ie. additional entertainment, souvenirs, extra travel, contingency funds) are not included in the cost estimates provided and should be budgeted for separately.  


  • Non-resident surcharge waived for the credit hours associated with this program. 
  • If you are nominated to this program, you will be required to pay a deposit to confirm your participation. The deposit is a down payment on the total costs to be billed by OHIO and is determined by the total cost of the program.

Funding Opportunities 

More information on financial aid and scholarships can be found on our funding pages.

The Department of Modern Languages offers merit-based scholarships up to $500 to students with a 3.0 minimum GPA participating in faculty-led study abroad programs for 5 weeks or more. For more information, download the form here: DML Study Abroad Scholarship

Eligibility and Requirements 

The program is open to undergraduate students who have completed SPAN 1120 or equivalent (before departure) with a 3.0 GPA. Testing into the 2000-level of Spanish satisfies the SPAN 1120 requirement. Students with a GPA lower than a 3.0 will need to request permission to apply from the program director. 

Students who will be on probation at any point during the program for a conduct offense that took place less than a calendar year from the program start date may not study abroad.  Click here to read the entire conduct policy 

Participants must have a at least a high school diploma or the equivalent (e.g. GED) by the start date of the program to be considered for eligibility.  Students enrolled in College Credit Plus (CC+) are not eligible for study away programs.

Entry and Exit Requirements

U.S. citizens are required to have a valid U.S. passport when traveling outside of the United States. If you plan to study or travel abroad in the next year,  apply for your passport  now. Some countries also require a visa to legally enter or reside in the country.

U.S. citizens  will not  need a visa or other special document to enter the country for the length of this program. Please also note that visa requirements may vary if you plan to stay in the country longer than the program dates or travel to other countries during or after the program. Please familiarize yourself with these recommendations and requirements prior to applying to this program. 

For more specific visa related information, please visit OGO’s  Visa Information Page 

Information for  Non-U.S. citizens  can be found  here