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How To Navigate Course Enrollment in Peru

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Now that you’ve made your decision to study abroad in Peru, you’re probably wondering about the classes that you’ll be able to take while you’re there. Maybe you need to fulfill some major requirements, gen-eds, or need to make sure that you’ll have enough credits to graduate on time. Unlike programs in other parts of the world where you can register for classes online, class registration in Lima is done the first week of classes. You’ll probably have a lot of questions about it!
The first thing to keep in mind is that registering for classes in Peru as an international student is quite different from registering for classes in the US. Like many other countries in Latin America, class registration is done in person. Course schedules for the coming semester aren’t even released until a few weeks before the semester starts. Unlike Peruvian students, international students are given a “shopping period” to try out courses to make sure they like them. During the first week of classes, you can visit all the courses you are interested in to get a feel for the way the professor teaches and what the assigned workload will be like.
Before arriving in Peru, I’d recommend checking out the online catalogue of classes to see what has been offered in previous years during that semester. Having a general idea of some of the classes you’d like to take will make course registration much easier. While checking the online catalogue, keep in mind that departments in Latin American universities are organized into “facultades.” The facultad for “letras y ciencias humanas” incorporates departments such as history, literature, and archaeology, while the facultad for “ciencias sociales” will include departments like economics, political science, sociology, and anthropology. To search for classes, you will need to first determine which facultad includes the departments you are interested in, and then search through course listings in that particular facultad. Your IFSA program advisor can help with this process!

Choosing Your Classes

On the Thursday before classes begin, PUCP will hold a “feria de cursos.” This is basically an open house for each facultad. Representatives from each department within the facultad will be present, so you should visit each facultad you are interested in and speak with the representatives. Among other things, this serves as an informal interview in which the department representatives can let you know whether you will have enough preparation to take the classes you are interested in. During your orientation day at PUCP, you will be given a list of the rooms and hours of the open houses for each facultad.
Once you arrive at the open house for the facultad, you will be given your “feria de cursos.” You will list the courses you are interested in on this form. The “feria” is not an official registration but is used to give the professors an idea of how many students are interested in taking their class. After talking with department representatives at the open house, they will sign off on your “feria” and you can submit it to the facultad.

Visit Classes

Classes begin on Monday after the “feria de cursos.” This first week will be the “shopping period” to try out the classes. Keep in mind that classes in Peru are organized differently than classes in the US. Three credit classes usually meet only once a week, but for three hours at a time. Four credit classes usually meet twice a week, for two hours at a time.

Meet the Deadlines

As an international student, you’ll have to keep track of many deadlines during the first two weeks to ensure you can register on time and enroll in your first-choice classes. Our staff will help with this process, but the general steps are as follows:

  • You’ll be sent a link from PUCP which you’ll click on to secure your spot for registration. Try to do this as fast as possible because it becomes your number in the registration line!
  • The next day, visit the international student’s office to pick up your registration ticket.
  • Lastly, meet with the other international students for university matriculation. Make sure to bring your ticket and your “Hoja de Matricula.” On the “hoja” you’ll list all the classes you’d like to officially register in. You’ll be registered for classes in the order of your tickets, and you can pick up your PUCP student ID at the same time.

Keep in mind that PUCP students have one more week after they officially register to withdraw from any classes. After the end of the next week, though, any dropped classes will show up as a W on your transcript.

General Advice

Though course registration can be a bit confusing, you’ll have plenty of people helping you along the way. Here are some things to keep in mind as you go through the process to make things easier:

  • IFSA Resident Staff: Program director Danny Gibbons will help remind you of deadlines and make sure you go through the process smoothly. You can also reach out to the IFSA “patas” (PUCP students who’ll help you navigate the university and living in Lima) with any questions about what to expect from your classes.
  • Home University: Keep in contact throughout the process of registration to make sure you will receive all the credits you need from the classes you’re taking.
  • Flexibility: Be open to changing your mind! The most important thing is taking classes that you will enjoy and learn from, not sticking to a previous plan.

The classes you take will be a large factor in your overall study abroad experience. Luckily, PUCP offers many different departments with excellent professors and interesting classes, so you’re sure to find something you’ll be excited to take.

Kate Iida is a History major at Barnard College and studied abroad with IFSA at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru Program in Spring 2018. She served as an International Correspondent for IFSA through the Work-to-Study Program.