Hello Longhorns! My name is Elena Pojman and I’m spending the fall semester of my junior year studying at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. I realized the other day that I’ve been here for almost five weeks, and I can’t believe how quickly that time has passed. I have wanted to study abroad for as long as I can remember, and once I chose to spend this semester in Peru, I spent months anxiously obsessing over every little detail that I believed would give me problems: registering for classes, transportation, food, the language barrier, safety, the workload, whatever. Sure, at times I’ve longed for the familiarity of UT and my life in Austin, but the transition has not been impossibly hard. Shopping, trying new foods, exploring nature, and sightseeing have made Lima feel more and more like home.
As I write my own story this semester, I have most enjoyed learning the history of Peru through visiting museums. I have no classes on Wednesday, so I try to go to at least one new museum or interesting place each week. Like I said, I have been here for a little over a month, but I have already found some unforgettable places.
I have most enjoyed finding places that tell some part of Peruvian history, especially about the ongoing internal conflict between the Peruvian government and the revolutionary groups Sendero Luminoso and the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement. This conflict has been the second longest and second bloodiest in Peruvian history (but it’s definitely gotten much safer since the early 2000s). Latin America is no stranger to horrible human rights abuses committed by its governments, but the Peruvian internal conflict is unique in the sense that it was more of a civil war than an outright assault by the government, like in Chile or Argentina. It is a complicated situation with no clear “good guy,” but definite victims. Two museums that I have visited so far explained the situation well: El Lugar de la Memoria, la Tolerancia y la Inclusión Social and El Museo de la Nación. These are two places that I know will stick with me for a long time; this type of bloodshed cannot be erased from the memory too quickly.
One month down, three more to go. I have some great places on my “to see next” list, ones that explore Andean music and Peruvian gastronomy and Afro Peruvian history. I look forward to adding new traditions to the day, like trying new Peruvian dishes each week and listening to up and coming Peruvian bands.
This post was contributed by Elena Pojman, a 2018 Global Ambassador.
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