Study Abroad in Cuzco, Peru

Quick Facts | Why Cuzco? | City Description | Host University | Housing | Excursions

Course Offerings | Costs & Dates | What’s Included | Program Itinerary | Volunteer Opportunities | FAQs


Quick Facts

Host Institution: Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola – Semester and Summer programs
Eligibility Rules: click here
Language/Academic Focus: Courses available in Spanish and English. Subject areas include Spanish language, Peruvian culture, Literature, Biodiversity, Art, and Art History. (Click here for Course Offerings)
Housing: Students can choose to live with a Peruvian host family, which includes 3 meals per day, or in an on-campus dorm (daily breakfast included). Internet is included in all housing. For further details about these housing options, please click here!
Sample Excursions: Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley of the Incas

Why Cuzco?

  • Capital of the Inca Empire
  • Archaeological capital of the Americas
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Easy access to Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
  • Famous for its festivals, which seem to occur daily
  • Learn Quechua, the language of the Inca Empire

City Description – Medium city of 350,000

Located in southeastern Peru near the Andes mountains, Cuzco is the original home of the Inca Empire. The undisputed archaeological capital of the Americas, Cuzco boasts some of the world’s most fascinating historical sites. The city of Cuzco itself was originally built in the shape of a puma! The most important buildings in the city formed the body of the puma, and the square between the legs of the puma was the Plaza de Armas.

Start your adventure walking along ancient paths and ruins of the Inca Trail surrounded by a unique mixture of scenery, from lush forests, to subtropical jungles, to majestic mountains. Considered one of the best hiking trails in the world, the Inca Trail will eventually lead you to the famous “Lost City” of Machu Picchu, nestled high in the Andes mountains.

Another archaeological marvel is the Sacred Valley of the Incas, located nearly 2,000 feet below the altitude of Cuzco. This enchanted valley winds along two rivers and is home to spectacular ruins and some of the most beautiful towns in Peru. Here you can explore the sacred agricultural lands, buy handmade goods, or go kayaking, hang gliding, rock climbing, or horseback riding.

The city of Cuzco is full of life both day and night. By day, explore the winding streets and stone arches constructed by the Spaniards, or seek out ancient treasures hidden within colonial mansions and churches. At nightfall, the city of Cuzco is beautifully lit up and comes alive with energy and music.

Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola

The Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola is a bilingual university with campuses in both Cuzco and Lima. USIL offers innovative educational options with a focus on entrepreneurship. Although this is a Spanish-speaking university, many regular university courses, taken by both Peruvian and international students, are taught in English, as the university believes this will prepare their graduates for a competitive labor market.

Another important mission of the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola is to encourage volunteerism among all students. International students especially benefit from this, as it is a wonderful opportunity to meet Peruvian people and immerse yourself in the local culture, while also helping those in need. During orientation, you’ll have the chance to learn about available volunteer opportunities and sign up. Past students have volunteered in many different capacities, including teaching English and working with neglected children, disabled adults and children, and at-risk teens.

Cuzco is a fantastic choice for those who enjoy the outdoors! If you like horseback riding, hiking, mountain biking, kayaing, or rafting, then Cuzco is where you should be! You can hike and bike through the Andes mountains, go kayaking or rafting in the Río Urubamba, or ride horses at one of the numerous ranches not far from Cuzco. Just be sure to wait until you’ve been in Cuzco for a few days, as your body needs to adapt to the higher elevation.


Students can choose to live with a Peruvian host family or in an on-campus dorm. Homestay accommodation includes 3 meals a day. Meals are not included with the dorm option, but students have access to a kitchen, and the dorm has a restaurant where students may purchase meals. All student housing includes Internet access and is located in safe neighborhoods, within a reasonable distance from the university. Full details about ASA housing, as well as answers to commonly asked questions, can be found on our Housing page.


Semester and summer programs include 1 overnight excursion and 1 day excursion. Destinations may vary by term. Past terms have included trips to:

  • Machu Picchu (overnight excursion) – Travel by train from Cuzco for an unforgettable visit to Machu Picchu, an icon of ancient Inca civilization and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Explore breathtaking pre-Columbian Inca ruins and learn about the mysterious history of this amazing feat of engineering, built without the use of wheels or pack animals.
  • Sacred Valley of the Incas (day excursion) – A beautiful drive through the mountains brings you to the Sacred Valley and its magnificent archaeological site, Pisaq. In its traditional indigenous market, you can learn about the local culture and haggle with the sellers. Lunch is at Tunupa, one of the oldest haciendas left by the Spanish. You’ll also visit Urubamba and the Chinchero district, where the majority of inhabitants are of indigenous descent and speak Quechua as their first language.

Costs and Dates

Please CLICK HERE for Costs and Dates.

What’s Included – Cuzco

  • ROOM & BOARD: Students can choose to live with a Peruvian host family (includes 3 meals a day and 1 load of laundry per week) OR in a residence hall (daily breakfast included). Rooms are double occupancy.  (For further details about these housing options, please click here!)
  • TUITION at the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola.
  • ACADEMIC CREDITS: Students who receive pre-approval from their home institution can transfer the credits they earn to their home institution. Possible number of semester credits: 12-15 per semester or 6 per summer session.
  • OFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT: At the conclusion of the program, an official transcript from the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola will be sent to your home institution.
  • INTERNET ACCESS at their host university and in housing.
  • AIRPORT PICK-UP at Cuzco (CUZ) airport for students who arrive on the official arrival date by the designated time.
  • MEDICAL INSURANCE: for a Description of Coverage, please visit our Information Library.
  • SITE DIRECTOR: on-site to assist students with any academic or cultural difficulties they may encounter.
  • VISA ADVISING: While students are ultimately responsible for obtaining their visa (if required for their term/host country), ASA will provide detailed, helpful information upon acceptance as to which visa students will need and how to go about applying for one.  Please click here and scroll down to “Student Visa Information” to find out if a visa is required for your program.

Not Included:

  • Airfare
  • Books & materials
  • Personal expenses
  • Local transportation
  • Student Visa
  • Daily lunch and dinner (for students who live in the residence hall)
  • Meals on excursions
  • Volunteering donation fee (optional)
  • Return transport to airport on last day of program

Click here for Billing Information and Cancellation/Refund Policy

NOTE: If you need a “Costs of Attendance” budget for your financial aid office, or simply need more details about the additional costs listed above, please email chelsea(at) 

Program Itinerary

Please CLICK HERE for detailed program itineraries.

Volunteer Opportunities

Participating in volunteer activities in Cuzco is an excellent way to immerse yourself in your host country’s way of life while helping those in need. In effect, this will add another dimension to your study abroad experience through daily exposure and interactions, resulting in a greater understanding of the language, culture, and your local community.

USIL offers various volunteer opportunities that all students may participate in.  Please click here to see the kinds of ways you can give back!

*A $150.00 donation fee is required for students wishing to volunteer during their time in Cuzco.


If you have questions about HOW TO APPLY and make sure your credits transfer back to your home university, please CLICK HERE.

We encourage both prospective students and parents, as well as those who have already been accepted to an ASA program, to visit our INFORMATION LIBRARY. Here you will find tons of helpful info to help you know what to plan for and what to expect, such as:

  • ASA Guide to Study Abroad
  • Student Visa info
  • Medical Insurance info
  • Booking your flight
  • Financial Aid info