This past week has been crazy busy for me! Apparently quiz week is a thing here. I’m used to my classes not lining up very much back home. Usually some classes have two midterms, some have one and two tests, some have weekly quizzes, and assignments and quizzes generally seem to be spread out enough that I’m not completely swamped. However, here it’s not the same here. I don’t know if it is Peru in general or just USIL. There is a set finals week, but also a set midterms week. In addition, it seems as though there are unofficial quiz weeks as well. I think there is a general course schedule that most, if not all, professors follow. I don’t like this as much because it is stressful to have a lot of things scheduled for one day. For example, last Thursday I had a speech, two quizzes, six workbook pages, and an online quiz. It was a lot for one day and I was pretty stressed. But as per usual, my worrying was completely unnecessary. I ended up doing great on all of those things and my day went smoothly. My classes are all going well. They are boring because they are too easy, but I enjoy spending time with the people in my classes.
The same day that I had all of my quizzes and such I happened to wander back into the music room. I hadn’t heard from my professor about when we would be rehearsing, so I was starting to get nervous. I happened to drop by at the perfect time because I found out that I had rehearsal right then! It was a great first rehearsal. It turns out there aren’t enough musicians to form a full band, so we are going to be an a cappella group! I am excited because I was planning on trying to form an a cappella group anyways! There are four voices and one drummer. We chose our music and I am very happy with our selections. My solo is Like I’m Gonna Lose You by Meghan Trainor. It is my favorite song right now and I was very happy that the rest of the group approved it for our set list. There are two guys and two girls in our group. The guys don’t speak any English and they are also very quiet, so I didn’t really get to know them. The other girl and I bonded a lot though. We have very similar tastes in music and I think our voices sound really good together. We spent a pretty good amount of time “jamming” before rehearsal officially started. By jamming I mean that we picked a song that we both know and like and we sang together and made up harmonies and such. It was a blast! By the end of rehearsal I was on cloud nine. I am SO happy to be doing music again. I go through phases of not making time for music and being very addicted to music. Lately I have been in the addicted to music phase. Between this music class, playing my host family’s piano, and playing/singing along with my housemate’s guitar, I have found that most of my day is spent either thinking about music, listening to it, or making it. I love it.
I’m going to skip over the other happenings of the week. I think I covered the most important ones. Instead, I have a few things to share that I’ve noticed and jotted down here and there. One big thing I’ve noticed is the difference in the interactions between students and professors at the university. It is almost like being in high school again, but maybe worse. Often times the students call the professor “teacher” and I’ve heard a lot of students complain about homework and beg for less. It is so odd for me because I am used to using formal names with most of my professors and doing the work the professor assigns. A similarity I’ve noticed was when I went to get my ID card. Some of the students in line in front of me looked at their pictures and started giggling in embarrassment. It made me smile because I have had the same experience and I thought it was amusing to see it in another country. After thinking about it, I suppose it is probably a universal reaction, but in the moment it took me a little by surprise because I wasn’t expecting it.
And finally, an interesting piece of general cultural information that I learned this week. I asked a friend what parents’ expectations for their children are. He told me that the primary goal is to go to university. Side note – kids start university at 16 or 17 years old, I was astonished by that because I can’t imagine starting college at 16. Anyways, university is only an option for families who have money. Economic status greatly affects the type of life your family will have. If a family doesn’t have money their child doesn’t get to go to university and they must begin working immediately. The next step is marriage. It is very important to Peruvian parents that their children get married. However, waiting until after college is preferred here too. The children generally live with their parents until they get married, with the exception of their time away at university.
That’s all I have for you this week. I am leaving for a long weekend trip to the mountain tonight, so I will have plenty to write about next week.
Here is a picture of some of my music friends before our first performance.
This is a picture of the main academic building on the newer of the two campuses.
Here’s a bonus picture. This was taken in the southernmost district of Lima, called Chorillos on the top of one of Lima’s many dirt mountains.