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Cusco

Program Outline

Our Group 4 Spanish Program is our most popular course option and it includes four 50 minute class sessions each day for 20 each week. These group classes are split up into grammar and conversation lessons. Students learn and practice Spanish while they meet other international students of the same Spanish level. Classes are held in the morning and afternoon. Students are not only separated by level of ability, but also by age. This helps make the social interaction easier. The maximum number of students in each group class is 7.

Private Lessons 4 hours/day is a very intensive and immersive course. This is a great program for those who have only a short time to be in our program, but really need to improve their Spanish. Students who take private lessons are able to tailor their classes to a specific topic or profession. Just let us know when signing up what you need to work on and we will develop a special curriculum just for you.

Our Medical Shadowing Program is a great way for medical professionals and students to get more our of their language experience with us. It consists of the standard Group 4 Spanish program, plus two shadowing opportunities each week. Students need to have at least an intermediate level of Spanish to attend this course. If you do not have this level, you can attend the Group 4 program until you do and then join the program.

All of our programs include a social program that starts every Monday with a city tour for the different neighborhoods Cusco. There are cooking classes, visits to museums and Inca art and culture classes. There is always something fun going on each afternoon or evening. If you need university credit for your course we are accredited in the US for undergraduate credits. We also have volunteer opportunities available. If you study for four weeks or longer, we will waive the placement fee. Classes are either from 9 until 1 or 2 until 6 with two short snack breaks.

Lodging

Our homestay option is with specially selected Peruvian families. With homestay you receive half board (breakfast and dinner) with a private room. Staying with a family is the best way to practice the Spanish you learn in class in a conversational setting. Those students not wishing to stay with a family stay at our student apartment. Students will have a private room, but share a bathroom with other students.

Cultural

The heart of the Inca Empire, Cusco is an amazing city at the center of the Sacred Valley. There are numerous different indigenous peoples and well as Europeans and Americans that live in the city. There is a great deal of night life and the winding streets of the old town surround the Plaza de Armas. We have a number of different cultural activities for students so that they can experience all that Cusco has to offer. There is a great night life in the city and a lot of wonderful day trips and visits to ruins and museums. For an additional cost the school can help set up tours, excursions and trips to many of the nearby attractions, such as Machu Picchu, at reasonable prices.

Location

Cusco, with a population over 300,000, is located in the Andes mountain range at 11,500 feet above sea level. Students will want to take it easy for the first couple of days after arrival to avoid altitude sickness. It was the capital of the Incan empire before the arrival of the Spanish in the early 1500s. After Francisco Pizarro sacked the city in 1535 the Spanish embarked on a program of creating a colonial city. Temples were replaced by churches and mansions were built on top of royal palaces. Even with a number of powerful earthquakes over the centuries much of colonial Cusco and even Incan Cusco have survived. The school is located in the center of this historic city, just off a small square with a beautiful fountain and one block from the Inca Sun Temple.

Climate

There are generally two seasons in Cusco; the rainy season from November through March and the dry season from April to October. The rainiest months of the year are December through February. While the daytime high year round is around 70°F, the coldest lows occur during the dry season when it can get down as low as 30°F in July.

Local Color

Cusco has a great deal to offer. It has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site and is the jumping off point for the Incan Trail and the famous “Lost City of the Incas,” Machu Picchu. Cusco is believed to be the “belly button” of the world by the native Quechua people. As with the rest of Peru it is a city that likes its festivals. The most important festival of the year is Samana Santa, or Holy week, the week before Easter Sunday. On Holy Monday and Good Friday there are major processions through the main part of town ending at the Cathedral in the Plaza de las Armas.

Start Dates

Students with some knowledge of Spanish can start their programs any Monday of the year, but if you are complete beginner, we recommend you start on specific start dates. Please contact us for the start date nearest when you want to begin your program.

Hot Tip

No visit to Cusco can be considered complete without a visit to Machu Picchu. This is the most famous archeological site in South American and justifiably so. There is train service daily to Aguas Caliente which is at the base of the narrow valley just below the lost city. But for those with an adventurous spirit and having a fairly good physical condition, the only way to see Machu Picchu is by the Inca Trail. There are a number of different amount of days you can hike the trail from as little as one day to a number of weeks. The most popular is the four day trek. Starting out at the trailhead at about 9,000 ft, passing through the highest pass at 17,000 ft and then ending up at the 8,500 ft of Machu Picchu, this is not for the faint of heart. But for those that accomplish it, it becomes of the greatest memories of their life. It is truly that amazing.

Main Points About Cusco

Population: 300,000. Location in the centre of Peru, in a fertile valley of the East Andes. Cusco is the ancient capital of the Inca Empire and the oldest city in the South American Continent. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cusco is an amazing place to study Spanish while discovering another way of life. The famous lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail are both visited from Cusco.

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