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  • Writer's pictureSheri McGuinn

¡Hola! From the Alternative ISA Student in Lima, Peru!

Updated: Dec 14, 2020

ISA Summer 2012 Lima, Peru

I’m a college student—again—and I’m not alone. Changing careers or finishing an interrupted education are only two of the many reasons for older students to be in a university program. If you’re one of us, don’t count yourself out of the other benefits of being a student—discounted rates for many activities, cheap health insurance, and TRAVEL experiences. Aside from the pure fun of travel, we live in a global economy where it definitely helps your portfolio.

When I signed up for a trip to Peru this summer with ISA (International Studies Abroad), I had to sign off saying I knew most of the participants would be in their twenties. Did I have doubts? Absolutely. I even bought the bail-out insurance. Who did I think I was kidding? Was I going to be a freak? I should have spent more time brushing up on my Spanish. The thing is, having doubts is the norm. Young people going abroad for the first time, or living with strangers for the first time, or not sure their classroom language will be enough—all of them have doubts, too.

I’ve been here a week, and it’s wonderful. When I first got off the plane, I introduced myself as the “alternative student” and the moment of shock was immediately replaced with curiosity and acceptance. I am by far the oldest student, but not the only “older” one. It doesn’t matter. We’ve been included in the group’s Facebook page and outside activities without prejudice. The prevailing attitude is, if you’ve made here, you belong.

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