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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Conn chapter.

This past August, I had the privilege of visiting my home country of Peru for the third time in my life. I was around five years old when I first went to Peru, and I don’t remember much (granted, I was only five). I went again in 2019, which is when I went to Machu Picchu for the first time! The last, but certainly not least, time I went to Peru was this summer. We got back to my home in Bridgeport, Connecticut two weeks before my college move-in day. With the memories I experienced two months ago still fresh in my mind, I want to recap what I did, meeting my relatives, the ups and downs, and overall, just having a fun time!


Sunday, July 30, 2023. There were many people at John F. Kennedy Airport, and I was already starting to feel overwhelmed (and we hadn’t even gone through security yet!). After a couple of hours of running to gates, going through security, and waiting to board the plane, we finally got to our seats. For those of you who have never been on a plane, it can be rough. Ever since I was young, I was never comfortable traveling on planes. The food they served was never good, there was barely any leg space, and the mere feeling of being thousands of feet in the air never sat well with me. The good thing about planes, though, was the new movies I was able to watch on a screen in front of me, and my offline music to enjoy.

A Pit Stop in Lima, Peru

Sunday, July 30, 2023, at around 9:00 p.m., my family and I finally landed in Peru! We were now in Lima, and our next flight to Arequipa was at 4:00 a.m., seven hours away. How did I stay awake? Well, there was nowhere to sleep for one. However, I did find other ways to stay awake, such as listening to loud music, walking around the airport, or talking with my family. If you find yourself in this position, I recommend catching up on sleep by searching for empty rows of seats within the airport. By the time we got to the place we were renting out, it was already the next morning, meaning I was up for almost two days!

Arequipa, Peru

Monday, July 31, 2023, we finally arrived at the city where we would be mostly staying at: Arequipa! This is where my father is from, and we visited his side of the family a lot. It is livelier here than in Cusipata, another small city in Peru. Cars, buses, and people everywhere; many store vendors in the streets selling things like food, snacks, toys, gadgets, and almost anything you can think of at a cheap price. It is common to see this here as it’s one of the ways families earn a living. Fun fact: my mom used to work as an ice cream vendor when they used to live here.

Arequipa is the second largest city in Peru, with Lima being the first. One of the places we visited the most was the Plaza de Armas de Arequipa. In the U.S., this would be considered as the main public square of the city. With many restaurants and stores nearby, I loved going here and walking around and splurging. The square also surrounds the Basilica cathedral, one of the most important churches in the city. Inside, there is a beautiful archway near the altar and dozens of pews. On top of the cathedral, which you access as part of the tour, there is a huge bell, and an amazing view of the surrounding mountains near Arequipa.

Cusco, Cusipata, Peru

August 3—8, 2023. We took an overnight bus to my mother’s hometown of Cusipata, located near Cusco, Peru, which is where Machu Picchu is located! Overnight buses are a common mode of transportation for anyone, tourists and locals alike, to get to a city overnight with accommodations for sleep. The seats can go back 160 to 180 degrees for a good night’s rest. However, nights here are extremely cold, so bring your own blankets!

The few days here were a blur, however, a big event that happened was my grandpa’s and brother’s birthday, and my family and relatives threw a massive party. Traditional Peruvian music played loudly through the few speakers we found, and everyone was either dancing, drunk, or chatting.

Both my parents and elder brother went to the “Montana de Siete Colores,” or the Seven Colored Mountain. There is a bus that takes a group of people (mostly tourists) near the bottom of this mountain and afterward, they must hike all the way to the top, or as far as they want to go. If you’re interested, check out TripAdvisor. It’s important to note that it is extremely cold during the mornings and up on the mountain, so bundling up is your best bet at keeping warm!

Until Next Time

August 13, 2023. Our final day in Peru, bags packed the day before. I was feeling conflicted. Leaving your family’s country is disheartening in itself, yet I did miss my home in CT. But one of the things I am forever grateful is the experience I got. Meeting relatives I haven’t seen in years felt good. I got to see my many cousins grow up, give them gifts, and reconnect with distant family members.

It’s definitely a culture shock going to a different country you haven’t been to in a while. The main differences I noticed were the quality of the houses/buildings, how different Peruvians drive, and the shopping life there. The United States of America is a developed country whereas Peru is a developing country. The people there don’t have much, yet they are grateful for what they have, and I hope you all can adopt this mentality too just like I did.

Ashley Bejar writes fun and informative articles for the Her Campus chapter at UConn! She is from Bridgeport, CT and comes from an all-Peruvian family. Ashley is currently a sophomore, first-gen, psychology and human development & family sciences double major at the University of Connecticut! In high school, she worked and presented a Capstone project. This included a year of research/experimenting, writing an article of the data, and presenting the findings to a panel of judges. She also writes original stories for fun on the internet. Aside from writing articles, Ashley is involved in numerous clubs and organizations. She is an avid KPOP listener and loves to learn the dances and is a member of the UConn KPOP group Seoular. She loves to work a lot with children as well. In the future, she hopes to be a child psychologist/therapist! On campus activities include community outreach (specifically with children), acting in plays & musicals for UConn Dramatic Paws, and dancing to a multitude of genres of music!