Trying to think about something that would most characterise me as an international student, I came straight away to one answer: My beloved Peru.
My closest friends will agree that listening and talking about my childhood in Peru makes my eyes light up and brings a special smile to my face. Suddenly, I find myself laughing about things only Peruvians would laugh about.
But, what is Peru like? What do I miss the most about Peru? What are the main differences and similarities between Scotland (UK) and Peru? And… Would I ever go back to Peru to live? I’ve been asked these questions many times, but I feel like I’ve never found quite the right words to answer them. So, take a seat and enjoy reading a bit of Peru from a Peruvian girl in the UK. Hope you like it!
What is Peru like?
Is it weird that the first thing that comes to my mind is a messy but colourful fruit salad? To me, it is a piece of art that few people understand, but many love. That’s my Peru. From the mountains to the coast; from the bright colours to ‘’Lima the grey’’ (Capital of Peru). From the many kinds of potatoes and bananas to the “pollo a la brasa” (Peruvian roast chicken) Sunday meal with your family. The thing is that Peru is that big bowl of many different things that I will always long to re-live again.
What do I miss the most about Peru?
Is it wrong that I always mention food before family? Just kidding! Honestly, Peruvian food is the most amazing thing in the world. Overreacting? Maybe, but you need to try our famous Ceviche, our ‘’Papa a la Huancaina’’ (see picture) and our ‘’Causa’’ before accusing me of being a bit dramatic. Still unsure? Well, ask the World Travel Awards about the World’s Leading Culinary destination for 6 years consecutively, if there’s any doubt.
What are the most significant differences?
Do you remember the messy part about my fruit salad? Reality is that I don’t miss the disorganisation, the permanent traffic jam situation and the poverty. I am so thankful for UK’s street security, the more organised system and the higher economic stability. Not everything is negative though. From my experience, I would say Peruvian people tend to be more expressive and open, which was something I really missed when trying to make friends in the UK.
I would say the good taste for exotic things like spicy food, salsa music, etc; that sense of adventure, that love for traditional things and that Christian influence in the culture.
And finally, will I ever go back to live there?
Peru will always be the place where my early days began, which I remember so nostalgically. Nevertheless, 3 years ago Scotland became my new home and the place where I want to have my future adventures. My point is that, although it might seem difficult sometimes to embrace this new home and culture, you are never alone in this adventure.
My desire for you is that someday, you will look back to your years in the UK as an international student and remember them with a special smile on your face.
So, my dear friend, I encourage you to always embrace your home country, its peculiarities and its traditions. Share it with your friends, even though you think they might not understand. Sharing each other’s culture often breaks barriers and brings people closer together.