MORE CULTURE. LESS SHOCK. Programs, Internships and Volunteer Opportunities

Community Building and Sustainable Development in Peru

  • Minimum GPA: 2.5 (4.0 scale)
  • Spanish requirement: 4 semesters of university-level Spanish or the equivalent
  • Length of program: 6 weeks, mid-June to late July
  • Application deadlines: April 1
  • Program advisor: Jennifer McKibben
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Program Snapshot

peru summer

We're excited that you're considering IFSA-Butler's Community Building and Sustainable Development summer program in Peru! While improving your Spanish, you'll have the opportunity to visit two of the most beautiful cities in Peru and volunteer with a local organizations. We're sure you're going to love this program!

What the Community Building and Sustainable Development program has to offer

  • Three courses specially-designed for IFSA-Butler students
  • The opportunity to visit two of the most beautiful cities in Peru, each with a distinct ecological and cultural environment
  • Students live in Lima and Iquitos
  • An amazing visit to the Amazon is also part of the program
  • An experience that will contribute to your increased understanding of the confluence of science and culture
  • Partnering with local organizations to participate in environmentally focused community improvement projects
  • Ideal for students interested in Spanish language proficiency, community development and sustainable studies, environmental and biological sciences, and Latin American studies


  • IFSA-Butler arranges housing with carefully selected host families for the Lima portion of the program
  • Lima housing is located in the upper middle class neighborhoods of Miraflores and San Isidro
  • In Iquitos, students stay in shared rooms in hotels
  • The program fee includes two meals per day Monday through Saturday and breakfast on Sunday


  • Program courses conducted in Spanish by faculty from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP)
    • Advanced Spanish and Peruvian Culture (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
    • Biodiversity and Sustainable Development (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
    • Community Development Seminar (2 U.S. semester credit hours)
  • All courses are mandatory
  • Academic tutors are available
  • Grades are recorded on a Butler University Transcript


Academic Structure

What is the academic structure of the Community Building and Sustainable Development program?
This program allows you to enroll in three courses designed exclusively for IFSA-Butler students. These classes, taught in Spanish by local professors and supplemented with volunteer work and visits to local organizations, are intended to provide you with an understanding of the process of developing grass roots organizations and their impact on the local community.

As part of the curriculum, you will visit Iquitos in addition to Lima.

Program Courses

What program courses does IFSA-Butler offer?
The following courses are specially designed for IFSA-Butler students on the Community Building and Sustainable Development program. You are required to enroll in all three courses below.

Advanced Spanish and Peruvian Culture (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
This is an intensive advanced-level language course. Each student will turn in three essays during the course. This course is taught while in Lima.

Biodiversity and Sustainable Development (3 U.S. semester credit hours)
This is a dynamic course that involves working with local organizations in two different cities. Students will participate in hands-on, environmentally focused community improvement projects such as recycling, planting trees and other needs as they arise within the community.

Community Development Seminar (2 U.S. semester credit hours)
Through visits to local organizations, guest lectures and selected readings, students will learn about the process of developing grassroot organizations and their impact on the community. This course provides an understanding of the multiple approaches to community development.

University Info

Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú
The Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP) serves more than 17,000 students in 42 undergraduate majors and 72 graduate programs. It is located in a large, 100-acre campus with modern buildings, fauna, cafeterias, coffee shops, a gym, picturesque gardens and archeological excavation sites.

University Courses

What PUCP courses are available to me?
As an IFSA-Butler student, you can enroll only in the three courses listed on the “Program Courses” tab. You can interact with Peruvians on campus and during visits to local NGOs, but your classmates will be other IFSA-Butler program participants.


How will I register for courses?
All students will take the three program courses offered on this program, so there will not be a formal course registration process onsite.

What are the registration conditions?
You must take a full course load as determined by IFSA-Butler, which is 8 U.S. semester credit hours for the summer. Credit will be awarded on a Butler University transcript based on a typical U.S. summer course load. Taking less than a full course load may jeopardize your student status and result in personal academic repercussions and/or loss of financial aid.

All courses are graded on an A–F scale, and there is no provision for pass/fail or auditing courses unless pass/fail is the only method of assessment for the course. Students are not allowed to register for on-line, distance education or hybrid courses. See the “Academics” and “Program Fees and Financial Aid” sections in Preparing to Study Abroad for more information.


What do I need to know about exams?
All academic obligations, including final exams, must be completed before leaving Peru. You are not permitted to reschedule exams, request alternate assessment or arrange to have your exams proctored in the United States. If this occurs, IFSA-Butler will not be able to assist you in conducting an academic record appeal on the class in which you made this arrangement. Additionally, all academic obligations, including final exams, must be complete before leaving Peru.


How will my home university know what my classes were and what grades I received?
After you return to the U.S., IFSA-Butler will send a Butler University transcript to your home university. The transcript reflects the courses taken, credits attempted and grades earned in Peru during your summer abroad. We will also send an official transcript to your permanent home address.


Housing Options

What are my housing options?
Study abroad is about more than academics. Learning takes place not only during class, but 24 hours a day. One of the best out-of-class experiences is the homestay, which is a vital, required component of the IFSA-Butler program. Each IFSA-Butler student is placed with a carefully selected host family for the Lima portion of the program. For the two weeks that students are in Iquitos, they will stay together in shared rooms at a local hotel.

In addition to the program application, be sure to click on the "Forms" tab to download and complete your Family Placement Form. Once finished, submit your Family Placement Form to IFSA-Butler via email, fax or regular mail.


The program fee includes two meals per day Monday through Saturday and breakfast on Sunday.

Housing FAQs

Is my housing included in the program fee?
Yes. Your program fee includes accommodation with a host family while in Lima and in a hotel in Iquitos.

When will I receive my housing assignment?
You will most likely receive your housing assignment one to two weeks before your departure. However, you may not receive your housing assignment until you arrive in Peru for orientation. Your program advisor will notify you of your housing assignment via email when it is ready.

Please keep in mind that while IFSA-Butler guarantees housing, we cannot guarantee your preferences.

Do I have to pay a housing deposit?
This program does not require a housing deposit.

Can I arrange my own housing?
All students who participate on this program must live with a program approved host family for the duration of the program.

Location Info


Living and Studying in Lima
Population: 8 million
Location: West central Peru, along the coast of the Pacific Ocean

City features

  • One of the most cosmopolitan and important capitals in South America
  • A worldwide reputation for fantastic cuisine
  • A variety of museums, archaeological sites and famous architectural treasures
  • Local markets that feature beautiful crafts, silver products and jewelry
  • Student-friendly entertainment, including nightlife that attracts students from around the world
  • The residential suburbs of Miraflores and San Isidro provide a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of central Lima

Do more!

  • Take advantage of Lima's seven airlines and safe, comfortable bus and railroad lines to explore the rest of Peru
  • Lima's location on the Pacific is ideal for all kinds of activities, from water sports to hang gliding from the cliffs over the beaches

Peru Travel Adventures
Lonely Planet Peru
Lima Post


Living and Studying in Iquitos
Population: 460,000
Location: Northeastern Peru, on the left bank of the Amazon River

City features

  • World's largest city that cannot be reached by road, Iquitos is accessible by air and water
  • City's cultural diversity encourages a creative artistic community
  • Regarded as the cultural and entertainment hub of the Peruvian Amazon 
  • Tourism is a on of the most vita industries in Iquitos and is popular because of its location on the banks of the Amazon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world

Do more!

  • Visit the Belen Market, which sprawls for blocks and offers everything that can be bought and sold in Iquitos
  • Discover and explore rainforest wildlife at the Quistococha Zoological Park

Peru Travel Adventures
Lonely Planet Peru
Municipalidad Provincial de Maynas

Dates & Fees

Program Dates

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Your program end date may change due to circumstances beyond IFSA-Butler's control. Upon arrival at your host university, be sure to verify your exam schedule and program end date. We also strongly recommend that you investigate fees and penalties associated with your airline tickets in case you need to make date or route changes.

Program housing is available only until the day shown on the calendar as “Program ends.”

Exams must be taken where and when scheduled. Under no circumstances may students request that an exam time be changed.

Program Fees

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What's included in our summer program fees
Expense calculator

Payment Due: May 15

Program Fee Bills
IFSA-Butler will send a single bill for the entire program fee, which includes tuition, services, housing and meals.

Each student lives with a carefully selected host family. The program fee includes two meals per day.

Personal Cost Estimates

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Expense calculator

These figures are designed to assist students with financial planning but are only estimates based on past students’ experiences at the current exchange rate. They do not include any entertainment or vacation travel costs.

The above numbers are general estimates of expenses during a program abroad. We recommend taking into account your current spending habits, the cost of living in your host country and the current exchange rate. Your IFSA-Butler program advisor can be helpful as you attempt to work on a personal budget for your experience abroad.

**Meals: The housing component of our program fee includes two meals per day.

Personal Miscellaneous: Covers general expenses of college life, including course supplies, photocopying, toiletries, snacks, personal care, etc.

Commuting: Estimates are for transportation between housing and university. Transportation for personal or recreational purposes is not included in the above estimates.

All costs are in U.S. dollars.

Meet Your IFSA-Butler Team

IFSA-Butler has a dedicated team of staff who are here to help prepare students for their program in Peru:

jenniferProgram Advisor Jennifer McKibben assists with the application process and is here to answer program, cultural and academic questions before departure. Jennifer studied abroad in Costa Rica for a year through an IFSA-Butler program. After completing her undergraduate degree in Spanish at Butler University, she moved to Costa Rica for three years to immerse herself in the culture and pursue a Master’s degree in Spanish-English Translation at Universidad Nacional. She is very passionate about helping students have impactful, enriching experiences abroad. Jennifer currently advises students planning to study abroad in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru. She can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229, ext. 4264.

beckiStudent Accounts Coordinator Becki Niccum assists with the financial side of study abroad and processes payments and invoices. Becki can be reached at the email link above or at 317-940-3077.


donnettaStudent & Parent Services Manager Donnetta Spears is available to both students and parents for travel questions and information. Donnetta has worked with IFSA-Butler since 2000, and she has traveled through parts of Europe, Latin America, Australia and New Zealand. As the mother of 4 college students (one who has studied abroad too), she has a deep understanding of the ins-and-outs of study abroad from a parent perspective. Donnetta can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4252.


Once abroad, our students are in the capable hands of our on-site office, including our resident director. Click here to read more about Resident Director Laura Balbuena.

rhondaUpon return from your study abroad program, Assistant Director for Academic Records Rhonda Hinkle processes your Butler University transcript and assists with any academic record appeals. Rhonda completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Evansville and received her master's degree from Bowling Green State University. Currently she is working on her Doctorate in Adult, Community and Higher Education at Ball State University. For Rhonda, study abroad not only increased her awareness of the world around her but also ignited her passion for travel and education. Rhonda can be reached at the email link above or at 800-858-0229 ext. 4259.

Get Connected

Connect with IFSA-Butler Students

If you really want to know what it's like to study abroad, connect with IFSA-Butler alumni and students who are currently abroad on an IFSA-Butler program. Check out the following:
Student Network
Student Blogs
Experiences Abroad Videos
For Students


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