SPAN 397: Language Loss and Deculturation in Cusco, Peru

USC students gaze admiringly at the great Inca citadel, Machu Picchu. Photo credit: Prof. Karen P. Pérez, 2022

Department: The Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures

Directors: For more information contact Professor Karen P. Pérez at

or Professor Martín Ocón-Gamarra at

Dates: May 13 – June 7, 2024

(Students will spend 1 week at USC and 3 weeks in Peru)

Location: Lima and Cusco, Peru

Course Description:

This course explores the cultures of Peru (Spanish, indigenous, mestizo, African, etc.) in the context of their shared history and their shared language: Spanish. Students will be immersed in the language, history, music, dances and culinary traditions of Peru and will use tools for addressing a range of problems associated with Quechua cultural and linguistic loss, the gain of the Spanish language, deculturation, ethnic discrimination, and other related topics.

The program incorporates a community service component where students visit an indigenous site and volunteer in the community in order to have a more enriching experience. Besides learning the way of life of an Andean indigenous community, students will have a Quechua basic language introduction class taught by a native Quechua speaker.

Lastly, and because Peru has one of the best cuisines in the World, students will have the opportunity to experience a hands-on cooking class by a local chef.

Course credit:

USC student taking in the serenity of Lake Humantay. Photo credit: student Molly Solem: Peru Problems Without Passports (PWP), 2018. Lake Humantay, Cusco, Peru.

This is a 4-unit English or Spanish-taught course that counts as an elective for most majors. Based on demand, a number of applications and applicants’ proficiency, the course may be taught only in Spanish so that students can receive appropriate credit towards their Spanish major or minor.

CLICK HERE to view the tentative syllabus.

Application Deadline: November 10, 2023 at 11:59 pm

*Please note: You need to fill out both, the LAIC Department Application Google Form and the USC Dornsife Maymester Application (Terra Dotta) in order to complete the application process. Please access both of the links below:

1. CLICK HERE to access the LAIC Department Application Google Form for 2024.

2. CLICK HERE to access the USC Dornsife Maymester Application (Terra Dotta).


This is a class open to all undergraduate students. No prerequisites.

Graduate students are ineligible to apply. Progressive students must contact the FLP office for eligibility prior to applying (

Intermediate knowledge of Spanish is required


CLICK HERE to access the flyer.

Estimated Costs (Excluding Spring Tuition) ( if on a mobile device, scroll left to right to see the costs)

International flight (USA-Lima-USA): $900 – $1,000
Domestic flight (Lima-Cusco-Lima): $250 – $300
Room & Board* $800 (Hotel in Lima: 5 nights, hotel near Machu Picchu: 2 nights, and Homestay with full board in Cusco: 2 weeks)

*Meals not covered by the program: $150-$200

PLEASE NOTE: A $500 non-refundable deposit is due upon student acceptance of a Maymester course. While most spring courses allow for an add/drop period, Maymester courses require immediate commitment due to travel arrangements and budgeting.

If a student cancels his/her participation after being accepted into the program, the $500 deposit will not be refunded under any circumstances, even if there is still time to drop the course according to the regular spring semester schedule.

Check out this former student’s instagram page!

(If having difficulty accessing the Peru IG page, click here to link to the video)