A Comparison at a Glance
https://www.holycross.edu/   vs.     https://www.pucp.edu.pe/en/

Student Population
HC: 3,102 full time undergraduate students
PUCP: 23,342 undergraduate students

HC: Kimball Dining hall is the main all-you-can-eat dining hall on campus. Kimball is open from 7am until 8pm, every day of the week. There are also a few other locations on campus where you can purchase sandwiches, salads, snacks, and coffee. The majority of students elect a meal plan which gives them unlimited swipe access to Kimball, as well as a couple hundred dining dollars to use at the various other locations on campus.

PUCP: There are three major “comedors” on campus. A “comedor” is a dining hall in which you can order full meals. Most students order the Menu Universitario, which usually includes a salad, a main dish, a dessert, and a drink. They also have a vegetarian option, as well as a “plate of the day” and a lighter fare option which you can get at these dining halls for very reasonable prices. In addition to these dining halls, there are many small cafés on campus which serve small sandwiches, breads, desserts, drinks, etc.. One of my favorite things on campus is the fruit stand. This has tons of fruits as well as other healthy snacks and smoothies. It is great when you simply need an apple to get you through your next class.

HC: Primarily On-Campus residential halls. Additionally, there are a few close off-campus options that some students choose to pursue junior and senior year.
PUCP: NO on-campus housing. Some students live multiple hours from school and commute each day. Many students live in the various surrounding municipalities of Lima.

Class sizes
HC: Besides a few intro classes, the majority of classes which I have taken have had about 20-30 students.
PUCP: One of my classes is a required class for Peruvians, and therefor has about 100 students in it. My other three classes are taught in smaller classrooms and have about 25-40 students.

HC: As I have taken mainly reading-based classes, I normally had 30-50 pages of reading due for each day of class. This usually added up to about 60-100 pages of reading per class per week.
PUCP: My classes at PUCP are either one or two times per week. On average, each class has about 60 pages of reading per week. For one of my classes, there is a required 1-2 paragraph reflection due each week on the required readings.

HC: On a MOUNTAIN. Greenspaces between buildings. Not particularly large (takes 10 minutes to get from one side of campus to the other). All the buildings are fully indoors. Only three main academic buildings/complexes. Large athletic complex and multiple athletic fields for competition and practice.

Photograph of a building at Holy Cross with a rainbow in the sky.
The skies over Holy Cross are the most beautiful!
View of Holy Cross from a window in Healy Residence Hall. Worcester can be seen in the background.
Another view of HC with a glimpse of Worcester in the background.

PUCP: FLAT. Lots of green spaces in which students eat lunch, socialize, and take part in events. Academic buildings are spread out across campus, making the campus feel larger than at Holy Cross. Stairwells and hallways of buildings are generally outside. Each subject, (ex. social sciences, law, engineering, etc.), has its own building/complex. Much smaller athletic complex. Courts for basketball, as well as soccer fields, and a track(supposedly…. I honestly have not personally witnessed this).


Beautiful view of the entrance to campus and a few main pathways.
Beautiful view of the entrance to campus and a few main pathways. Source: https://www.pucp.edu.pe/climadecambios/noticias/por-que-son-importantes-los-campus-universitarios-sostenibles/

Religious Presence

HC: Jesuit Catholic. Jesuit ideals, as well as many Jesuits themselves, are particularly present on campus. Many students attend mass weekly and participate in activities through the chaplain’s office.

PUCP: Catholic. While there are sometimes small catholic related things that catch my eye, there is no obvious catholic presence on campus that I have noticed. All Peruvian students are required to take a theology course.


HC: Division one, highly competitive teams, as well as intramural and club sports.

PUCP: Multiple sports teams which compete against other schools, yet are not the same caliber as D1 at Holy Cross. There are also many times when anyone can participate in sports for fun and fitness. There are workshops and times when you can learn different sports as well. Unlike Holy Cross, PUCP also has Chess, Judo, and Table Tennis!! http://deportes.pucp.edu.pe/deportes/

Language of courses

HC: English

PUCP: Spanish (yet a few readings for classes may be in English)


HC: Three dominant libraries: Dinand Main Library, Science Library, Music Library. At each of the libraries there is a combination of tables(normally for four people), individual study cubicles, and computers. Dinand Library has the most extensive hours out of the libraries, and the largest seating capacity.

Photograph of the Main room in the Dinand library at holy cross.
Dinand Library! Fave Holy Cross study spot for sure!

PUCP: Central Library, Academic Innovation Complex Library, Social Sciences Library, Theology Library, Center for Oriental Studies Library. The first three libraries mentioned, are all large buildings with various areas to sit and read, meet for group projects, etc. There are also other buildings with large study spaces.

Inside the Social Science Library. Source: https://cosas.pe/casas/122229/nuevo-edificio-en-la-pucp-estudio-y-contemplacion/
Image of the outside of the CIA.
My new favorite study spot on campus: CIA. There is always a soft hum of people collaborating on work. Source: http://biblioteca.pucp.edu.pe/biblioteca/biblioteca-faci/


HC: public safety; a few monitored gates

PUCP: guards at every entrance and must show student ID to enter

Trip to Iquitos

Before classes began in mid-August, we got the chance to travel to Iquitos, which is in the jungle region of Peru. While there, we stayed at a lodge in a small community along the Amazon River. When we got to the Iquitos airport on the first day, we walked out onto the runway and immediately could tell that we were no longer along the coast. The sky was bright, the air was humid, and finally the temperature was above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. To get to the lodge, we had to take a van, a mototaxi, and then a large motor-powered canoe.

During our first afternoon, we got a quick tour of the community, and then set out in our boat to go swimming. Along the edge of the river, there is lot of mud which we had a blast trying to crawl through and bathe in. Nothing quite like a relaxing mud bath in the amazon! To clean off, we swam out into the river and washed off there. To round off the afternoon, we watched the sun set from the middle of the Rio Ucayali.

Steve, Grace, Joe, and I enjoying a natural mud bath in the Ucayali river!
Steve, Grace, Joe, and I enjoying a natural mud bath!

Holy Cross students with our cultural advisor, Luis, enjoying the sunset over the river.
Holy Cross students with our cultural advisor, Luis, enjoying the sunset over the river.

After dinner, we took small canoes out through the marsh to find caimanes (alligators). It was really neat to see and hold an alligator, but since it had gotten dark, the mosquitos were out and vicious!! Good thing we got the yellow fever shot!

Sarah in a canoe holding an alligator.
Pretty cool holding an alligator!

The next day we did a “full day” excursion. After breakfast we set out for a day of animal watching, fishing for piranhas, and exploring the jungle. We got to feed some monkeys, see an anteater, and climb a massive tree. For lunch, our guide, Gumer, and our motorist, Alejandro, made a fire and cooked up the best meal I’ve had in Peru so far. We had fried plátanos (plantains), chicken, LOTS of rice, apples, cucumbers, tomatoes, and piranha, for those you cared to try it.

A monkey sits on the side of our canoe enjoying some orange.
Monkey enjoying some fruit

The next day, we woke up early to watch the sun rise and see some dolphins. It was absolutely incredible! We then went to a nearby community to meet a sloth named Pablo who has been domesticated by a family.

Sarah holding a sloth named Pablo.
Pablo is the CUTEST!

After breakfast back at the lodge, we went for a walk in the jungle to learn about herbal medicine and different plants which can be eaten or drank from in order to survive. In the afternoon, we did canotaje (canoeing). It was lots of fun even though the canoe, made out of wood, not plastic, was super unstable and we managed to tip the boat after about 5 minutes of rowing.

On the last day, we visited another nearby community to see a lily pad. While there, we also ended up finding an anaconda and a baby sloth!!

Joe, a student from holy cross, is holding an anaconda.
Joe holding the Anaconda.

After lunch, we made the trip back to Iquitos and got on a plane back to reality here in Lima.