Lizbeth visits the Wanka Identity Park in Huancayo, Peru. She poses for a photo in front of a statue representing an anomen fish in the colors white and orange.

From the Retama trails to the Swabian vineyards

¡Saludos a todos! Lizbeth guides you on an exciting journey from the enchanting trails of Retama in Huancayo to the refined vineyards of Swabia in Stuttgart. Join her on this thrilling journey as a postgraduate student, where you will explore the ups and downs, and experiences that have shaped her path thus far.
[Photo: private]

My place of origin is Huancayo, a city that brims with joy at the heart of Peru. However, challenging times like terrorism and hyperinflation left their mark on my hometown, prompting my parents to make the courageous decision to depart from the grand peaks of the Andes in Huancayo and venture into the verdant Amazon rainforest of Uchiza. Eventually, we settled in the bustling metropolis of Lima, where I've spent most of my life. I like to believe that I carry a small piece of every corner of Peru in my personal story.

An experience and a life-changing trip

My experiences led me to the choice of studying civil engineering. After achieving my degree, my involvement in the exciting Lima Metro project further fuelled my enthusiasm for infrastructure. Being part of the design and construction of my country's first metro system was a turning point that strengthened my professional career.

A group of people sits in a semicircle, each person at a table, in a wooden structure in the rainforest.
Lizbeth taking part in a relatives in meeting with the Yuncullmas native rainforest community.

In 2018, I made a resolute decision: I aspired to study in Europe. Immerse in the experience of exploring various railway systems that year, my curiosity and desire for exploration heightened. However, crucial questions arose: Which country would be most suitable for my studies, and how could I make this ambitious goal a reality? This is where our deep family ties with Germany played a pivotal role in shaping my decision. A portion of my family is deeply involved in developmental projects within the indigenous communities of the Peruvian Amazon, supported by several German volunteers.

The next challenge I faced was how to finance my studies abroad, leading me to apply for the DAAD-Alperu partial scholarship. After a thorough selection process, I was selected! However, this scholarship didn't cover all expenses, prompting me to make a bold decision: investing the savings accumulated over years of work in my homeland. I was wholeheartedly convinced that this investment in my education would yield fruitful results and provide me with the essential impetus to achieve my professional aspirations. And thus, an exciting quest for master's programs in Germany commenced, marking the commencement of a new and captivating chapter in my academic journey.

Stuttgart, my destination city

After an exhaustive search, I finally found the master’s degree in Infrastructure Planning at the University of Stuttgart, an option that perfectly matched my interests and goals. However, the application process was not straightforward. The documentary requirements were numerous and, to make things even more complicated, the admission deadline for 2019 had already closed. I had to be patient until 2020 to submit my application and start my studies. Despite the uncertainties, I was firmly convinced that the wait would be worth it.

Just when I thought everything was falling into place, an unexpected obstacle arose: the COVID-19 pandemic. My plans were abruptly disrupted. The in-person classes I had been looking forward to in Munich turned into virtual classrooms for learning German. To adapt, I found myself waking up at 4 a.m. in the morning to participate in online lessons, all while dealing with the challenge of securing the necessary funds to navigate this new phase.

And if that wasn't enough, another challenge was just around the corner. My passport was stuck at another embassy due to movement restrictions, resulting in a period filled with worry and nervousness. Fortunately, after five long months, I was finally able to initiate the visa process at the German Embassy. However, one last obstacle stood before me: the borders remained closed. It was at that point that I decided not to give up. Alongside fellow students, we drafted a letter requesting a humanitarian flight from the Peruvian Government and achieved our goal. Our thrilling adventure was about to begin.

A group of students pose in front of a blackboard for a group photo. The people are wearing face masks.
Lizbeth with her master students's class after the final exam.

The initial semesters did not unfold as I had imagined, as classes continued in virtual format. But finally, the third semester arrived, bringing with it the long-awaited opportunity for in-person classes. This change was invigorating and exciting; I could finally interact with my peers and professors face-to-face. Additionally, during this period, more doors opened for study excursions, further enriching my academic experience and providing me with the chance to explore closely infrastructure planning in Germany.

My present and future

In these days, my life in Stuttgart unfolds as an exhilarating blend of activities and emotions. My daily rhythm is shared between delving deep into the intricacies of my thesis and playing an active role within a specialized consulting firm dedicated to digital planning. From meticulously orchestrating cutting-edge hospital designs to contributing to the creation of iconic bridges, being an integral part of such diverse projects is a privilege that brings me immense satisfaction.

Stuttgart has been much more than the venue for an exceptional educational journey; it has enriched my personal life through every interaction and connection I have nurtured during my stay here. Every conversation, every friendship forged, has added immense value to my experience in this city.

A snowy landscape, in the background trees, buildings and rising smoke from a chimney. A person walks through the winter landscape.
Lizbeth enjoying a snowy day in Stuttgart.

If you are on the brink of taking the leap and embarking on a similar experience, allow me to share some advice that has steered me far: a strong and clear motivation is like a lighthouse in the storm. Whether it is your curiosity about the programme, an unwavering desire to immerse yourself in life in Germany, or any other passion that propels you overcome challenges and turn each obstacle into opportunity for growth.

Of course, it is not all smooth sailing. At times, challenges may appear daunting, and doubts may arise. Yet, bear in mind: life is full of leaps of faith, and should you choose to take that leap, you will find your way. As a song from my homeland aptly puts it, “We will be wearing out many shoes to get there…”

Editor: Lizbeth Mayleng


Andrea Queccara

August 8, 2023, 7:23 p.m.
I am very proud of what you have achieved and learned all this time, my dear friend Liz. Thank you for sharing your story of resilience and strength facing all the obstacles that appeared in the way tu fulfill your goals. I know the world will bring you all the joy and rewards that you deserve for all the effort and sacrifices that you are making. Love you!! ; )

Gabriela De La Piedra

August 8, 2023, 3:08 p.m.
Increíble Historia! Cuando los sueños y la voluntad se unen, surgen historias exitosas como el caso de Liz! Un increíble ser humano y una profesional muy talentosa!

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