Brandon from NYC tells us his story
Brandon Sloan is a 29-year-old volunteer from New York City who has come to Cusco to make something meaningful of his travels to Peru. His volunteer experience at AMAUTA Spanish School has been fun, enjoyable and interesting as he works with kids at an after-school program. Each day from 2:00 to 4:30 he helps the Peruvian children with their homework, plays with them, and answers their many questions about how to say Spanish words in English.
A normal day for Brandon consists of him taking a bus or walking from the AMAUTA student residence at Calle Suecia to his volunteer project in Cusco. Brian really enjoys taking the bus, but he also likes to walk because he is able to discover new sites in Cusco. Just the other day he was walking through new neighborhoods and he found a barbershop and randomly got his hair cut. Once arriving to his volunteer project, he goes directly into the classroom where the kids are already waiting for him. He may continue working on an assignment with a child from the day before or some new kids may ask for help. On a normal day, Brandon says he helps about 6 kids. The children at this volunteer project range from 5 to 16 years old. During their time at the after-school program they eat lunch at 2:00 p.m., do homework, have a snack at 4 pm that usually consists of a hot drink, a piece of bread, and some fruit, then they go home at 4:30.
Brandon´s favorite part of volunteering is helping with the students´ math homework and showing new methods or shortcuts to solving problems. He also likes to see how the kids who usually act out in class, behave well when he gives them a bit of attention.
There are also some surprising aspects of Brandon’s volunteer work he has to deal with being part of Peruvian culture. He is still surprised by the lack of using timetables and also, when the teacher gives students the answers (especially when they do not finish their work on time). Coming form a different culture for Brandon it is odd to see teachers telling students answers instead of trying to help them solve the problems by themselves. He tries to spend time with the kids and help them understand the problem so they can answer it on their own. Another unexpected difficulty for Brandon is he feels that his Spanish has not improved as much as he was hoping for. Despite these setbacks, Brandon has gained a lot from this experience volunteering in Peru. He loves to help the kids and it is cute whenever one of them comes and sits on his lap.
Brandon loves travelling and has done it a lot, but one thing he will not forget about Cusco is the culture. “I will greatly miss the laid back and more relaxed feel here, compared to the up-beat and hectic life in New York City.”