Volunteering in Peru – What You Gain from Giving
Friday March 18, 2016 - Posted by webmaster to Volunteer Work
Volunteering in Peru
Thinking about volunteering in Latin America? Peru offers the perfect posibilities for volunteering! Not only are there opportunities in almost every kind of work field, but you will also be able to practice your Spanish immersing into the Peruvian culture!
For many study programs it is useful if not mandatory to engage in some practical work that prepares the student for their future career. Very often this is why students decide to engage in a volunteer project in another country. But volunteering is not just working for free. You will get plenty of things out of this experience! Volunteering in Peru can accompany perfectly your Spanish Classes in Cusco helping you to first-hand practice what you have recently learnt while living in Peru! Not only will you connect to the Peruvian culture in an entirely personal way, but you will gain valuable experiences that will make you see your travel-country through different eyes.
|Special Deal and Benefit from your Giving
Take the AMAUTA Special Special Offer and contact us now 6 Week Spanish amp&; Volunteer Program for only USD 1250!
Includes all fees, 40 hrs of Spanish, 6 weeks of lodging, volunteer placement + daily activities
Volunteer experience Cusco: Alida’s Story
Do you want to have an idea of a typical volunteer experience in Cusco? The AMAUTA student Alida Carslake from Canada, volunteered at a Senior´s Home here in Cusco and she shared her experiences with us. Read her story!
Alida helped out in various ways at the Senior Care Centre in Cusco: spending time with residents, cleaning up around the home, cooking meals, and helping the residents with daily activities. Over her month of volunteering, she supported the community substantially, and one man loved her so much that he proposed! Alida did an amazing job volunteering and impacted the lives of many. We asked her a few questions about her time volunteering in Cusco for you:
- What is your favorite thing about Cusco? What is your least favorite thing?
There are a lot of good restaurants in Cusco. And also the Peruvian history. Those two…the history and the food are my favorite things. I´m fascinated with archaeology and history and I always tend to travel to cities that have that kind of stuff. I guess I could lump all of that into culture…even gastronomy is part of culture. My least favorite thing is the rain. It was a little depressing when it rained every single day. I had to leave my house with my umbrella, my sunglasses, my hat, and a jacket…I carried a lot! But well, that can happen in rainy season in Peru.
- And, what was your favorite thing about volunteering at the Senior´s Home?
I felt like I made a difference in some people´s lives. Even if it was temporary, I made a difference. The residents and staff were also my favorite. When I would arrive in the morning, the residents would be smiling and waving at me…it was nice to know that I put a smile on their face, and they also put a smile on my face.
- What differences do you see between “care for elderly people in Peru” versus “care for elderly people in Canada”?
Where I was working back home, we have private residences and public residences. Both of them have a lot of staff and they aren´t free. My mother was in a public residence and my father was in a private residence. They both had a lot of staff and both charged residents depending on their assets. My mother couldn´t do anything by herself and we would help her eat. If we weren´t there, one of the staff would do it. Here, the staff helps feed those who can´t eat by themselves but they are definitely understaffed. If I would have done volunteer work at a Senior´s home back home, I would have been talking with residents or entertaining them, whereas here I was doing pretty much everything, helping the very little staff they have.
- Did you have a favorite day or moment when you were volunteering?
Yeah, I liked helping in the kitchen. That was my favorite. It was a routine, I was good at it, and I was fast. One day we made truck-loads of cookies and all of the volunteers got to work together. It was really fun.
- Was there a specific patient at the Senior´s Home that you connected with?
There were a few. On my 2nd day on the job, a man named César asked if we could start dating. I told him that I live in Canada and then avoided him for a while. Eventually we became friends.
- Do you feel that your Spanish improved while you were volunteering?
Oh yes, certainly. I think it improved because I was speaking nothing but Spanish while I was at the Senior´s Home. I learned some new words that I didn´t know that related to the work I was doing.
- What restaurants did you like the best in Cusco?
I liked Mutu…I ate their often. I also liked Greenpoint and la Boheme (a crepe place). There´s a dish a liked at Jack´s Café…it was a tortilla with beans, cheese, guacamole, and salsa. It was a huge plate. My host family ate a lot of meat, so when I went out I liked to find a place that had a lot of vegetables.
- Did you have a favorite Peruvian dish that you tried?
I found that the food was good at the host family. Lomo Saltado was quite tasty. The dinner we had at the Welcome Dinner at Amauta was also delicious. I never tried ceviche because I didn´t trust the fish here.
- Do you have any recommendations for future travelers/volunteers/students at AMAUTA?
Don´t eat sprouts. I got sick eating a sandwich that had sprouts. It doesn´t matter how fancy the restaurant is, but now I don´t touch any dish that contains sprouts.
- What about your travel experience in Peru?
The highlight of my trip was the trip to Machu Picchu. It was why I came to Peru and it was a magical place. It was totally worth it. If I hadn´t done volunteer work, I would have been bored because I was here for so long. Once I saw and did everything in the Cusco area, it was nice to have volunteer work so that I could stay here longer without getting bored. When I travel, I want to know about the culture and the history of the place, not just see the sights. The program AMAUTA offered me, a combination of combination of going to school to learn Spanish, living with a family, and doing volunteer work gave me the opportunity to do that.