What if you could practice your Spanish, enjoy a fabulous adventure, enhance your resume, earn academic credit (depending on the program), and contribute your time and skills to an important cause? We imagine you’d say ‘yes!’ This is the opportunity a Peru volunteer abroad program may provide. Read on for more Volunteer in Peru programs information.
Peru is located in South America along the western coast of the continent. It’s next to Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, and Chile. Its official languages are Spanish, Quechua, and Aymara, and its culture is influenced by its Spanish and native American roots. Its geography is quite diverse with arid plains, expansive mountains, and the Amazon rainforest. It also has a long coastline that hugs the Pacific Ocean. The country’s beauty, biodiversity, and intriguing culture may make it a wonderful place to volunteer abroad. If you want to spend time in South America, why not volunteer abroad in Peru?
Why Consider Volunteering in Peru?
Whether you volunteer in a medical clinic, a school, an orphanage, a conservation facility, or another of Peru’s many non-profit or non-governmental organizations, you’ll likely enjoy a life-enhancing experience. Working alongside locals could help you gain a better sense of life in Peru and you may learn some about your colleagues’ families and experiences in the country. Depending on your program, you may also engage in a language-intensive program, take tours with your colleagues, or take classes to enhance your volunteering experience. Any of these options could add breadth and depth to your experience. Even if you opt to solely volunteer abroad in Peru, you’ll likely always keep a piece of the country nestled in your mind and heart.
What Might It Be Like to Live in Peru While I Volunteer Abroad?
While you’re volunteering in Peru, you’ll also be living there! This means that you’ll likely get to submerse yourself in Peruvian culture. Where you live and volunteer in Peru (in Lima, a large metropolitan city or Cusco, a smaller town in the mountains, for example) will influence your experience, but there are some things you’ll likely experience no matter where you are located. For example:
Peruvian culture: Perhaps consistent with its biodiversity, Peru’s culture is diverse. Peruvian societies are metropolitan, modern, rustic, agricultural, and everything in between. The country’s Spanish heritage mixes with its native heritage, and its culture’s many nuances are expressed through Peruvian song, dance, and artistry. Handicrafts are beloved in Peruvian culture, as are its alpacas and llamas, many of whom give their wool to Peruvian artistry. Peru is a country that values its history, rituals, and traditions and celebrates many of them through ceremonies, rituals, festivals, and museums.
Peruvian cuisine: As a hardworking volunteer, you’ll need to eat! Luckily, Peruvian cuisine has you covered. Some of the country’s staple foods include quinoa, beans, corn, and potatoes (of which there are more than 25000 varieties! Check out the potato section at a market.) A popular seasoning is the yellow chili pepper (called aji), and you’ll find it atop dishes, mixed into sauces, and even served in drinks. Causa, a cold casserole traditionally layered with avocado and potatoes and sometimes intertwined with tuna, meat, or hard-boiled eggs (and then sliced and sometimes cut into fun shapes!) is another Peruvian favorite. Meat-lovers might enjoy lomo saltado (stir-fry made with beef, vegetables, and soy sauce and served over rice), antichuchos (skewers of grilled meat), rocoto relleno (a large, hot pepper cut in half and served with seasoned ground beef and melted cheese), and cuy (roasted or baked guinea pig—yes, guinea pigs!). And the pièce de résistance in Peru, at least in its coastal areas, is ceviche. Ceviche consists of raw fish “cooked” by the citrus in limes and, commonly, onions, peppers, and cilantro. In Peru, it’s often served alongside cooked sweet potato and choclo, or giant pieces of corn. If you’re thirsty in Peru, try an Inca Cola, a chichi morada, or, if you’re old enough to drink, the Pisco Sour.
These are just some of the many culinary delights of Peru. If you want to volunteer abroad, Peru may offer a wonderful opportunity to eat your way through the experience!
There are also some amazing places you might consider visiting while you’re volunteering in Peru. For example, why not visit:
- Machu Picchu: Perhaps one of Peru’s most beloved sights. Machu Picchu is a breathtaking 15th century Incan city in the heart of the Andes. Consider taking a guided trek to Machu Picchu or climbing Huayna Picchu once inside.
- The Peruvian Amazon Basin: Hike through the rainforest, enjoy rustic lodging along Sandoval Lake, and keep your eyes open for wildlife!
- The sand dunes in Huacuacina. Consider sandboarding or hopping a ride on a dune buggy.
- Cusco: Spend some time in its plazas and exploring its colorful and vibrant market. Eat some good food, meet some great people, and chew on coca leaves to stave off altitude sickness.
- Lima: Visit the magic water circuit at the Parque de la Reserva, the cat park in Mira Flores, and Mercado Surquillo No. 1.
I’m Ready to Volunteer in Peru. Now What?
We’ve put together a list of programs that offer a range of opportunities to volunteer abroad in Peru. Simply browse through the programs and click on “Learn More” to view details. When you find a program you love, submit a form to request more information and to learn how to register. Alternatively, you can click on the program’s name from the homepage to go to the program’s website. Why not give yourself (and Peru) the gift of volunteering abroad? Your opportunity to contribute and enjoy a fantastic adventure awaits.