Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in Peru

By Projects Abroad   Reviews (17)   88% Rating

With an extensive coastline, a vast area of Amazon rainforest and the Andes, Peru gives you the opportunity to visit South America and see much of its character in one country: wildlife, beaches, historical sites and mountains.

Projects Abroad has its office in Urubamba in the heart of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. There are placements in many of the small towns in the Valley all keen to have volunteers working in their schools. Our Inca Projects are based three hours away in Huyro which is surrounded by newly discovered Inca remains.

Program Info

Location: 
  • PeruCusco
Volunteer Types: 
Service Learning
Program Length: 
2-4 weeks
1-3 months
3-6 months
6-12 months
Cost: 
See site for details.
See Additional Information
Cost Description: 

The price of each placement includes all your food and accommodation, transfers to and from the airport, full travel and medical insurance plus support and 24 hour back-up from our staff based around the world.

Languages: 
English
Application: 
Online Application

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Program Reviews (17)

88%
Positive
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  • Impact
    76%
  • Support
    85%
  • Fun
    86%
  • Value
    85%
  • Safety
    86%
  • A VERY concerned parent
    Age: 51 or older
    Male
    US
    VERY concerned parents
    08/03/2014

    As parents, we were SHOCKED at how little adult supervision there was on the programs. Our child went on what we'd thought was a generally supervised program for 16-19 year olds. Instead, we discovered that the Projects Abroad teens were on their own almost every night, ending up drunk at the local bars and discos 3-4 nights per week! LOTS of drugs being offered to the tourists, and no Projects abroad adults anywhere around.

    We paid for the Projects Abroad meal plan, and learned that the first three dinners served were: (1) cake and hot chocolate, (2) plain bread, and (3) a slice of bread and spam. After the kids finally complained that they weren't getting enough food to live on, the meals improved a bit, but our child spent a significant amount of additional money just buying FOOD.

    We liked that Projects Abroad promised that our child would stay with a local host family, to learn about the Peruvian culture and get a local experience, but most of the kids on the program were simply put up in a hotel. The Medical program was supposed to be shadowing doctors for two weeks, but there was only four total days of that - the rest was mostly busy work. Not quite the hands-on experience we were promised.

    One P.A. student spent 1.5 of her two weeks sick in the hospital with a nasty stomach bug she picked up, possibly from the unfiltered brown tap water. Another kid ended up going to the hospital after getting into a bar fight with another Projects Abroad student.

    We spent a LOT of money on two separate two-week Peru programs and felt that the P.A. overall supervision was seriously inadequate. I could go on and on about the two Peru programs, but, in summary, as a parent, I wouldn't recommend sending my teens on a Projects Abroad program. We're not especially nervous parents, but we don't feel that the program was NEARLY safe enough to send kids that far away.

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    Response from Projects Abroad
    08/22/2014
    Thank you for highlighting your concerns. It is only through honest feedback that we can continue to improve the services that we provide for thousands of volunteers each year. As we discussed with you privately, we have taken additional steps to ensure that our expectations for participant behaviour are better explained and more strictly enforced throughout the trip - including offering more optional social activities with our staff in the evening instead of spending time with local host families, and following stricter disciplinary procedures in the case of inappropriate behaviour by participants. We are confident that these changes will ensure that High School Special volunteers experience a new culture in a safe, structured environment. Claire Howlett Operations Manager (Tanzania, Kenya, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia)
  • Cassie Chee
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    NJ
    Furman University
    Projects Abroad Peru
    12/12/2013

    I first heard about Projects Abroad through my university. I was looking to complete a Poverty Studies internship internationally and Projects Abroad was one of the recommended organizations. Peru was without a doubt one of the best experiences of my life, and I have Projects Abroad to thank for organizing it and being with me every step of the way before I even boarded the plane. All the host families I met were so warm and loving and I was also very lucky because I immediately fell in love with my placements. I taught English to students in a secondary school and served as a volleyball coach and mentor to 10-11 year old girls. Both of these programs were fun and incredibly rewarding and Projects Abroad was always there if I needed help with anything. They even offered teaching workshops to help the teachers come up with activities for their lessons. Overall Peru was a great area to be located and I was lucky to meet great volunteers during my stay. My one complaint would be the price but I definitely think every penny was worth the experience.

    How could this program be improved?

    If I had to change one thing, it would be the price of the program. Airfare was not included in the program and it makes it hard for young people to afford volunteering internationally. However, I really think it is the type of experience worth spending money on as long as you go into it with the understanding that traveling to a foreign country is expensive.

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  • Projectsabroad.laura
    Age: 18 or younger
    Female
    Wisconsin
    Inca Project - Peru
    08/13/2013

    This past summer, I was in Peru for two weeks working with the Inca Project. The project was based in a small town called Huyro. I absolutely loved my time on the Inca Project. Living in a simple concrete house near the mountain where excavations and most of the work takes place, the community of volunteers and local archaeologists welcomed me into the fascinating project. Though only in Peru for two weeks, a lot of new experiences and friendships were made. The support of the staff was perfect. From the very first moment I was picked up at the airport to the last sad goodbyes at both the project and the airport, the right amount of independence and guidance was given to me. Excavations on the mountain were the most interesting part of the trip. Clearing around the structures and discovering bits and pieces of ceramics and pottery, the archaeologists lead the group in uncovering hidden parts of the past. Some days on the mountain had to be delayed because of raining or too much moisture on the excavation site. Even with a couple set-backs on the mountain, we always had other work to pursue. Exploring and maintaining the structures on the mountain as well as clearing the grounds with machetes also filled our day-time activities throughout those two weeks. Little bits of house work around 'El Establo' were spread throughout the days. On my weekend, we traveled to Aguas Calientes to hike around the majestic Machu Picchu which was beautiful and a nice break from some of the manual work back at El Establo. Our meals were prepared with typical Peruvian foods such as rice, soups, beans, and potatoes with the occasional western foods tossed in once in awhile. My experience was wonderful - I learned a surprisingly large amount of Spanish and had a memorable adventure learning more about archaeology and even myself. I would encourage anyone to go!

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  • Katya K
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Toronto, Canada
    Other
    AMAZING TRIP
    08/06/2013

    This past april i went to Peru for 2 week to work on my Spanish skills abroad. This was a last minute decision and while signing up i was really nervous of how the trip would go but the staff was so helpful over the phone for the month prior to the trip. I spoke to destination staff who helped me by providing me with all the important information including emergency numbers, contacts and host family information. My travels went smoothly and i was picked up at the Cuzco airport by a Projects-Abroad staff who spoke English so i wouldnt have any problems communicating. Carlos was very helpful and showed me all the interesting places in Cuzco to visit on the weekends. The drive to the town i was staying in (Pisac) was beautiful and informational I found out lots of interesting information on the history and the future of the country. When i got to my host family's house, Carlos introduced me to everyone and left me with more information including when my classes start how to contact him , my teacher and the head of staff in Peru and gave me some ideas for activities to do on my first day. I felt very welcome and although I was alone in a new place i felt i had a lot of support from the Projects- Abroad staff which helped my trip run smoothly. Every day i would meet my spanish teacher at the chosen place and we would have our classes in the market or at a cafe so that i could use my spanish skills to interact better and have full on conversations. My teacher; professor Herman catered to my learning needs to the fullest and I greatly appreciated his teaching style. Overall, I would definetly recommend for others to travel abroad with Projects-Abroad they are my number one choice and i will travel with them again for sure!

    How could this program be improved?

    If i had to change one thing i would change the fact that i only went for 2 weeks because i wish i could've experienced more. I also with that you could book excursions through the actual Projects-Abroad company as opposed to outside companies, although they did help me to book with other companies i thought it might be easier.

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  • Abby H-R
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Chicago, IL
    College of Wooster
    Projects Abroad Care Program - Peru
    02/21/2013

    I spent 4 months in Peru from September to December, 2012. I loved every minute of my stay in Peru. I was living with a host family in a village called Pisac. Pisac is about an hour away from Cusco and is a beautiful little town with a daily crafts market. From Pisac it was easy to travel other places and it was fun to just explore Pisac, which is beautiful. My host family was amazing! Although I did not speak any Spanish when I arrived and they did not speak any English, they made me feel welcomed and part of their family from the very first day. For the first two weeks of my stay, I took thirty hours of Spanish. These were intensive private Spanish classes with a teacher from Projects Abroad. She helped me gain a basic knowledge of Spanish so that I could speak with my family and, after the first two weeks, start working in a kindergarten in a town called San Salvador, which is ten minutes from Pisac. During my time teaching, I also took another 60 hours of private Spanish classes at the same time.
    My time in the kindergarten was great! I worked with a classroom that had 18 five-year-olds in it. Although I didn't speak Spanish at the beginning, by the end I was able to lead the class in Spanish - teaching them how to add, write letters, and work on coloring. It was an incredibly rewarding experience to work with these children.
    A typical day for me consisted of breakfast at 7:30 am, working at the kindergarten from about 8 am to 1 pm, family lunch at 1:30, Spanish class from 3 to 6, and dinner at 7, then I would watch TV with the family and go to bed. Sometimes, I would not have Spanish because I would go to workshops provided by Projects Abroad to share ideas and suggestions about how to best work in the kindergartens. These were great because the Projects Abroad staff is extremely supportive in every way. And other days there would be social events in different towns where I would be able to join with other Projects Abroad volunteers and staff members and hike, cook, or hangout.
    I loved my experience with Projects Abroad because the program is set up really well - you are always supported by the wonderful staff and there are so many opportunities to really experience the culture. And Peru is an awesome place to be!

    How could this program be improved?

    If I had to change one thing about the program I would want the Projects Abroad staff to check in on me at my host family once a week for my entire stay. They did this once a week for the first four weeks, which was very helpful because they were able to translate for me and answer questions, but they stopped coming after the first month. Although I wish they had come to my house throughout my whole stay, they did come to my kindergarten once a week, so I was still able to check in with them and ask them questions about work and home.

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  • Britt van der Horst
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Breda, Netherlands
    Other
    Volunteer near Cusco in the care program
    02/21/2013

    I had a lot of fun during my voluntary work in Peru, I worked at a small school near Cusco in a small town called Calca. It was a quit town but in the neighbor cities there where many things to do and see. Such as Machu Picchu, Cusco city and all the beautiful ruines which where build by the inca's. During the week I worked at the school, I helped the teacher with all daily activities, I also teached english to the children and with lunch I was taking care of all the kids, not always easy since they do not have the same manors as we know most children have in western countries. Then during these weeks I set up a program with another american girl to improve the children behavior by rewarding them for doing things good and behaving like expected. This showed us that we can change a thing and we really helped the teacher with it, now her work is less stressful. During my time in Peru all the teachers in the Cusco region went on strike. So I also did one month of community work. This was fun we painted and cleaned an orphan house for abandoned children together with all the volunteers. We also had play days with the kids from the boys school and showed them a lot of fun things! It was a wonderful experience, I learned spanish, I learned about myself and about what an amazing culture Peru includes, I would advice anyone to go there!

    How could this program be improved?

    I wish I could have stayed longer

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  • Anon
    Age: 25-30
    Male
    Berkeley, CA
    Volunteer near Cusco in the care program
    02/21/2013

    I had a lot of fun during my voluntary work in Peru, I worked at a small school near Cusco in a small town called Calca. It was a quit town but in the neighbor cities there where many things to do and see. Such as Machu Picchu, Cusco city and all the beautiful ruines which where build by the inca's. During the week I worked at the school, I helped the teacher with all daily activities, I also teached english to the children and with lunch I was taking care of all the kids, not always easy since they do not have the same manors as we know most children have in western countries. Then during these weeks I set up a program with another american girl to improve the children behavior by rewarding them for doing things good and behaving like expected. This showed us that we can change a thing and we really helped the teacher with it, now her work is less stressful. During my time in Peru all the teachers in the Cusco region went on strike. So I also did one month of community work. This was fun we painted and cleaned an orphan house for abandoned children together with all the volunteers. We also had play days with the kids from the boys school and showed them a lot of fun things! It was a wonderful experience, I learned spanish, I learned about myself and about what an amazing culture Peru includes. I would advice anyone to go there!

    How could this program be improved?

    I wished for a spanish course before I went there just small things and sentences which could help me out more in the beginning fase of my period there.

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  • Erin Ferrentino
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Amherst, Massachusetts
    Hampshire College
    Midwifery in Peru
    02/05/2013

    Projects Abroad is an extremely well organized and supportive program. They offer a myriad of different hands-on volunteer opportunities in everything from teaching to dentistry. I signed up for the midwifery program in Cuzco, Peru, one of the very few midwifery abroad programs available to students like myself. Projects Abroad contacted me shortly after I signed up with my host family's information and work placement. When I arrived in Cuzco, I was picked up by a staff member, who gave me a quick tour of the city and introduced me to my host family. I spent the next three months working in a public health clinic in a small town about 30 minutes from Cuzco. I was paired up with an obstetrician, and assisted in everything from prenatal exams to live birth. Staff from Projects Abroad were always available to call and often stopped by my house or workplace to check in with me, which I found comforting. They also organized weekly events for volunteers to get together and participate in outings, such as tango lessons or hiking. It was a great way to meet fellow volunteers, and created community. Some of my closest friends in Peru I met through Projects Abroad too! Overall, if you want to travel abroad, be insured a place to stay, and guaranteed hands-on work in your field, I would strongly recommend contacting Projects Abroad.

    How could this program be improved?

    One negative experience I had with Projects Abroad occurred when a staff member called my host family to tell them I was being treated in a clinic, without asking my permission to do so first. It became a problem when my host family was very upset with me for not telling them I wasn't feeling well.

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  • Djova
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Switzerland
    Other
    Viva el Peru Glorioso!
    05/02/2012

    My trip to Peru was one of the most amazing experiences ever. I fell in love with the country and it's people, language, traditions,... My volunteer job, as an english teacher was wonderful and so rewarding. The kids were absolutely adorable, and deserve so much more. But I didn't approve of the Projects Abroad organisation, and was very disappointed in them. They cost a fortune, which is not necessary, so I really wonder where my money went. And they were trying to impose occidental views and ways of learning/living without taking much consideration of the locals point of view and problems. The other volunteers were too ethnocentric, and practically never tried to integrate the local communities or take part in local activities (eat a menu, ceviche, lomo saltado, drink chicha,...), they mainly just stayed together. On my own, I met the most incredible and caring cusquenos, and dream to go back and see them again, and do some volunteer work of my own, because I know there is plenty to do there, and way more to discover.

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  • Raquel
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    California
    Other
    Peru with projects abroad
    03/19/2012

    My trip to peru to volunteer with projects abroad was amazing. The staff was very helpful from the time they picked me up in cusco untill I left. They showed me everything I needed to get to and from my placement and to get around town. If I needed anything I could call someone at all times. Living with a local host family was a huge highlight of my trip. I would definitely recommend this program.

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  • ZaynabH
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Hull, United Kingdom
    University of Bradford
    An Amazonian Adventure!
    09/26/2011

    The Rainforest Conservation project in the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest on the banks of the Madre De Dios River was a wonderful experience which I will never forget. Day to day activities included bird-watching from different platforms of varying heights in the Rainforest (the highest being atop the Caopy Bridge which was 42 metres above the ground!), going out on a caiman hunt at night in a boat with other volunteers, collecting butterfly eggs in the Butterfly House, cutting grass with machetes to feed exotic Tapiers and preparing food to feed the different species of monkeys, exotic birds and jaguars in the Animal Kitchen of the Taricaya Ecological Centre's Lodge.

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  • Olga
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    Wisconsin
    Step out of the box!
    09/17/2011

    My experience in Peru overall was amazing! I loved the family I lived with; they took really good care of me. I loved the children I worked with, although it was challenging at times. I met a lot of really cool people from all over the world. I enjoyed traveling throughout Peru, and experiencing new things. I learned a ton.

    However, I wish I knew for certain that more of the money I paid to volunteer abroad went to the families and the local communities we were there to serve. The project wasn't incredibly well-run, although the coordinator I had the most contact with was fabulous. But sometimes school supplies, etc., were hard to come by, and I felt that the money I paid to the program should have gone more towards items and activities like that.

    But overall, as I said, I would encourage everyone to step out of their box and take a chance to meet new people and experience a new culture! There's no better way to learn!

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  • cm87
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    New York City
    James Madison University
    Good for newbies
    09/15/2011

    Projects Abroad is great if you have not volunteered abroad before. There is a lot of support in the home office and staying with a family is a really great way to learn the culture. I volunteered at a special needs school and the teachers and the students were wonderful. I prepared activities, which the office can help you with. Peru is a wonderful country to go to and I would recommend it to anyone.

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  • Meg Henderson
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Lennoxville, Quebec
    Bishop's University
    Projects Abroad Peru: AMAZING experience!
    09/14/2011

    I had the most amazing experience in Peru with Projects Abroad. Not only was my volunteer experience amazing, but my host family was so generous, understanding and friendly (especially since I had nooo previous knowledge of Spanish) and the other volunteers were all so supportive and fun. You truly feel like the other volunteers are family. I made some of my best friends there, and still keep in touch and travel with some!!
    Amazing program.

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  • PScev
    Age: 18 or younger
    Female
    Calgary, Alberta
    Convervation Taricaya Lodge
    09/07/2011

    Working with exotic animals was a huge experience to be a part of. Most individuals only see jaguars and monkeys in zoos, but getting to work and feed them firsthand was an amazing oppurtunity.

    Some difficulties of living at Taricaya Lodge was the food. The cook serves these huge meals that makes you feel like there trying to make you fat before they eat - the children story Hansel and Gretel. It is similar to food that you would eat at home, but some of the tastes are different because things are locally grown and not shipped as you would get at a grocery store. Taricaya Lodge tells you that they provide water which they do - to an extent. The water is murky brown and upon arriving at the lodge staff warn you of the danger of drinking it and that you can go buy some at Amazon Planet if you are not comfortable which is a ten minute walk away. The people that you are in contact with before your departure to Peru really need to inform you that you need to change money over. Other like myself only changed a little money to Soles(local currency) because we did not believe that we would be leaving the Taricaya to buy anything - we ended up have to drink our water sparingly which in a humid climate is not that healthy.

    Taricaya Lodge sets daily routines for everybody that they write on a board every evening. You change activities daily, but the staff will take into account something that an invidividual does not wish to do.My most favourite activity was animal feeding - you prepare all the animals meals and than serve it to them. The monkeys were the funniest to serve because they like to climb on you in their haste to get to the food before everybody else - The baby howler monkey, for example sits on you while she eats.

    My only advice is to do everything at least once - your in the Peruvian rainforest, step out of your shell because you only live once and 5 years down the road you'll regret not getting in that cage.

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About the provider

Projects Abroad is a global organization formed around the need for gap year programs abroad designed for students taking a break from studying. Since its inception, Projects Abroad has expanded to offer high school volunteer programs, and a vast variety of programs geared towards those taking a gap year or a career break. Visit the Projects Abroad website for more details on volunteer, teach, study and internship programs abroad.