Alumni Spotlight: Emily Lange


Emily is always looking for an opportunity to explore and learn more about the world. She is passionate about getting to know new people and experiencing places through the eyes of the locals.

Why did you choose this program?

I was super excited by the diverse and unique opportunities that Projects Abroad offers. They have a wide range of volunteer opportunities and time lengths to meet each person's individual wants and needs.

Additionally, the staff was super helpful at answering any and all questions I had. They were very prepared and made the planning experience very easy for me. I loved being placed with a host family and having other volunteers as roommates! Everything was very well thought out and planned.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Projects Abroad set me up with a host family to live with that provided 3 meals a day. They picked me up and dropped me off at the airport in Cusco and offered to plan my flights (although I opted out of that). They also organized for my travel insurance. In addition to logistic organizing, Projects Abroad provides weekly cultural events that helped participants experience Peru on a more intimate level as well as develop deeper relationships with fellow volunteers.

Volunteers worked Monday-Friday, so I got to organize my weekends for exploring more of Cusco, as well as greater Peru. I planned a trip to Machu Picchu, which was definitely one of the highlights of my time in Peru!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Don't get carried away planning everything before you leave for your trip. You are going to meet new people and make new discoveries about the country once you get there. If you have everything planned out already, you have no room for spontaneity, and I have found that the things I just stumbled upon ended up being some of my favorite experiences.

Also, when they say it gets cold in Cusco at night, they really mean it!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The best thing about Projects Abroad was that each day looked differently. As an archaeology volunteer, I had the opportunity to participate in cataloging, maintenance, excavating, and more! One day we even did some exploring and spent the day walking around and learning about ancient Wari site Pikillaqta. Expect to work from about 8 AM-3 PM and then have your evenings free for exploring!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was definitely making friends. Traveling alone can be very intimidating, and I was worried that it would be difficult to make friends in the short two weeks I was going to be in Cusco.

Luckily, Projects Abroad made it super easy for me to get to know the other volunteers. Working with other volunteers, cultural experiences, and having roommates were all great ways to get to know other people and make friends easily.