ISA Service-Learning in Lima, Peru

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Lima, the capital of Peru, is located on the west coast of the Pacific along the Rímac River. Lima is a large, international city balancing both traditional and modern influences. The traditional influences evolved from Peru's history as the home of the Inca and numerous other civilized cultures, dating back as far as 2000 BC.

ISA Service-Learning opportunities vary from rehabilitating marine life to working with disabled or at-risk youth to creating environmental protection campaigns. By partnering with community-based organizations and following a structures, reflection-based curriculum, you will learn how local experts are addressing these issues with the available resources while developing intercultural and leadership skills in a real-world context.

Each of our Service-Learning community based organizations is unique, so visit the ISA Service-Learning website to learn more about your options in Lima.


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Questions & Answers


8 Rating
based on 5 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 40%
  • 7-8 rating 40%
  • 5-6 rating 20%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 7.6
  • Support 8.6
  • Fun 6.8
  • Value 7.8
  • Safety 8.4
Showing 1 - 5 of 5
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Learning and laughing in Lima

Amidst the hustle and bustle of Lima, children often go unnoticed - especially in low-income neighborhoods. ELAP provided me with the opportunity to assist a teacher in a low-income public school classroom of 35 students. Yes, 35 third graders and 1 teacher! It was quite a challenge at times but so rewarding. What I enjoyed about ELAP was the staff's dedication to making sure I was able to be autonomous but still guided. They listened to my concerns, and helped me fix any issues that would come my way. I felt confident navigating the city, but at any point I knew that help was only a phone call away. It was a great experience, I made a lot of friends, learned a lot about Lima, and enhanced my Spanish skills.

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe staying up to date on current events. My teacher went on strike along with several other teachers while I was in Lima, meaning I had days where I couldn't volunteer. Perhaps if ELAP knew of this ahead of time they could have had other activities planned for me.
3 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Working with kids off the streets

Although I walked away from my placement learning a ton about the lives of children who were previously living on the streets suffering from various abuses, I was hoping to walk away feeling like I made a bigger impact as a volunteer. My position was just a small part of the program. When I arrived in the mornings, I would sit and wait for the boys to go through their morning meetings, duties, psychology, and sometimes a whole movie before I was able to work with them.

ISA is amazing, ELAP's administration is awesome as well. All and I had a great experience and learned a lot at my ELAP placement, but the organization I worked with wasn't exactly what I was expecting.

What would you improve about this program?
Not exactly sure.
2 people found this review helpful.
Response from ISA (International Studies Abroad)

Thank you for your comments about your experience. We were sorry to hear that you felt your service-learning was not as engaging during your short time abroad. It takes time to settle in a new work environment, especially in such a different culture. But don't forget, that in a situation like that you learn so many little things every day, which may not seem like a lot, but they do affect your world perspective and cultural insight a great deal. Even though you may not see immediate result, no placement is too small and the impact by investing your time and offering your assistance to these young people is commendable. Thank you for the kind words about ISA and ELAP.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-Changing Experience

I worked in a children's hospital teaching for 6 of the 8 weeks I was in Peru, and had an amazing time. It was so fun and I could see the direct impact I was making every day through the smiles of the kids and appreciation of their parents. With the other 2 weeks, I did a trip to Machu Picchu and another to Huaraz, where I backpacked in Huascaran National Park. These were bar none the most astonishingly beautiful places I've ever been to. Peru is a great country and I hope to go back asap!

2 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program

Not what I signed up for

The ELAP website had a lot of incorrect or misleading information, and I did not end up having a very active role in most of the volunteering that I did. For one of my placements, I was at a preschool in which my biggest jobs were taking students to the bathroom and observing the class. Another placement involved sitting around with a group of 12-15 year old girls in their youth home, playing games or watching movies. These activities were not a waste of time, but I do absolutely think that my time there could have been better spent both to help the organizations and individuals with whom I was working, and to learn from my experience.

2 people found this review helpful.
Response from ISA (International Studies Abroad)

We appreciate your feedback. In response, depending on language proficiency certain placements allow students to shadow teachers instead of actively teaching. This is still an important role of the learning experience in a different educational environment and a value to the classroom. At the youth development organizations, spending time with the troubled youth may not appear as if you are actively helping them, however the time spent with them is immensely valuable to those kids. Simply being there serves as great mentorship for these young people. While you may not have felt productive, you made an important difference in their lives through interacting with them.

We are continually updating the information based on the evaluations we receive, as well as participant’s logs of hours received. We thank you for your feedback.

Ryan Carrier Headshot
Yes, I recommend this program

Immersion in Peru: Life-long Friends and Lessons

Lima was incredible. I really enjoyed the city. It is very easy to get around, although it is a little terrifying because the drivers are all very aggressive. The "taxi" and "bus" systems are fairly simple and very cheap! I put those in quotes because taxis can be owned by anyone with a taxi sign and sometimes the buses are more like vans, but are official. The city is divided into sections, I was with a host family in San Isidro, a pretty nice part of the city. There are some dangerous areas of the city but mostly they are on the outskirts where you wont be going. I never had any safety issues. I really loved the city. There is so much to do and so much to see. You will never be bored! The tourist section, Miraflores, is super nice, with a large mall and parks and shops, and the government keeps it that way intentionally.

The human rights organization I worked for was La Casa de Panchita, a refuge for mistreated household workers. I was teaching English, working on some data entry, managing the social media, and other administrative things. Sunday was the big day for the organization and that's when all the people would come for classes, events, and other things. I would work in the lobby playing games with the young girls and boys or just chatting making everyone feel welcome and helping anywhere I could. It was amazing to get to know some of the women and hear their stories. It was very fulfilling and I got to work on my Spanish a LOT. We also worked at hosting an international forum on child domestic labor and an awareness festival. Some days it was a little frustrating because there was little direction given or I wasn't really doing anything beneficial but that's something you have to accept when working with non-profit NGOs.

The ELAP support was pretty good. There was a young girl my age in charge of it, Lucia, who was extremely helpful, supportive and friendly. Sometimes hard to get ahold of but overall she was awesome. I am still in touch with her actually! The head of the ISA office, Maria Elena, in Lima was also supper friendly and helpful. I would go in and visit the office a couple times a week. They would always be there if I needed help getting somewhere or finding something to do.

My overall experience, as I'm sure you can tell was life changing. I made some real life long friends in Lima. ELAP, in my opinion is the best way to really get to know a country. There were other students who were taking Spanish classes and they barely met any Peruvians. In my volunteer setting I was working almost exclusively with Peruvians. I truly was immersed in the culture and language. It was super stressful in the beginning and there was culture shock like I have never experienced but it turned out to be the best two months of my life. I would highly recommend ELAP, but know the actual volunteering may not be exactly what you expect and you may be doing some grunt work or menial tasks.

2 people found this review helpful.