• Peru
    • Cusco
4 to 12 weeks

Program Details

Age Min.
Spring Break Summer
Host Family


Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Equipment SIM cards Transportation Travel Insurance
What's Not Included
Sep 27, 2021
Oct 06, 2013
0 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Cusco is a city in southeastern Peru, in the Andes Mountains. Cusco is home to the palace of the Inca, the Temple of the Sun, and the famous Machu Picchu. The people of Cusco still use traditional dress of polleras, play zampoñas, and raise llamas.

ISA Service-Learning provides opportunities to serve in Cusco-based NGOs, schools, clinics, and businesses through structured service-learning programs year-round. We have relationships with over a dozen different community-based organizations from small schools to women’s shelters to medical placements in clinics and dental offices.

Each service-learning placement is unique, so visit the ISA Service-Learning website to learn more about the specific placement and program options available in Cusco. Although we have something for everyone in Cusco, we especially recommend this site for anyone interested in community agriculture or dentistry fields.

This program is currently not being promoted on Go Overseas by its provider. Check with ISA (International Studies Abroad) for the most up-to-date information regarding the status of this program.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Receive personalized advising on service opportunities and program options that are the best fit for you. You will receive confirmation of the community-based organization you have been matched with before departure.
  • Begin your transition to daily life in your new country and culture on the Bridging Cultures Program, our in-country orientation.
  • Benefit from the ISA office, conveniently located a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas (main square) in Cusco. At the on-site office participants can check their email, check out books, get information on activities, or simply visit and practice their Spa
  • Have the opportunity to earn academic credit.
  • Demonstrate the professional, cultural, and personal competencies you acquired while on the program through reflection-based assignments and activities that make up the ISA Service-Learning Portfolio.


ISA Scholarships

ISA Scholarships and Financial Aid

ISA is committed to increasing all students’ access to study abroad’s many benefits. We don't let financial hardships to get in the way of a life changing educational experience.

$350 - $2,000

Program Reviews

8.5 Rating
based on 6 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 50%
  • 7-8 rating 50%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 8.3
  • Support 8.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 8.3
Showing 1 - 6 of 6 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Orphanage Internship in Cusco, Peru

I lived with a family in Cusco for 4 weeks during my internship at an orphanage for girls. Throughout my time in Peru I was able to practice Spanish on a daily basis with my host family, staff and children at the orphanage, and local Peruvians. Prior to the internship, I tried to keep my mind open as to what that would be like. Although I loved spending time with the girls, the roles and responsibilities were a little unclear, the orphanage lacked resources, staff didn't communicate well with each other and the coordinator of that home was on vacation for almost the entirety of my internship. These were daily challenges that forced me to be patient, flexible, and maintain a positive attitude so that I could make the most of the experience. I enjoyed learning how to use different forms of public transportation (taxis, combis, etc.) and trying a variety of traditional dishes. One of the best parts of the experience was being able to explore not only the culture and history of Cusco, but also other places in Peru such as Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. My host family was helpful and supportive of my needs. The on-site staff, although disorganized and sometimes unprofessional, helped me to solve different problems that arose. The off-site staff are excellent resources for preparing you for the abroad experience, throughout the internship, and after. This was an unforgettable opportunity to meet people from all over the world, visit World Wonders, try new food, give back to people in need, and grow as a person.

What would you improve about this program?
I think it would be helpful to inform students that they will not begin their internship immediately, they don't need to purchase an international student card (because one is provided), and make it clear that there will be many times when meals are not included.
16 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience!

I loved my experience as an ELAP volunteer in Cusco, Peru. I worked with young adolescent girls between the ages of 12 and 17 at a local refuge and taught them a health lesson every other week. The best and most valuable thing about ELAP is that it allows students to see a culture for what it really is, rather than just a group of Americans taking classes together in a foreign country. ELAP forced me to use Spanish on a daily basis, communicate with different members of the community and challenged my comfort level. I had an overall amazing experience and would be more than willing to recommend it to someone in the future.

The staff is wonderful, but not the most organized. But I think this is something that one must learn as part of Peruvian culture. Yes, organizations and businesses may be unorganized to an extent but that doesn't mean that they excel in other areas. I think you will notice that they devote time to other parts of customer service.

What would you improve about this program?
I would change the cost of ELAP. To be honest, I think it is pretty ridiculous to pay so much money to volunteer. It's one thing if that money goes to the organization one is involved with but with ELAP, that money goes to a wealthy corporation. I wish there was more of a monetary contribution to these organizations that ELAP works with.
15 people found this review helpful.
Response from ISA (International Studies Abroad)

Thank you for your feedback. We are thrilled that you had such an amazing experience with ELAP and that you were able to take full advantage of your study abroad program by connecting with your host community. We would however like to address your concerns with the cost of the program to hopefully give you a better understanding of the program fees. ELAP provides pre-departure advising, placement coordination and orientation materials to assure participants are well-equipped prior to their experience. We also provide 24/7 emergency services as well as the assistance of U.S. and on-site staff who prepare and support you before, during, and after your program. We also make a donation to the organization to ensure a sustainable partnership with the host community. For internship-only programs, room and board are also included. ELAP is dedicated to providing exceptional customer service so participants like yourself can have valuable and meaningful experiences. Your outstanding efforts did not go unnoticed and we appreciate the positive impact you had on the lives of those girls.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Lovely People

I loved the people that I lived and worked with. ELAP placed me with a couple who was tough on you but also loving and hilarious. I also worked at a hospital and was able to meet some very helpful nurses who taught me how to do some procedures, even when we were really busy. With so much interaction with native Peruvians, I was able to improve my Spanish in only a month and decided that I want to pursue a career in nursing. The city of Cusco is also amazing, especially if you like being outdoors, hiking, etc. My only regret is that I did not take more initiative at my worksite--I'm shy and probably could have done more if I had asked. I'd encourage anyone who does an internship with ELAP to speak their mind with the coordinators and with the people you work with--they're very nice and like having Americans who actually want to work and learn.

What would you improve about this program?
The coordinators in Cusco for ELAP are super nice and will do whatever they can to help you. However, they are really disorganized and tend to not tell you about important things until the last minute, ie meeting times and locations. A lot of students were frustrated with this.
14 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program


Going to Cusco through ISA-ELAP was easily one of the best decisions I've ever made. Any question I had was answered promptly and the staff in Cusco was so helpful. They went above and beyond to make sure students were always getting the best deals on their personal side trips and were always available to talk to. When I was sick, one of the staff visited me in my host family's home to check on me. The Cusco staff also always made sure us students were comfortable in our placements by accompanying us several times until we felt comfortable getting there and being there by ourselves. The staff definitely made me feel right at home!

What would you improve about this program?
I wish we had more details about the optional excursions prior to leaving such as where we were staying and travel info.
15 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Awesome Experience

ELAP was an overall great experience for me. It provided me with the opportunity to advance my Spanish language profiency(from a very beginner to an intermediate level) by providing me access to a great private tutor. I was then able to apply what I leaned at both my internship placement and real world situations. The staff did a great job of scheduling social activities. They also were able to get me the best possible internship placement that allowed me to work with kids and in a medical setting which were my two main goals.

What would you improve about this program?
A little more help in interaction with a broader range of staff at my internship would have been nice but I realize I was limited in my ability to communicate by only having beginner level Spanish.
16 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Ansley Hayes CUSCO review

The staff was awesome, although some of our activities were really boring. The practice of spanish wasn't much practice as it was just saying really really basic vocab. The only problem that I experienced was that I had no idea what specifically was expected of me at the kindergarten. I was not sure what my priorities were and where I was needed. I had a few instances of experiencing disrespect from the students and no one was there to help. I had a child really beat up on me and everyone pretty much said "well that's how they are."

What would you improve about this program?
As mentioned above, I would really give the students expectations of their work at the beginning. And I know that we cannot always stop the cultural things, like the children really aren't taught to respect their teachers, but I needed someone to help communicate my issues to the director.
8 people found this review helpful.
Response from ISA (International Studies Abroad)

Thank you for your response. We are sad to hear the placement was not what you expected and the purpose of the placement description you receive at the beginning of the program is meant to paint a picture of what you will be doing and detail potential responsibilities. Unfortunately we are unable to take into consideration the attitudes of the particular students in each class. As you mention, there are cultural differences between a typical Peruvian classroom environment and one you may be used to in the United States. We always encourage and welcome our participants to speak with our on-site staff if they have issues with their placements as they are available to help rectify problems, speak to your supervisor on your behalf, or provide you with an alternative placement, if needed. Additionally, the bi-monthly group discussions are designed for participants to address such issues so they can be discussed and hopefully resolved. I assure that we will take your feedback into consideration for this particular placement, and thank you for taking time to make a difference in the lives of these children.

Questions & Answers