Volunteer Abroad in Peru with United Planet for 1-12 Weeks

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About

United Planet's Quest Volunteer Abroad program offers you or your group a life-changing opportunity to interact with local communities through customized work experiences, cultural activities, and home stays. United Planet Quests are offered in more than 25 countries from 1-52 weeks.

Volunteer in a variety of different locations while immersing yourself in the Peruvian culture. As the birthplace of many ancient empires, many beautiful monuments and traditions remain from those times. Volunteers will live in Cusco, the old Incan capital, enveloped by the Andes Mountains.

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Questions & Answers

Reviews

8.77 Rating
based on 13 reviews
  • Impact 8.4
  • Support 8.1
  • Fun 8.4
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 8 of 13
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Steven
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent

I was on a one week United Planet program in Cusco, Peru.
United planet is very well organized and everyone in the US office and in Peru was so helpful and knowledgable. United Planet helps with a fundraising page to help volunteers raise money to cover costs.
Once “in country” the experience was amazing. I volunteered at a wildlife rehabilitation sanctuary and I never could have or would have had the opportunity in the US (or maybe anywhere) to be so up close with the animals and to work side by side with locals... and the host family was great and they picked me up at the airport.... spanish language classes arranged at a local school. Add on tours offered. Advice and tips for before and during the stay in the country. Registration with the State dept, health insurance... the list goes on and on about how much United Planet gives. It was great!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Pick a good program like United Planet - trust their experience and professionalism and “Just do it”! :-)
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Tashi
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteered at a dental clinic in Cuzco

I spent 2 weeks living in Cuzco, Peru and volunteering at a nearby dental clinic. Overall, it was an amazing time, I especially loved the city and all of the cool places to visit. My experience at the clinic was great as well, the dentists and staff were all very welcoming and kind, and I never felt uncomfortable. The staff at the Spanish school did a very good job at introducing us to the project, and giving us a thorough orientation about everything we needed to know about living in Cuzco and getting to our workplace. Also, if you go to Cuzco in the winter, just be aware that it is very cold, especially at night it gets absolutely freezing, so be sure to bring lots of warm clothes. As far as safety goes, I would say that you don't have much to be worried about, as it is very touristy in most places. However, at night on the weekends, I maybe wouldn't stray to far from the main areas without other people, just to be sure.

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Lorraine
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wildlife help

I was posted in Pisac, Peru at Ccochahuasi Animal Sanctuary. I had volunteered at a veterinary clinic at home in Houston, but I had no idea how to care for exotic animals. Thankfully, the staff were incredibly nice and showed me how to do everything. I already was fluent in Spanish coming into the program, but while I was in Peru I was able to solidify my language skills through complete immersion. I stayed with a host family in Cusco, who made me traditional Peruvian dishes. On the way home from work, I would often tour the city and try to eat new things or bargain with street vendors. I am so thankful that I did this program because it encouraged me to be independent and create my own sense of identity.

What would you improve about this program?
more in-country activities
Response from United Planet

Lorraine, thank you for your feedback! We're so glad to hear that you had the opportunity to immerse yourself in the Peruvian culture, improve your Spanish language skills, and learn about yourself in the process. We would love for you to stay involved with United Planet in the future!

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Mckensie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Peru is Such an Amazing Place

Peru is so beautiful. There are so many historical buildings and ruins, you could spend weeks there just exploring it all. Volunteering at the after school program was a lot of fun. The kids were so sweet and eager to learn. Also, my Spanish classes were very fun and my understanding of the language improved greatly. Machu Picchu is also a must and I recommend taking the train there because the scenery is breath taking. I enjoyed every single minute and would definitely return!

What would you improve about this program?
Better communication with the staff located in Peru.
Response from United Planet

McKensie, we appreciate you sharing about your experience in Peru. We are glad that you enjoyed volunteering at an after school program and that you were able to improve your Spanish skills. Also, thank you for your feedback. We are always trying to improve our programs to provide the best experiences to our volunteers.

Default avatar
Karsen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing

My experience with United Planet was marvelous. I arrived in Peru with no idea what to expect. Although the pre-departure sessions and all my back and forth with staff had been extensive and gratefully appreciated, nothing can prepare you for landing alone in a third world airport at the un-travelled age of 17. I will admit I was slightly panicky, and wondering what I had gotten myself into. I met my host family and started to feel a little more settled after having a home base at both my Spanish school and my home-stay. Once the shock wore off, my adventure really began. I have always been bothered by people who come back from life changing experiences and simply say "it can not be put into words", but I am beginning to understand where they are coming from. None the less, I am going to do my best and try to paint a picture of my time away from home.

I have made some of the best memories during my quest, and my stay in Peru was and always will be a monumental time in my life. I feel that I made a real difference in the lives of the children in my project, and I can say without a doubt that they had (and are continuing to have)a huge impact in mine. I felt immersed in the culture and lives of the Peruvian families. My excursion to Machupicchu was an amazing and spiritually enhancing experience. I will forever cherish the memories of my day at the monumental Inkan ruins. My overall experience on my United Planet quest to Peru was everything I had hoped for and more. I will have these memories for the rest of my life, and would recommend United Planet to anyone looking for life changing volunteer experience.

Response from United Planet

Thank you for telling about your life changing experiences during your Quest in Peru! It is great to hear about the impact volunteering had on you while at the same time it had a great impact on the Peruvian community. We are happy to have helped create these lifelong memories!

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Emma
3/10
No, I don't recommend this program

Horrible Staff

The day to day experiences were great. I had numerous spanish lessons where I learned a bunch. I also volunteered at a project where the kids were amazing and inspirational. My host family was very welcoming as well.

However, the organization itself is a mess. The volunteer coordinator parked his truck in the space where we held the kids, so every day we had to rearrange the tables to make room for his vehicle. In addition, the truck left oil leaks on the tile which the volunteers were expected to clean up. Numerous times we were locked out of the project and were unable to let the kids or ourselves into the actually classroom.

The organization also made numerous last minute changes and cancellations. My host family was changed just two days before I left my house in the US and we were only notified by email. Had I already bought gifts for the family, this would have been a problem, as the ages and genders of the children were very different. On multiple occasions the scheduled cultural activities were cancelled, usually only after the scheduled (and paid) teacher or mentor didn't show up.

Then there's the intern. Not only is she rude and rather snobby, but she is also extremely unprofessional. On numerous occasions she failed to keep confidentiality when other volunteers made mistakes or broke their contract. In addition, she showed underage volunteers the local clubs and bars, giving her personal opinion on which ones to go to. She failed to act as an authority figure unless her internship was on the line. Only when a higher authority figure stepped in would she properly assume her position.

Response from United Planet

Thank you for your comments and your important service in Cusco. We value all volunteer feedback and we are working with our staff in Peru to improve the program for future volunteers.

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Anisha
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in Cusco,Peru

Throughout my quest, I had an amazing experience. I was able to not only volunteer and strengthen my abilities in the healthcare field, but also grow culturally. I had the ability to cooperate in several cultural activities and learn much about the Peruvian culture. My coordinator was amazing. She gave me a full tour of Cusco, and explained safe places to be and some to stay away from. The amount of exploring I was able to do comfortably was great. I hiked up several places in Peru and got explanations on all sites. I also took cooking classes, salsa classes and many spanish classes ... Overall, this trip changed me a lot and has changed my perspective on many things. I had an amazing time.

What would you improve about this program?
The price of the program would be the one thing I would change. It is a little too expensive, especially for us young students traveling and dedicating our time to help local communities. Although our money does get put to good use, some cut backs could save us a lot. I also am still a little unclear as to where all of my money went entirely. Otherwise, everything is great with this organization.
Response from United Planet

Thank for posting this review and for your incredible service in Peru! We are glad you had a good experience. More information about our program fees can be found here: http://www.unitedplanet.org/volunteer-abroad/why-pay

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T.Young
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible, Impactful Quest

I find it difficult to express in words the amazing experience I had volunteering with United Planet in Peru. I took a short, 10 day trip, and had the time of my life. Everything about the program met or exceeded my expectations, and I can confidently say that I made an impact in the local community there.

Working with the United Planet coordinators was easy and took all the stress out of planning my trip. They were responsive to my questions, and followed up with me in a timely manner. They also provided virtual trainings online for me before my trip that answered many questions that I didn't even know I had!

My host family in Cuzco was very sweet and they had two young daughters that were a joy to interact with and practice my Spanish with (and help them with their English). They provided me with three very good, authentic meals per day, but I did get the chance to experience the local restaurants and nightlife in the city as well.

Mafred, the United Planet coordinator in Peru is the owner of a Spanish school in Cuzco. Here, I got the chance to make friends with volunteers from all around the world. This was super interesting and not something I was expecting. Manfred and Niko, who worked with Manfred, were so much fun and helped me in so many ways during my time there. Oh, and the Spanish lessons were top notch too.

I had the chance to volunteer at an all girls orphanage that was just a short bus ride from my host family and the Spanish school. The conditions were pretty bad, but that's why they need volunteers, right? All of the kids were so sweet. United Planet advised us to bring along activities for them to do, so I went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of school supplies, educational workbooks, and some games. We had a blast and I could really tell that the girls enjoyed having someone there to care about them and interact with them in a meaningful way.

Along with volunteering, United Planet provides excursions to sites around your destination. I got to see all of the Inca ruins around Cuzco, museums, churches, and...oh yeah...Machu Picchu!!! Riding the train through the Andes to Aguas Calientes at the base of MP was like something out of a movie. Actually exploring MP and climbing Huana Picchu was just indescribably incredible. Easily one of the best days of my life.

I would highly recommend United Planet for anyone who is looking to travel and make a difference in the world. I plan on taking another trip this year with United Planet.

Oh, and if you do go to Peru, make sure to order Cuy. ;)

Response from United Planet

Thank you for your comments and your incredible service in Peru!