Today we bring you a feature as part of GoAbroad and STA Travel Win the World Contest, in which it could be YOU who wins the trip of a lifetime to South America to explore Peru, Brazil, and Argentina. This incredible trip also includes airfare from the United States to all three countries and back, as well as program costs. To give you a better idea of what awaits you in each destination, we’ll be featuring interviews with each of the volunteer organizations over the coming weeks.
To get started, scroll down to learn more about how International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) will match you with a program that interests you Cusco, Peru!
1. As one of the oldest cities in South America, what should volunteers be sure to explore in Cusco in their free time?
Inside the city, Cusco has all kinds of interesting tourism spots – too many cathedrals and museums to count. Just outside of Cusco, Sacsayhuaman, Moray and the Pisac markets make for interesting day trips. Further afield, Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and trips into the jungle provide some unforgettable options for the weekends.
2. Tell us a bit more about the volunteer opportunities the Win the World Contest Winner will be able to take part in!
The program options are Childcare, Teaching English, Special Needs, Construction and Renovation, Jungle Conservation and Andean Immersion. If the winner is a medical professional or student (or pre-medical student), there’s also a Medical project available.
3. Is it required to speak Spanish in order to participate in the Cusco program with IVHQ?
It is not a requirement for volunteers to speak Spanish, but it does impact the amount of independence they will have on their project.
4. What are accommodations like for IVHQ volunteers?
Volunteers in Cusco are either accommodated in dormitory-style volunteer houses or in homestays with local host families. In both cases, volunteers can expect to share a room with 1 to 3 other volunteers. Living is basic but comfortable, with electricity and running water. Breakfast and dinner are included each day.
5. What makes the IVHQ volunteer experience unique?
The Peru – Cusco program is unique because it offers an incredible opportunity for volunteers to live and work alongside locals and experience the real side of Cusco. Interacting with locals and sharing their culture gives our volunteers in Cusco a unique perspective on everyday local life, while supporting important development projects.Cusco is more than just a landing spot for Machu Picchu. Cusco is a very popular program so volunteers have an incredible network of peer support, in addition to the local staff who are available 24/7.
6. What is the best piece of advice you would offer for a volunteer to make the most of their experience in Peru?
Be open minded and take initiative. We find volunteers who get the most out of their programs are the ones who come prepared with an idea of what they want to achieve in country and a strong initiative to make the change. Treat the language barrier as a challenge rather than an obstacle. Take it easy for the first few days because the altitude can take it’s toll!
7. Anything else you want to share about the Cusco, Peru program?
The local staff put on an awesome range of social activities for volunteers in their free time – free salsa lessons, movie nights, and language lesson options to suit all levels.