Volunteer and Learn Spanish in Peru
Immerse yourself in the Peruvian culture
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Group Size: Varies
Trip code: PESV
Duration: 6-8 weeks
Learn Spanish and volunteer in beautiful Peru. Enjoy 20 amazing hours of Spanish lessons weekly for the first 4 weeks, plus amazing extra cultural classes in everything from cookery to salsa, singing and Latin American film. Then take on a role as a valued volunteer at a range of projects in and around the stunning South American city of Cusco. Live with a local family, learn the lingo and make a real difference on this unique Spanish & Volunteer adventure in Peru! Choose from 6 or 8 weeks.
- Learn Spanish in the stunning sky-high city of Cusco, enjoying 4 weeks of tailor-made lessons for all language levels
- Salsa, cook and sing your way through the Spanish school’s extra afternoon activities and soak up Peruvian culture
- Volunteer in the community, helping out in local schools, playschools, orphanages, hospitals or with street kids
- Stay with a local Peruvian family and learn how to speak, live, breathe and love Peru like a native!
- Explore the magic of South America as you take the perfect gap year in Peru: Don’t miss Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca and the Amazon Rainforest!
The Volunteer and Learn Spanish in Peru programme begins on a Monday.You’ll be involved in Spanish language lessons from Monday-Friday for the first four weeks, with a total of 20 hours of lessons per week. You will have around 4 hours of lessons per day. On official holidays an alternative activity will be offered instead (this could be anything from a walk around the town to a lecture on the history and culture of Peru). You will then volunteer at a project of your choice in and around Cusco. Volunteer hours will vary depending on the project type and your Spanish abilities.
You can choose from two options:
6-week Trip: 2 weeks Learn to Speak Spanish + 2 weeks Learn Spanish (mornings) & Volunteer (afternoons) + 2 weeks Volunteering only
8-week Trip: 4 weeks Learn to Speak Spanish + 4 weeks Volunteering
Week 1 (6 & 8 week trips)
Sunday – Arrive in Cusco from Lima.
Time to settle in to your homestay, meet your host family and get the feel of Cusco before your Spanish lessons begin. At 4pm you will meet in the centre of the city for a guided orientation walk in Cusco.
Monday – Introduction to the Spanish school.
On your first day you’ll meet at the Cusco Spanish School at 8am, where you will have a briefing and be asked to take a written aptitude test consisting of multiple choice questions, along with a short oral test. Don’t worry too much about the outcome, as this test is only to ensure you are placed in the correct ability level class for your skills! On the first Monday you will enjoy a group welcome dinner at 7.30pm.
Tuesday–Friday - Language Lessons & Cultural Classes.
Continue with 4 hours a day of Spanish language lessons in either beginner, intermediate, advanced or superior classes. You will study Spanish grammar theory and practice, do exercises to extend your vocabulary and improve pronunciation, and work on developing your listening, writing and reading comprehension using newspapers, songs and local literature of Peru. Also on offer in the evenings are a range of cultural activities and classes, such as salsa, cookery and film classes!
Week 2: 4 hours of Spanish lessons daily (Monday-Friday) plus cultural activities.
Weeks 3 & 4: 4 hours of Spanish lessons during the mornings with volunteering during the afternoons (Monday-Friday).
Weeks 5 & 6: Volunteering only. Help out at a range of amazing projects, including schools, orphanages or hospitals. The daily volunteer itinerary will vary depending on the individual project.
Weeks 2-4: 4 hours of Spanish lessons daily (Monday-Friday) plus cultural activities.
Weeks 5-8: Volunteering only. Help out at a range of amazing projects, including schools, orphanages or hospitals. The daily volunteer itinerary will vary depending on the individual project.
Weekends Are Free Time!
Your weekends are yours to explore Cusco, try adventure activities or arrange independent visits to amazing sights in Peru such as Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca or the Amazon rainforest. The language school has its very own travel agency and the staff will only be too happy to assist you in planning some trips, so don’t hesitate to ask them for help and make use of their local knowledge!
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You should plan to arrive in Cusco on a Sunday so you’re ready to begin your lessons on Monday morning. On arrival at Cusco International Airport (CUZ) you will be greeted by one of our representatives, then be transferred to your chosen accommodation and be given a brief introduction to the language school and the city.
To get to Cusco, you’ll first need to book international flights into Lima (Jorge Chávez International Airport (LIM)), and then take a domestic connecting flight. You can either book your own domestic flight from Lima to Cusco, or we can help you to arrange it if you book our optional Lima Arrival Pack. The arrival pack is available for an extra cost and includes a meet and greet at Lima airport, one night’s accommodation in Lima, breakfast, and a domestic flight from Lima to Cusco.
Because of the strict arrival dates, you may need to stay over night in Lima before you can take your connecting flight to Cusco on Sunday, in time for the start of Spanish school on the Monday, so you may need to arrange accommodation and airport transfers. If you need help booking a hotel and airport transfers in Lima for a short stay, please let us know and we can make arrangements for you.
Alternatively, you can book our Lima Arrival Pack, which ensures you will be met at Lima Airport by our representative, then taken to a hotel where you will spend one night. After breakfast you will be transferred back to the airport in time to catch your connecting flight to Cusco. (Please bear in mind that you must arrive at the airport two hours prior to your flight to pick up your E-ticket from the appropriate airline). Please ask one of our travel advisors if you wish to add in the Lima Arrival Pack.
Additional nights in Lima can be arranged if you would prefer to do some sight-seeing before travelling on to Cusco.
6-week Trip: 4 weeks homestay + 2 weeks at a student/volunteer house
8-week Trip: 4 weeks homestay + 4 weeks at a student/volunteer house
While you are attending Spanish lessons in the language school you will be staying with a Peruvian host family on a homestay. After that, volunteers will move into a student residence until the end of the volunteer project. If you prefer not to stay in a homestay, for example if you are travelling alone, then we can arrange all your accommodation in the student residence.
During your time learning Spanish in Peru you will be staying with a local Peruvian family on an authentic homestay experience. This is the ideal way to make the most of your Spanish skills and help you pick up the language that little bit quicker, as you experience a true taste of the culture and daily life of the Peruvian people.
Welcomed with open arms, you’ll be kept safe, enjoy clean accommodation in your own private room (includes a lock on the door), and will share the lounge, kitchen, bathroom and if available, courtyard or garden with the family and any other students the family has chosen to take in. All families have a television, radio and telephone (for the use of incoming calls). During your stay you’ll be free to come and go as you wish, but as a simple courtesy, you should let your host family know where and when you’ll be out, so they won’t worry unnecessarily.
With two meals a day provided by your host family, you’ll be served breakfast between 06:30 and 09.30, with a full three course lunch/main meal between 13:00 and 15.30. These times are flexible however, and you can always make other arrangements if you wish, (and let them know!) Your hosts will also be happy to cater for any special dietary requirements.
Though your accommodation may be a little more basic than a hostel or hotel stay, it will still be safe, secure and comfortable and the perfect place to experience real Peruvian life and language in a loving and hospitable environment.
All families are chosen carefully and monitored through regular inspections and student feedback and are middle class. Many of the homestays are situated in Santa Monica, the same exclusive residential area as the Spanish School. Taxis into the centre of Cusco from this neighbourhood cost around USD1.20 and mini-vans cost around USD0.20.
Please note that Cusco suffers from a water shortage, and most families do not have a water tank. Hot water installations and standards of accommodation in general, may not meet western expectations, so you should be prepared for basic or lower standards than you would normally be used to.
We ask that you respect the family’s home and accept their way of living as a unique and wonderful cultural experience. During your stay you should bear in mind that some of our host families may only speak Spanish. As they are used to accommodating students who don't speak Spanish however, they are always very patient and have become incredibly imaginative, communicating using basic words and sign language. If there is a serious need, the staff at the school all speak English and can serve as translators where necessary.
During the volunteer part of the programme, you will be staying in a student residence either at the Spanish school location or in a hostel in the centre of Cusco. With double and single rooms, shared bathrooms, a terrace, WI-FI and a common kitchen/lounge area you’ll be living comfortably just minutes away from the Plaza de Armas, the central plaza in Cusco where all the action happens!
With a cook in the house, delicious meals will be prepared for you. The structure of included meals runs the same as within the home-stay, and you’ll receive a breakfast and a home cooked three course lunch/main meal.
Laundry is generally not included at either accommodation placement, but there are several laundry services/ laundrettes in Cusco which usually return clothes within 24 hours.
The minimum age to participate on this Peruvian placement is 18, and for tourism purposes British nationals will not require a visa. On arrival at the airport, you will be granted permission to remain in the country for up to 180 days.
No previous Spanish language experience is necessary for this trip, as classes at the Spanish school cater for every level of language learning, from absolute beginners to more fluent Spanish speakers.
To work on the volunteer projects you simply need to be enthusiastic and motivated! The level of Spanish you’ll need to work on any given volunteer project varies, so we’ll help to advise and find your ideal placement when you book, based on your individual skills, requirements and preferences.
On this particular programme, as you’ll be working with children, you’ll need to undergo an enhanced DBS previously known as CRB, or Criminal Record Bureau check and will need to have a clean criminal record.
DBS checks may list past convictions, cautions, reprimands, warnings, and if applicable will show whether or not you have been barred from working with certain vulnerable groups. Non-conviction information such as fixed penalties may also be included.
There is an addition cost for the DBS check, please speak to your travel advisor at the time of booking. The DBS process is in 3 stages:
1. Once we receive your booking payment, you will then be sent an online application link for the DBS check, which you will need to complete.
2. Once you have completed the application, the DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) will need verification of your identity - to do this you will need to take 3 original documents to your nearest crown post office and use their DBS and ID verification service. This costs approximately £5 and is payable directly to the Post Office.
3. Once the post office verification is done it usually takes up to 2 weeks for your DBS to be processed, and your DBS will be sent to you directly in the post.