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START DATES

EVERY MONTH ALL YEAR ROUND

PRICED FROM

1,935 USD + 249 USD REGISTRATION FEE

DURATION

CHOOSE FROM 6-12 WEEKS

MINIMUM AGE

18 YEARS OLD ON START DATE

REAL SOUTH AMERICA ENCOUNTER

PMGY’s Real South America Encounter takes you to Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru. We seriously can’t think of a more sublime combination of mysterious, picturesque and charming countries to volunteer in. Join us on a mind-blowing 6-12 weeks and be sure to improve your Spanish language in each country as you learn Spanish abroad.

 

In South America, you will encounter countless views of the Sierra Madre and Andes mountains. In addition, you will take in a range of wildlife species including leatherback sea turtles, 2-toed sloths and spider monkeys. There will be lasting tastes from each country as you enjoy delicious Peruvian Ceviche or Costa Rican Dados de Queso! South America’s various climates and infinite sights will leave you wishing you never had to leave. Volunteer in South America on this once in a lifetime trip and choose the trip duration, volunteer projects and travel experiences that are right for you.

 

ENCOUNTER HIGHLIGHTS

  • VOLUNTEER IN EACH COUNTRY & SUPPORT THE UN’S SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
  • TAKE IN THE BEST OF SOUTH AMERICA IN ONE TRIP
  • EXCITING WEEKEND TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE ACROSS EACH COUNTRY
  • EMBRACE NEW CULTURES, ADVENTURES AND COMMUNITIES WITH NEW FRIENDS
  • VISIT ARENAL VOLCANO, GALAPAGOS ISLANDS AND MACHU PICCHU IN YOUR FREE TIME
  • FULLY STRUCTURED AND INCLUSIVE FROM START TO FINISH

HOW IT WORKS

The South America Gap Year experience has start dates all year round. Moreover, participants can choose the trip duration that is right for them when completing volunteer work in South America. There is 6,9 and 12 week gap year in South America options to choose from on the online application. All programs commence on the first Sunday of each month, but alternate start dates can be considered on request.

 

Should you choose the 6-week option you will spend 2 weeks volunteering in each of Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru. In the same vein, should you choose a 9-week South America Gap Year experience, you will spend 3 weeks volunteering in each destination. Likewise, the 12 week program will see you join us for 4 weeks in each of the three countries.

 

Volunteers will need to plan their flight schedules to match their country-specific trip dates. Therefore, you will need to arrange your inbound flight to arrive in Costa Rica for the beginning of the South America Gap Year experience. Your outbound flight will need to depart out of Peru once your time on the program is completed.

 

In addition, you will need to budget and plan your intermediary flights for your South America Gap Year experience. More specifically, you will need to book flights from Costa Rica to Ecuador and then Ecuador into Costa Rica matching your specific trip dates. This may sound a little complicated, but rest assured, the PMGY team are on-hand for assistance. For the reason that we can provide comprehensive flight quotes tailored to your South America Gap Year experience. You can request a flight quote or general assistance with flights planning during the online application.

 

Across your South America Gap Year Experience, you will meet plenty of other travellers and volunteers along the way! The numbers and types of people you will encounter will change as you move from country to country. This will allow you to make many friendships and share experiences with a range of people on your South America encounter journey!

 

You can choose any of the standard South America volunteer programs in each country during the online application process. Please note, some volunteer projects may be subject to availability and you should only select one project to each destination. Additionally, there may be an additional cost associated with some projects. Any additional costs will be made clear next to the volunteer project option during the online application. You can explore your volunteer options in each destination below. It will be an unforgettable 6-12 weeks!

🇨🇷 VOLUNTEER IN COSTA RICA (2, 3 OR 4 WEEKS)

Your first stop will be Costa Rica. This beautiful country has been an explorer’s dream for decades. Its landscape is diverse with crystal blue waters, dense rainforest and over 60 volcanoes. Be sure to get comfortable with a bit of close interaction because each person you greet will be up for a kiss on the cheek. You will no doubt remember the blissful memories of Costa Rica after your time visiting this amazing country. After all, the country has been referred to as the ‘world’s happiest country’.

 

Combine adventure travel with community volunteering as well as ticking off all the ‘must-see’ things in Costa Rica. You will spend your first-week learning or enhancing the beautiful Spanish language. The remainder of your time in Costa Rica will be volunteering in either a childcare setting or teaching English.

 

While Costa Rica has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, the use of English isn’t as often as one would think. For the reason that many of the local people are still unable to communicate properly in English. Consequently, taking the time to interact with local people will help their English levels improve! You will be able to select your volunteer in Costa Rica project during the online application.

 

🇨🇷 VOLUNTEER PROJECTS IN COSTA RICA

COSTA RICA CHILDCARE

As a childcare volunteer in Costa Rica, you will provide additional support to childcare projects within the Coronado community. Not only this, PMGY’s Costa Rica volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. Combine your Spanish learning and enthusiasm for childcare projects to make the most out of your volunteer with children in Costa Rica experience!

 

BACKGROUND TO THE CHILDCARE PROGRAM

Compared to other parts of Latin America, Costa Rica benefits from good standards of living and higher levels of education. Yet families from poorer backgrounds and more disadvantaged communities still face times of hardship. More specifically, they rely on the support of the wider community and social initiatives to help them get by.

 

Much of this assistance comes from local organisations or religious associations within the local area. For example, the local church will raise funds and host events to provide activities and support for underprivileged children and communities. Due to the interaction of the church, there is a big Christianity influence. Volunteers will encounter this on a consistent basis within the local community.

 

In addition to this, many parents that can find work will be working long hours. They will start working early in the morning and work well into the evening. The state and community support with this by providing affordable, subsidised and well-resourced day-care centres. Coronado has a series of nurseries for young children to attend. At these nurseries, children are provided meals, education and a place to rest.

 

The projects in Costa Rica are well resourced and maintained. This is a positive example of money going into the right places for infrastructure and community development. Whilst it may not be so visually evident, many of the children at these projects come from poorer more disadvantaged backgrounds. When these families cannot afford new uniforms for their children the wider community will step in and provide.

 

Therefore, the volunteer need at these projects is different and not as apparent to other projects. Facilities are good and resources are plentiful. In contrast to this, many of the children come from disadvantaged backgrounds. They face much more challenging living standards outside of the project.

 

Volunteers are on hand to brighten up the days of these children. The project environment provides a great foundation for volunteers to facilitate this. As you volunteer with children in Costa Rica, your support from the local staff is much appreciated. This is because the ratio of caregivers to children can stretch up to 1:25 at times. The children are very cute and full of energy so get ready for craft time, meals and lots of singing!

 

To ensure our volunteers are equipped the childcare program will include 1 week of Spanish language classes to start your project! Thus when you travel to Costa Rica, these lessons that take place during your first week will set you up well for your volunteering experience.

 

Volunteer opportunities in Costa Rica provided by PMGY will provide you with a platform to make a positive impact. When working at our childcare volunteer projects in Costa Rica, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. For the reason that many of these children will be seeking the care and attention that you as a childcare volunteer in Costa Rica can bring. To volunteer with children in Costa Rica, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your impact on the local people.

 

CHILDCARE VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES

Materno Educativo Los Ninos Primero – Located just outside central Coronado, the project is home to around 40 children each day. As you complete volunteer work in Costa Rica at this project, you will play a key role in supporting the more limited local support team.

 

Ages of the children range from as young as 2 months up to around 6 years old. The project is open from 6am-6pm although the volunteer schedule usually runs from around 7:30am-12:30pm. Volunteers are welcome to stay as long as they wish at the project. Thus, if you wish to continue volunteering in the afternoon, this is more than possible.

 

The morning schedule sees more children in attendance and more activities and class-based learning. In the afternoons when there are lower numbers of children. Thus the daycare centre tends to adopt a more relaxed approach with more play and recreation time.

 

The project itself is very well resourced and maintained. Volunteers are encouraged to be as creative and proactive as possible to engage with all the children and plan activities. The children are generally from the poorer areas of the local community. Whilst the centre is well resourced, your physical support doing volunteer work at the project can certainly go a long way.

 

Due to the education and support at the project, volunteers are requested to have intermediate Spanish on this project. The project staff will generally only tend to speak in Spanish adopting very limited English.

 

Gotitas De Sabiduria – Located in the main hub of Coronado, this nursery is about a 30 minute walk from the accommodation. The walk will take you right through the centre of town! The project cares for up to 30 children from 7am-7pm Monday to Friday. Children are provided with meals, music & art activities and basic education in grammar. The mornings are when the project premises is busiest and when volunteer support is more appreciated.

 

The project is available for a mix of ages from caring for newborns up to children aged 12 years. There are 6 local staff members based on the project that you will be working alongside. The teachers believe that no two students have exactly the same skill set or learning style. The classrooms are full of activity and learning time to cater to many different children and their learning styles. Volunteer interaction enhances this opportunity with small group activities or one-on-one learning.

 

Teachers will utilise volunteers by preparing small lessons in a range of areas. These areas include colours, English alphabet, songs and active learning through games and crafts. Examples of crafts may be ‘Letter of the Week’, finger-painting activities and making paper-puppets. Volunteers should use their imagination during the day to day aspects of the volunteer projects. As preparations for this, volunteers should utilise their free time to plan activities in advance.

 

If you like working with babies there are 5-10 at the project each day. The caregivers are always in need of assistance in areas such as cleaning, changing, feeding, soothing and playing. These little ones need a lot of love and attention to thrive and grow each day. Volunteers helping out in this area will be essential. This is because 1 caregiver managing many infants can be very challenging. Thus, the extra pair of arms means one more person to soothe the little ones.

 

Volunteers will assist the local staff with activities and also at meal and nap times. Volunteers will also play with the children and get involved with teaching basic English through songs and games. The children will generally only be responsive to instructions in Spanish. However, some of the staff have basic, but limited English to converse in.

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL CHILDCARE DAY

Volunteers will help with daily chores like cleaning and helping to feed the children. Other aspects of being a childcare volunteer in Costa Rica include singing songs, teaching about hygiene and other important skills. Playing games and outdoor activities are also a big part of your volunteer role.

 

The work schedule is flexible and will be set between you, the centre and our volunteer coordinator in Coronado. Based on your project assignment, you will typically work either 7:30am-12:30pm or 1pm-5pm on a Monday-Friday basis. Please plan for at least 3-5 hours on the project.

 

If you are up for it, take a 40 minute walk through the heart of Coronado to reach your childcare volunteer placement! Alternatively, you can take a 20 minute bus ride to reach your childcare project. The bus stop is located just outside the volunteer accommodation and Spanish school. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your volunteer project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your volunteer project.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER WORKING WITH CHILDREN IN COSTA RICA

Spanish Requirements – As for all our volunteer in Costa Rica programs, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. The programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.

 

All PMGY volunteers in Costa Rica will participate in the learn Spanish in Costa Rica program for the first week of their experience. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons and some optional afternoon cultural and social activities. The aim of this week is to try and improve your level of Spanish before you start volunteering in your second week.

 

PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. The lessons provide you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Skype and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.

 

Once you are in-country then you are also able to organise additional Spanish lessons directly with our local team. Volunteer feedback suggests that it can often be tiring to complete Spanish lessons at the same time as your volunteer programs in Costa Rica. Consequently, we generally recommend extending your Language Immersion Program.

 

Weekends – Your project work in Costa Rica runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Costa Rica Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend.

COSTA RICA ENGLISH TEACHING

As a volunteer teaching English in Costa Rica, you will provide additional support to local teachers across the schools in Coronado. Not only this, PMGY’s Costa Rica volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. Combine your Spanish learning and enthusiasm for teaching to make the most out of your teach English in Costa Rica experience!

 

BACKGROUND TO THE TEACHING PROGRAM

The beautiful city of Coronado is located in the suburbs of San Jose. Communities are expanding in Coronado and classrooms are becoming increasingly overstretched. Teachers are overseeing classrooms of as many as 30 students, calling out for much-needed assistance.

 

For over a century education has been free for all Costa Rica citizens. The literacy rate of Costa Rica is 95%. Moreover, most students will graduate from secondary school with some form of specialised training. This specialisation will help students stand out when it comes to finding a job in Costa Rica in their free time.

 

The belief behind free education is the empowering future that comes as a result. The government believes that providing a solid education will then provide the country with a more skilled workforce. People that can advance the times and opportunities for Costa Rica.

 

The mission of the Costa Rican school system is, “To create a well-educated populace that will one day improve their national (and even global) lot.” Costa Rica is a community-based society and not based on the individual success of students.

 

In 1869 Costa Rica was the first country in Central America to make education free for all citizens. Primary education is mandatory for children 6 to 13 years old followed by a voluntary secondary education lasting five years. The final two years of secondary education are specialised. This includes subjects such as computer science, media & technology, clinical assistance and childcare training.

 

The public and private school systems are similar in the respect that the curriculum is enforced and determined by the Ministry of Education. The major difference between the two will be that extra classes are offered to prepare students for study abroad. The cost of private education is very high and only those from high-income families are able to receive such programs.

 

Social classes are a major factor in the social system of Costa Rica. Costa Ricans feel that their high education sets them apart from those of less fortune. Due to this, there has been a great focus on the expansion of primary and secondary education.

 

Families with a higher cost of living born into the lower classes will almost always remain in this class. However, in certain cases due to free education and family sacrifice to save money, students can have their prospects enhanced. This may be through being placed into private education or English classes that progress them into further levels of education. This is where free assistance within the public school system can really provide a fighting chance for those of lower classes.

 

PMGY Costa Rica is happy to provide assistance and lessons for the teachers of Coronado. Many teachers have studied with foreign educators but do so at a University level. Consequently, their English was developed at an older level. To ensure our volunteers are equipped to teach English in Costa Rica, the teaching program will include 1 week of Spanish language classes to start your project! This is to ensure you are able to apply yourself with the children and teachers!

 

Volunteer opportunities provided by PMGY offer a platform to make a positive impact when you teach English in Costa Rica. When working at our English teaching volunteer projects in Costa Rica, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. Many of these students will benefit from having someone who is fluent in the English language teaching them in Costa Rica. As a volunteer teaching English in Costa Rica, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your impact on the local people.

 

TEACHING VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES

Patio De Agua – Located in San Rafael de Coronado, Patio de Agua School is 3 kilometres east of the Catholic Church. The school has a population of 70 students, from preschool to sixth grade. Each class has a maximum of 13 students ranging from 8 to 13 years old.

 

The school is located in an easily accessible area. It is surrounded by nature and beautiful landscapes, near the centre of Coronado. in an area that is characterized by being rural and very quiet. The children who attend this school live in the nearby surroundings. Their parents work in the dairy farms and ornamental plant farms that are in the surroundings.

 

Volunteers will largely work as a teacher’s assistant at the school supporting the day to day lessons. Volunteers will help with teaching regular subjects such as Mathematics, Science, Spanish and Social Studies. Volunteers can also collaborate with students who need individual attention to work on a more one to one basis.

 

The School Institute of Integral Education – Instituto de Educación Integral Hogar San Agustín was founded in 1983. The school was established by psychologist and educator Otto Silesky. It was set up as an alternative centre for isolated adolescent students.

 

Since its foundation, the Institute focused on the incorporation of digital technologies. This would be used as a tool to address diversity within an inclusion perspective. Consequently, younger people have better prospects of developing according to their potential.

 

The educational proposal of the Institute of Integral Education is focused on the attention of individuals. More specifically, prioritising students individual needs, interests and particular characteristics. It not only focuses on content teaching but also on the development of strategies to learn. As a result, making the most of individual capacities and available resources. The school has a program of hydroponics, pastry, cooking class, craft, carpentry and other workshops that complement the education of students.

 

The San Agustín Home works in tandem with the project in giving education, attention and protection to 15 male adolescents. More specifically, 15 male adolescents who are at social risk and without parents. The program is all about learning according to the rhythm of the individual. Furthermore, it is about promoting inclusion and social integration whilst accounting for emotional, social and cognitive aspects.

 

This project environment can be a more challenging environment than others, but equally far more rewarding and involved than other projects. Volunteer tasks will include coordinating activities with the teachers, running language classes and supporting with the administration. Volunteers can also help in different workshops and assist students with their homework.

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL TEACHING DAY

As English teachers in Costa Rica, you will work predominantly as a teaching assistant. Your volunteer work in Costa Rica will consist off preparing classes, working alongside the teacher during the class schedule and tutoring the children. Whether it be in a primary or secondary school, the additional support provided at the project will be appreciated. The teaching program generally lasts from 7:30am-1:30pm on a Monday-Friday basis.

 

The main teaching English volunteer placement is located just a short 10 minute walk from the volunteer accommodation. Alternatively, other teaching English projects may require a 20 minute bus ride. Should this be applicable, the bus stop is located just outside the volunteer accommodation and Spanish school. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your volunteer project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your volunteer project.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER TEACHING CHILDREN IN COSTA RICA

Experience – For the English Teaching program, teaching experience is not essential as the mere presence of a native English speaker is invaluable. As long as you are creative, determined and resourceful you can have a constructive impact on the development of the children’s education.

 

TEFL Course – We encourage volunteers to prepare as much as possible for their teaching program overseas. You can make the most out of your time by completing our convenient, inexpensive and international accredited 60 hour Online TEFL Course. The cost of this course is only 120 USD.

 

Spanish Requirements – As for all our volunteer in Costa Rica programs, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. The programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.

 

All PMGY volunteers in Costa Rica will participate in the learn Spanish in Costa Rica program for the first week of their experience. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons and some optional afternoon cultural and social activities. The aim of this week is to try and improve your level of Spanish before you start volunteering in your second week.

 

PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. The lessons provide you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Skype and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.

 

Once you are in-country then you are also able to organise additional Spanish lessons directly with our local team. Volunteer feedback suggests that it can often be tiring to complete Spanish lessons at the same time as your volunteer programs in Costa Rica. Consequently, we generally recommend extending your Language Immersion Program.

 

Weekends – Your project work in Costa Rica runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Costa Rica Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend.

🇪🇨 VOLUNTEER IN ECUADOR (2, 3 OR 4 WEEKS)

Your second stop is in Ecuador. Get ready for another adventure because your next 2-4 weeks will be spent in the mesmerising city of Quito. Considered the “middle of the world,” the region offers travellers a unique opportunity to walk the equatorial line. The capital’s historic district, considered the largest and best-preserved in South America, was declared a World Heritage site. Across the city, you’ll find spots such as La Compañía de Jesús and the Baroque masterpiece of America. Furthermore, the La Plaza Grande, the centre of Quito’s historic achievements, narrates the history of the city.

 

From this well-cultured city, you will find yourself in the prime location to visit the Galapagos Islands. This is your platform to witness an abundance of unique wildlife. Alternatively, you can choose to head to the cloud forests within the Amazon rainforest. Other adventure travel opportunities in Ecuador include Mindo for a bit of rafting and Salinas if you like to surf. Finally, Otavalo is home to one of the most colourful markets in the Andes and may be worth a visit.

 

Your volunteering choices are very varied. Contribute to the lives of children with learning difficulties. On the other hand, teach English to high school students and help them reach their full potential within an indigenous setting. Alternatively, you can gain practical medical experience and insight on elective programs in one of Quito’s biggest hospitals. You will be able to select your volunteer in Ecuador project during the online application.

 

🇪🇨 VOLUNTEER PROJECTS IN ECUADOR

ECUADOR CHILDCARE

As a childcare volunteer in Ecuador, you will provide additional support to childcare projects within the city of Quito. Not only this, PMGY’s Ecuador volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. Provide a helping hand for the children and local staff. Plan activities and games, help with meals times and be sure to improve your Spanish as you volunteer with children in Ecuador.

 

BACKGROUND TO THE CHILDCARE PROGRAM

Ecuador is home to over 200,000 neglected children due to abandonment, death and alcoholism. Many children are forced into homes and living on the streets due to dysfunctional settings or abuse within their own families.

 

A major reason for neglected children is the cultural acceptance of child marriage. This results in an increased rate of births to mothers 10-14 years of age. The lower aged mothers result in a decreased level of familiarity on proper health and nutrition for infants. In the indigenous population, over 50% of children have a high level of chronic malnutrition. As a result, they are removed from their homes due to neglect.

 

Along with forms of neglect, there is the prevalence of abuse at high levels in countries of South America. Major areas of abuse are domestic violence and corporal punishment to women and children in the rural/indigenous communities. Children in childcare homes across the nation are subjects to many forms of abuse. The most prominent abuse is that of physical conduct by a male counterpart within the home.

 

These actions have been termed ‘illegal’ in the new constitution of Ecuador. However, the use of this punishment stills carries on within the family culture. Violence towards women is one of the highest among the population with 7 out of 10 being victims in their life. Therefore, please note that as international volunteers you may be working with children from vulnerable backgrounds.

 

Volunteer opportunities in Ecuador provided by PMGY will provide you with a platform to make a positive impact. When working at our childcare volunteer projects in Ecuador, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. For the reason that many of these children will be seeking the care and attention that you as a childcare volunteer in Ecuador can bring. To volunteer with children in Ecuador, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your impact on the local people.

 

CHILDCARE VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES

Orfanto San Vicente De Paul – A religious institution founded in the late 1800s, Orfanto San Vicente De Paul aims to provide quality living for young children. The home serves as a protective destination for those that have been abandoned or mistreated. The rate of adoption in Ecuador is low but possible, so this location is a temporary home for children.

 

Working with children is one of the most fulfilling jobs. The volunteers will have the chance to interact with the kids in a variety of ways. This includes organising games, manual activities and other things that will keep the children busy. Taking the initiative and applying creativity is an important skill to have in this kind of work. As you complete volunteer work in Ecuador at this project, you will play a key role in supporting the more limited local support team.

 

The work schedule is flexible and will be set between you and the local staff at the project. Thus volunteers will have the chance to make the most of their time. Please keep in mind that the centre’s resources are limited. It is important that you know you may have to face adverse situations. Please be respectful and responsible in your work, keep in mind you are a role model for these children! This volunteer project aims to instil in children important values such as care, respect and love for learning.

 

Alejo Sans Day Care Centre – Founded in 2003, Alejo Sans Day Care Centre is a community-based project. The origins behind the project are to provide a safe fun learning environment for young children. These children would previously spend time out at the markets with their working mothers. Consequently, they would be stuck in the sizzling heat with no daily structure or wellbeing.

 

Beginning as a small project with only one small room, the project has expanded quickly. As a result, the daycare centre has five large classroom formats home to 100 children. These children range from 1-3 years. The project runs across the day, but volunteers will usually join in the morning. Usually, this is for a 4 hour period before the children take their afternoon nap.

 

At the project, volunteers will teach about hygiene, read stories, play music and sing songs. Volunteers will also be expected to lead arts and crafts activities and help local staff with snacks and breakfast time. There are usually 1-2 local staff members in each classroom for volunteer support.

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL CHILDCARE DAY

As you volunteer with children in Ecuador, your role involves supporting local staff with daily chores. Examples include providing volunteer support at mealtimes and with cleaning tasks. This extends to more creative support in singing songs, teaching English and improving hygiene skills. Playing with children in a recreational setting outdoors is also a big part of the role. This because of the limited time the caregivers have to do this.

 

The work schedule is flexible and will be set between you, the centre and our volunteer coordinator in Quito. Thus volunteers will have the chance to make the most of their time. You will be volunteering at the project Monday-Friday. Please plan for at least 3-5 hours on the project.

 

If you are up for it, take a 1 hour walk through the heart of Quito to reach your childcare volunteer placement! Alternatively, you can take a 30 minute bus ride to reach your childcare project. The bus stop is located nearby to the volunteer accommodation. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your volunteer project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your volunteer project.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER WORKING WITH CHILDREN IN ECUADOR

Spanish Requirements – As for all our volunteer in Ecuador programs, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. The programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.

 

PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. The lessons provide you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Skype and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.

 

We also offer a learn Spanish in Ecuador program which you can take part in prior to your volunteer placement. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons. Both of these options can be added during our online application process. They are highly recommended if you want to make the most of your volunteer placement.

 

Once you are in-country then you are also able to organise additional Spanish lessons directly with our local team. Volunteer feedback suggests that it can often be tiring to complete Spanish lessons at the same time as your volunteer programs in Ecuador. Consequently, we generally recommend extending your Language Immersion Program.

 

Project Requirements – Ecuador is definitely a destination that needs your time. The projects that you are joining will be schools, nurseries and hospitals. They require your project commitment and as a result, all participants are expected at the project Monday-Friday. Some projects are walking distance and other projects will require public transportation.

 

There is an option to miss a maximum of 3 days and go to the Amazon or the Galapagos Islands. However, this will need to be arranged in advance. If volunteers are ill, this will require notification in the morning. Furthermore, the request from the project is that they are provided with a doctors note. The team will explain further the expectation of the coordinators and projects during orientation.

 

Weekends – Your project work in Ecuador runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Ecuador Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend.

ECUADOR ENGLISH TEACHING

As a volunteer teaching English in Ecuador, you will provide additional support to local teachers across the schools in Quito. Not only this, PMGY’s Ecuador volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. Incorporate English language lessons with historic influences of indigenous culture as you teach English in Ecuador.

 

BACKGROUND TO THE TEACHING PROGRAM

Based on the Global view, Ecuador has a very good school system. The education system is recognised as one of the most developed in South America. Ecuador requires all school-aged children to attend classes until they achieve a basic level of education.

 

This is not just focussed to mainstream education. The government and local organisations have improved the quality of education for special needs students across the nation. There are now programs from pre-primary to professional studies for over 30,000 students with special needs.

 

Within mainstream education, the public school system has a high level of enrolled children reflecting that government requirements are met. Unfortunately, the level of participation in high school ages (15+) has decreased over the years, particularly in rural communities.

 

Education is provided by the government for primary and secondary public students. However, families are facing significant additional costs for extra classes and transportation. Due to this, many are not able to continue into higher education. As a result, they do not have the ability to speak English properly. Finding work in more prosperous areas like the tourism industry becomes ever more challenging.

 

The private-school system tends to have extended student involvement. Consequently, this then provides the necessary requirements for higher education levels such as university or training courses. Many of these institutions are run by churches requiring courses in religion along with maths, science, Spanish and other languages. There is an increasing number of private and international schools that offer courses in English, but the spaces are limited.

 

Volunteer opportunities provided by PMGY offer a platform to make a positive impact when you teach English in Ecuador. When working at our English teaching volunteer projects in Ecuador, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. Many of these students will benefit from having someone who is fluent in the English language teaching them in Ecuador. As a volunteer teaching English in Ecuador, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your impact on the local people.

 

TEACHING VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES

The Federico Gauss Secondary School – A typical classroom setting, Federico Gauss Secondary School displays many cultural influences of indigenous beliefs. More specifically, it is a private institution school that applies indigenous beliefs alongside a creative curriculum. The project teaches young adults with slight behavioural issues or misconduct in the public or private school setting.

 

The classrooms are in group settings of 8-24 students based on their ability (ages 12-18). Courses can include general maths, science and English, while arts are very important including computer science, media and history. The teaching program lasts from 8am-12pm. Yet, there are many opportunities to join in the afternoon for tutoring as the school day finishes typically at 2pm.

 

The project’s top priority is to improve the level of English of future generations of Quito. Many of the people in the schools in Ecuador take English from primary school. However, this is constructed with a very basic curriculum including minimal vocabulary and limited verbal skills. Most primary schools are understaffed leaving children without a proper understanding of the material to move forward in their education.

 

Volunteers in this project work with the teachers during the class schedule. This incorporates helping to prepare classes, assist with marking, tutoring students and interacting during class breaks. There is a sports yard at the school where volunteers can help with physical education activities.

 

Those with experience in media or computer science may have opportunities to educate and assist the students learning in this area. More specifically, this includes supporting with film assignments by instructing interviews, broadcasting or equipment used while recording.

 

If volunteers want to provide assistance with software then the school is always in need of such support! Examples of this include helping with Microsoft office and video design or simple lessons about the use of a computer. The students love to expand their knowledge of the arts in any area when you are teaching in Ecuador.

 

This is the most common and structured placement where PMGY volunteers teach English in Ecuador. This is because volunteer feedback suggests that participants feel most useful and productive when working at this teaching project.

 

The Instituto Mariana De Jesus – A school for special needs students, classes at the Instituto Mariana De Jesus are specialized for blind and deaf children. More specifically, volunteers provide local staff with assistance in language skills, sign language, occupational skills and training for family members.

 

Students that are deaf or blind will engage in activities that further enhance their other senses. This allows students to express themselves in an appropriate way to caregivers. Activities that the deaf children are involved in are story strips, jigsaw puzzles and visual diaries. Children that are blind are encouraged with activities such as texture matching and braille. All of these activities require volunteer assistance.

 

The daily routine is essential for many of the children within this institution. Your assistance in the school is greatly appreciated by both the teachers and parents. Volunteers will be involved with groups of 1-4 children based on their level of need. The tasks may include one-on-one assistance for classroom projects and educating children in general education.

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL TEACHING DAY

Volunteer work in Ecuador involves supporting the local teachers during the class schedule. This involves helping to prepare classes, tutoring students and interacting with them during class breaks. We expect volunteers to spend an hour or two each day preparing for lessons if requested by the teacher.

 

For volunteers teaching English in Ecuador, the projects are typically quite well resourced. If volunteers feel basic supplies are not easily available they are encouraged to speak to our local team. The team will then do their best to support where possible. If volunteers are wishing for additional resources, there are some great shops in town. The teaching program typically lasts from 8am-12pm on a Monday-Friday basis. However, there may also be opportunities to join in the afternoon for tutoring.

 

If you are up for it, take a 45 minute walk through the heart of Quito to reach your English teaching volunteer placement! Alternatively, you can take a 25 minute bus ride to reach your English teaching project. The bus stop is located nearby to the volunteer accommodation. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your volunteer project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your volunteer project.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER TEACHING CHILDREN IN ECUADOR

Experience – For the English Teaching program, teaching experience is not essential as the mere presence of a native English speaker is invaluable. As long as you are creative, determined and resourceful you can have a constructive impact on the development of the children’s education.

 

TEFL Course – We encourage volunteers to prepare as much as possible for their teaching program overseas. You can make the most out of your time by completing our convenient, inexpensive and international accredited 60 hour Online TEFL Course. The cost of this course is only 120 USD.

 

Spanish Requirements – As for all our volunteer in Ecuador programs, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. The programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.

 

PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. The lessons provide you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Skype and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.

 

We also offer a learn Spanish in Ecuador program which you can take part in prior to your volunteer placement. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons. Both of these options can be added during our online application process. They are highly recommended if you want to make the most of your volunteer placement.

 

Once you are in-country then you are also able to organise additional Spanish lessons directly with our local team. Volunteer feedback suggests that it can often be tiring to complete Spanish lessons at the same time as your volunteer programs in Ecuador. Consequently, we generally recommend extending your Language Immersion Program.

 

Project Requirements – Ecuador is definitely a destination that needs your time. The projects that you are joining will be schools, nurseries and hospitals. They require your project commitment and as a result, all participants are expected at the project Monday-Friday. Some projects are walking distance and other projects will require public transportation.

 

There is an option to miss a maximum of 3 days and go to the Amazon or the Galapagos Islands. However, this will need to be arranged in advance. If volunteers are ill, this will require notification in the morning. Furthermore, the request from the project is that they are provided with a doctors note. The team will explain further the expectation of the coordinators and projects during orientation.

 

Weekends – Your project work in Ecuador runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Ecuador Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend.

ECUADOR MEDICAL

As a medical volunteer in Ecuador, you will gain first-hand insight and exposure to the Ecuadorian health care system. Not only this, PMGY’s Ecuador volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. Delve deeper into the traditional healing beliefs of the local people. Focus your time and energy into specific departments at the hospital as a medical volunteer in Ecuador.

 

BACKGROUND TO THE MEDICAL PROGRAM

In the late 1990s, Ecuador suffered from an extremely weak government with one of the worst financial systems in South America. The healthcare provided was that of the middle ages. For the reason that healthcare costs could never be met by the average monthly salary. Furthermore, unemployment was at over 10% of the population and 20% of people were living in poverty. The system was failing and people were faced with little to no solution.

 

In 2000 Rafael Correa took office. During his early years, although hit with crisis after crisis, he established one of the strongest healthcare systems in the continent. At the beginning of his time, there were few hospitals and medical care providers in the city. So much so, that the patients were receiving the level of care similar to the standard of a rural clinic.

 

Due to these measures, Correa invested over 2,000 million USD into the healthcare budget. As a result, 18 new hospitals in major cities were commissioned. Furthermore, 250 healthcare centres and health clinics were built in rural villages nationwide.

 

Since these changes, locals describe all care to be equal across the country. Whether they visit a rural village clinic or a major hospital in the city of Quito, consistency in care was achieved. The care will be nearly the same quality with only a difference in the availability of specialists in the small facilities.

 

Changes to the healthcare system are also reflected by the levels of coverage. The system is broken down into four parts; private, public, social care and no coverage. Those with private care are the working class; this care is provided under a purchased insurance plan. In addition to the private system, there is the Social Care system. Such a system is similar to the Social Security system of the United States.

 

This system applies to citizens that have applied portions of their income to the government care plan. Consequently, they are provided with coverage allowance for healthcare. The public system is free to everyone who has been denied care. In most cases, this is for those with a terminal illness, over the age of 60, under the age of 10 and impoverished.

 

Volunteer opportunities in Ecuador provided by PMGY will provide you with a platform. Such a platform that allows for valuable exposure to medicine and healthcare projects within a new culture. For the reason that many of the facilities, procedures and operations you observe will be completely new to you.

 

More specifically, they will be completely different from how things are done in your home country. As a medical volunteer in Ecuador, you will need to schedule your time and skills effectively to make the most out of your project time. This is to ensure you can maximise your exposure and learning opportunities at the project.

 

Should medical volunteers in Ecuador wish to consider alternative or additional projects, our medical volunteer projects in India is recognised as our leading medical volunteer opportunity. For the reason that volunteers receive high exposure and involvement across a range of placement and project settings.

 

MEDICAL VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLE

Hospital Enrique Garces – PMGY medical volunteers in Ecuador apply their time in a public hospital in Quito. The project is at Hospital Enrique Garces. This is one of the few care centres offering free healthcare for the people in and around the capital. This is one of the biggest public hospitals in Quito. The hospital provides volunteers with the opportunity to join in 8 different wards. Such wards include:

 

Internal Medicine (speciality departments), Paediatrics, Gynaecology, Occupational Therapy, Trauma, Out-Patient, Surgery Consult Department

 

The hospital is very happy to have university students and medical volunteers, but they take the position quite seriously. Volunteers on this project are not required to have any medical education. However, volunteers are advised to have some form of volunteer work experience. Examples of this can include in a community care setting or clinical volunteering hours.

 

The project does accept school leavers with no experience looking to enter the medical field. However, such participants should be prepared with questions and learning objectives for the doctors and nurses. Furthermore, such volunteers should adopt a positive attitude to gain what they can from the program.

 

The minimum time in any department will be 2 weeks. The ward will be assigned based on your level of Spanish. The recommended time for this medical project is 4+ weeks to properly apply yourself in the listed departments. When assigned to a department, on the first day you will meet and be introduced to the head of that department.

 

Medical students are advised to note that all of the staff at the hospital typically only speak in Spanish. Thus, they have little to no English. So volunteers will need to have a good level of Spanish to communicate efficiently with the local staff. Otherwise, volunteers will incur a high language barrier and thus a frustrating learning experience.

 

Volunteers will join the program Monday-Friday. The project will begin at 7:30am each day to ensure you get a busy morning. The average time on the project will be 5 hours finishing in the early afternoon or time off requested completion. An example of a day on the paediatric ward could be as follows:

 

7:30am-8:30am – Report to the paediatric ward. Observe inpatient rounds with a nurse for medication, consultation and viewing.

 

9am-9:30am – Observe injections for children in need of updated vaccine charting.

 

9:30am-10:30am – Assist care provider by engaging children in games or play while they provide necessary treatment for external wounds, infections or therapy due to disabilities.

 

10:30am-11am – Break time.

 

11am-12pm – Shadow doctor during rounds providing consultation and admission to the hospital.

 

12pm-12:30pm – Assist care providers with counsel and care planning with family for patient discharge plan.

 

While volunteering in Ecuador you may encounter a variety of illnesses. Examples include acute respiratory infection, diarrhetic diseases, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, depression, malnutrition, physical abuse and altitude sickness. As this is a facility for those with low-income or unemployment the severity of illness will vary. This hospital provides care to those within the city and also the surrounding rural developments.

 

As a medical volunteer, you may encounter indigenous people that rely on holistic methods of care. The belief of the Incan people is to be one with Mother Earth and live a balanced life. The use of western medications or treatments doesn’t meet that of their traditional belief system.

 

At times you may encounter people that have received many holistic treatments. These are people traditionally from a more rural or indigenous area. They are brought to the hospital in a severe state and in desperate need of antibiotics and other medications. The hospital system, in general, is centred around prescriptions of western medications for treatments.

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL WORK DAY

International volunteers will spend most of their time observing on the wards assisted by nurses and doctors. In some cases, they will be asked to assist in engaging small children with activities while they receive treatment. There is a chance if volunteers speak Spanish to get involved with counselling. This can extend to helping local doctors with care plans for families with patients in the hospital.

 

In general, your medical volunteer work in Ecuador will be Monday–Friday. The project will begin at 7:30am each day. This is to ensure you get a busy morning and can help the medical staff out appropriately. The average time on the project will be 3-5 hours finishing in the early afternoon.

 

You will be required to take a 45 minute bus ride to reach the medical project. The bus stop is located nearby to the volunteer accommodation. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your volunteer project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your volunteer project.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER AS A MEDICAL VOLUNTEER IN ECUADOR

Spanish Requirements – As for all our volunteer in Ecuador programs, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. The programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.

 

PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. The lessons provide you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Skype and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.

 

We also offer a learn Spanish in Ecuador program which you can take part in prior to your volunteer placement. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons. Both of these options can be added during our online application process. They are highly recommended if you want to make the most of your volunteer placement.

 

Once you are in-country then you are also able to organise additional Spanish lessons directly with our local team. Volunteer feedback suggests that it can often be tiring to complete Spanish lessons at the same time as your volunteer programs in Ecuador. Consequently, we generally recommend extending your Language Immersion Program.

 

Project Requirements – Volunteers are advised to bring with them 2 or 3 ID photos for their hospital ID. You will receive the ID on your first day. This will allow more openings for participants in terms of greater department availability and entry openings. Volunteers, in general, will need to register sign in and sign out at the hospital department each day they attend.

 

Please be aware that care provisions may not meet the autonomy or standards of your home country. In South America, volunteers may encounter situations where family members have been victims of domestic violence. This can extend to other forms of physical assault. We ask that those on this program keep an open mind. More specifically, be prepared for different experiences than what you may encounter within medical studies at home.

 

Hands-On Involvement – Your level of involvement at the medical volunteer projects is dictated by a range of factors. First of all your medical experience, but also the duration of program and willingness to get involved. The medical staff are accountable for you whilst you’re under their supervision. Ultimately, it is completely up to them if you are permitted and want to get involved in hands-on procedures.

 

Previous PMGY medical volunteer in Ecuador participants have been given the chance to administer IV injections, dress wounds etc. However, please note we can never guarantee or promote hands-on involvement regardless of medical experience or background.

 

Generally speaking those with little or no medical experience assume a largely observational role. If you are studying a medically related degree, then you should have more opportunity to undertake some more basic hands-on involvement. However, to reiterate we can never guarantee or endorse hands-on experience should you choose to get hands-on. Such a decision ultimately lies with the medical staff.

 

Trained Professionals – Please note this program is not suitable for trained professionals who are looking to practise overseas. This opportunity is only suitable for school leavers & medical students looking to go into the medical or nursing field and wish to learn about a healthcare system overseas.

 

Weekends – Your project work in Ecuador runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Ecuador Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend.

🇵🇪 VOLUNTEER IN PERU (2, 3 OR 4 WEEKS)

Your final stop is Peru. This country is home to the lost city that is Machu Picchu. This is recognised as the empire of the Incans and home to the infamous Inca Trail. The ancient Inca ruins are considered to be some of the most beautiful and mysterious sites in the world. You won’t just encounter visiting such ruins in this glorious city; they are all over Peru!

 

The real gem of your time in this country will be the people. Peruvians are an interesting bunch of extremely polite, hardworking, peaceful and cultured people. Be sure to ask of their Quechua roots, they may even teach you a phrase or two! Be ready for bright colours and warm smiles as you make a positive impact in the local communities. In the same vein, stone streets, snow-capped mountains and temple ruins await you in Peru. Finally, the Peruvian cuisine you will encounter will leave your taste buds wanting more!

 

You will spend time in the heart of Peru meeting breath-taking views and delectable cuisine. Furthermore, Cusco will be your hub to make a positive difference in volunteering at local projects. PMGY’s development work in Cusco runs throughout the year. You can choose your volunteer project to teach indigenous children the English language. Moreover, you can offer a helping hand at childcare programs provided for the working street children. Alternatively, you can choose to enhance your medical knowledge by observing clinical nurses & physicians. Finally, Peru is the only country you can engage in wildlife conservation projects on the South America Gap Year experience. You will be able to select your volunteer in Peru project during the online application.

 

🇵🇪 VOLUNTEER PROJECTS IN PERU

PERU CHILDCARE

As a childcare volunteer in Peru, you will provide additional support to childcare projects within the city of Cusco. Not only this, PMGY’s Peru volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. Provide a much needed helping hand for some of the most disadvantaged and underprivileged children in the local communities as you volunteer with children in Peru.

 

BACKGROUND TO THE CHILDCARE PROGRAM

The majestic city of the Incas, whilst tourist-based and thriving, is a city of the poor. People will travel from hungry villages hoping to sell their crafts and clothes just to make enough to eat. Each year in the city of Cusco, millions of tourist visit to explore the Incan culture and venture to Machu Picchu. Although high tourism and a thriving economy exist, more than half of the population still lives in poverty.

 

Due to the inability to make enough money to support their families, tourists will encounter child beggars at all hours. Among the poverty, the ageless majesty of the Incan empire radiates from the streets of this historic city.

 

As you walk the cobblestone streets taking in what Peru has to offer, you will witness many street children. They may be posing with Llamas or adolescents pushing carts of cheese to the nearby market. You will be able to notice their features and recognise they are all direct descendants of the Andes rulers.

 

In this indigenous culture, many children are subject to troubling home environments due to low income, addiction, violence and neglect. We work with local organisations to provide assistance to children that have great need. The projects range from kindergartens and daycare centres to supporting children with a range of physical and mental disabilities.

 

The kindergarten projects and those for working children are essential in restoring families. Furthermore, they are essential in providing necessary assistance to ensure children are not abandoned. By completing volunteer work in Peru on these projects you are contributing so that children can be fed and educated. Ultimately, this will help children become positive citizens in their local communities.

 

Lower-class families do receive some minor assistance from the government. However, in many situations, the families still require their children to leave school and take to the streets for work. Due to this reality, local groups including police, language schools and local NGOs team up to provide support. This support includes provisions of free food, shelter, entertainment and clothing.

 

There has also been an increase in assistance for those with disabilities. In many parts of Peru, the conditions are far too rural to provide appropriate care for those with physical and mental disabilities. In Cusco, the local government has provided the necessary education and infrastructure to provide care for children of 4-17 years old.

 

Education centres and specialist schools have been developed to care for disabled children so parents can work and earn money. Such establishments focus on children with greater needs than the average child. Examples include supporting those with severe autism, bipolar, down syndrome, ADHD, Muscular Dystrophy and missing limbs.

 

Volunteer opportunities in Peru provided by PMGY will provide you with a platform to make a positive impact. When working at our childcare volunteer projects in Peru, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. For the reason that many of these children will be seeking the care and attention that you as a childcare volunteer in Peru can bring. To volunteer with children in Peru, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your impact on the local people.

 

CHILDCARE VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES

The Pronoei Project – Established as a non-formal kindergarten for low-income families, the Pronoei project provides care and education for those that cannot afford it. This organization is funded by the Ministry of Education of Peru. The program is run by a member of the community. They are known as the ‘project mother’ and maintain the centre in a teacher role.

 

The children are 3-5 years old in one combined class. The working hours for this project are 9am-12:30pm. You will be assisting the ‘mother’ with different tasks including lesson planning, playing with the children and organising workshops. Such workshops will centre around culturally improving the care of children demonstrated by staff across the local communities.

 

As you volunteer with children in Peru at this project, you will also assist in areas such as nutrition and hygiene. Examples of this will include preparing meals and teaching the best techniques for brushing teeth and washing hands. This project provides volunteers with the foundation to create their own daily routines. Thus, as international volunteers, you can participate in the project in whichever areas you find interest with the children.

 

The project is generally home to around 30 children with just one community teacher. Thus, volunteers can provide an essential support mechanism for the oversized community project. The facilities are overcrowded and manic. Additionally, they are small, under-resourced and condensed so volunteer support is very much appreciated!

 

The Escuela Especial San Juan de Dios – Founded as a school centre for disadvantaged children, The Escuela Especial San Juan de Dios is home to children with disabilities of both mental and physical capacities.

 

In the city of Cusco, there are only 4 schools for disabled children which makes this program so special! You will work with children with the mental capacity of those up to 6th grade. Although they reach the 6th-grade level, the children can be anywhere from 3-20 years of age. The work schedule is only in the morning from 8am-1pm. At times, there are occupational training courses for older children from 1pm-6pm.

 

In every classroom, there is one teacher with a maximum of 10 children. They have only one teacher-assistant that rotates through all courses. Because of this, volunteers are very welcome as most children require individual attention.

 

In a classroom of young children, you may encounter that the group sizes average around 6 children. However, the work-load is much higher than those in bigger groups and at a higher age level. The teachers try very hard to educate the children in basic skills to then pass on to future levels of education. The children will also have skills to help out at home in their spare time.

 

In the higher levels, the students will learn to do activities like sewing, cooking and art. These skills can be used at home, occupational jobs and/or doing tourism-based sales like artwork or local craft. This allows you to interact on a more detailed and personal level in a skill-based environment. The younger levels are enjoyable and more informal as you sing songs, learn letters and do some painting.

 

Specific tasks that volunteers will participate in are classroom assistance, meal team and food preparation. More creative aspects include crafts and stimulation activities for those with confining disabilities. If volunteers wish they can rotate between groups during their period of volunteering.

 

At Escuela Especial San Juan de Dios there is one physiotherapist that gives therapy during school schedule. A volunteer can be assisting during her work in order to gain experience and help when it is needed.

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL CHILDCARE DAY

As you volunteer with children in Peru, your role involves supporting local staff with daily chores. Examples include providing volunteer support at mealtimes and with cleaning tasks. This extends to more creative support in arts and crafts, teaching English and improving hygiene skills. Volunteers should also assist with homework tasks and support local staff with planned activities.

 

The work schedule is flexible and will be set between you, the centre and our volunteer coordinator in Cusco. The local team will email you your specific project information, volunteer tasks and working hours in advance of your arrival into Cusco. You will be volunteering at the project Monday-Friday. Please use your free time to plan for at least 3-5 hours on the project.

 

If you are up for it, take a 1 hour walk through the heart of Cusco to reach your childcare volunteer placement! Alternatively, you can take a 20-45 minute bus ride to reach your childcare project. The bus stop is located either just outside the volunteer accommodation or the Spanish school. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your volunteer project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your volunteer project.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER WORKING WITH CHILDREN IN PERU

Resources – On the childcare project in Peru, resources can be very limited. Volunteers are recommended to bring materials to the project each day to maximise their productivity and day to day involvement. It is therefore important for volunteers to prepare well in advance to get the most out of their childcare volunteering experience in Peru.

 

Spanish Requirements – As for all our volunteer in Peru programs, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. The programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.

 

PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. The lessons provide you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Skype and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.

 

We also offer a learn Spanish in Peru program which you can take part in prior to your volunteer placement. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons. Both of these options can be added during our online application process. They are highly recommended if you want to make the most of your volunteer placement.

 

Once you are in-country then you are also able to organise additional Spanish lessons directly with our local team. Volunteer feedback suggests that it can often be tiring to complete Spanish lessons at the same time as your volunteer programs in Peru. Consequently, we generally recommend extending your Language Immersion Program.

 

Project Commitment – For our childcare and teaching community projects we generally recommend where possible a minimum 4 week commitment from volunteers. This is so both the volunteer and project can maximise their experience.

 

We still have project availability for 2 and 3 week placement options where the placement benefits from volunteer support. However, such projects are usually limited to kindergartens for childcare and the afterschool project for English teaching. As a result, shorter-term volunteers will complete their volunteer work in such project settings accordingly.

 

Weekends – Your project work in Peru runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Peru Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend. We also run two separate weekend trips which you can sign-up to before you depart for Peru. We offer the Lake Titicaca & Islands Trip along with the Machu Picchu Trip with opportunities running every month.

PERU DOG SHELTER

As a Peru dog rescue volunteer, you will get up close and personal to these amazing animals. Create a better life for Cusco’s street dog population. Not only this, PMGY’s Peru volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. If you love dogs, the Peru dog rescue volunteer project is a great way to give back and make an impact!

 

BACKGROUND TO THE DOG RESCUE PROGRAM

As in many South American countries, Peru is home to a large number of stray dogs. The sad reality is that many of these dogs are homeless and thus subject to illness, hunger and even abuse. The stray dog overpopulation is a growing problem in Peru.

 

Free-roaming dogs (these are dogs with owners, but left to their own devices) roam freely throughout the day. Furthermore, they mate with homeless strays and thus increase the number of strays on the streets of Peru.

 

Cusco is the location of all our community projects in Peru. In addition, the city is one of the biggest hotspots of stray dogs across the whole of Peru. A tourist hotspot, authorities in Cusco typically have a pessimistic outlook toward stray dogs. More specifically, they see stray dogs as bringing illness and aggressiveness to the tourist population.

 

A city like Cusco relies heavily on tourism to boost its economy. As a result, authorities traditionally adopted a more brutal approach to managing the strays dog population through culling mechanisms. In other words, they see stray dogs as a threat and a health hazard to the economic gains that tourism brings.

 

Previously there had been no centralised government program in Peru to control the stray dog overpopulation. Consequently, the management process of controlling stray dog numbers was often left up to each local administration divisions.

 

Naturally, many disagreed with the authorities tough approach line and protests were a regular occurrence in Cusco’s main square. November 2015 represented huge progress for animal welfare workers across Peru. Most importantly, the Peruvian Congress approved the Animal Protection and Welfare Law. This law classifies animals as sentient beings. Therefore, the law punishes those found guilty of animal cruelty with 3-5 years in prison.

 

These days, dog lovers within the Cusco community take more humane approaches to save Peru’s street dogs. Examples of this include mobile clinics, educational outreach campaigns in local schools and setting up dog shelters. Peru is our only South American destination where you can embark on a wildlife conservation project.

 

DOG RESCUE VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLE

Cusco Dog Shelter – PMGY have teamed up with a dog shelter in Cusco that takes care of rescued street dogs. The shelter is home to approximately 125 dogs that receive food and care on a daily basis. There are two staff members that work at the shelter on a daily basis. Subsequently, such staff members will be the local support for Peru dog rescue volunteers when at the project. Just like at your host family, good Spanish language skills are recommended to communicate fluently with the staff members.

 

Our dog shelter project allows volunteers to experience their love of animals during their time in Peru. Working at the centre of the project as part of your international volunteering, your daily tasks will make a positive contribution. Moreover, the care and wellbeing these rescued dogs receive will greatly improve. Here is a selection of some of the main things you can expect to get involved in during the week:

 

• Assisting the local staff with the care of the animals
• Feeding the dogs
• Playing and enrichment activities with select dogs
• Cleaning the shelter
• Helping with general maintenance
• Local support campaigns within Cusco
• Showing off your creative side to dynamically raise awareness about animal issues in Cusco

 

Peru dog rescue projects typically receive little to no government funding or assistance. Therefore volunteer support and contributions are a big help to the project that otherwise can receive limited help. In short, if you have a love for dogs, then this project is definitely for you! We have availability from 1 week upwards on the project. Furthermore, you will volunteer typically across the morning periods Monday to Friday. Older clothing for the project is recommended as are shoes that you do not mind getting dirty!

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL WORK DAY

When you complete volunteer work in Peru at the dog shelter, you will be helping with the daily chores. As a Peru dog rescue volunteer, you will help with cleaning and feeding. Other activities include enrichment activities, maintaining hygiene and general upkeep of the shelter. Participants may also help support local campaigns on an ad-hoc basis. The volunteering hours are typically from 9am-12pm on a Monday-Friday basis.

 

If you are up for it, take a 1 hour walk through the heart of Cusco to reach your dog shelter volunteer placement! Alternatively, you can take a 20-45 minute bus ride to reach your dog shelter project. The bus stop is located either just outside the volunteer accommodation or the Spanish school. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your volunteer project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your volunteer project.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING WITH DOGS IN PERU

Spanish Requirements – As for all our volunteer in Peru programs, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. The programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.

 

PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. The lessons provide you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Skype and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.

 

We also offer a learn Spanish in Peru program which you can take part in prior to your volunteer placement. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons. Both of these options can be added during our online application process. They are highly recommended if you want to make the most of your volunteer placement.

 

Once you are in-country then you are also able to organise additional Spanish lessons directly with our local team. Volunteer feedback suggests that it can often be tiring to complete Spanish lessons at the same time as your volunteer programs in Peru. Consequently, we generally recommend extending your Language Immersion Program.

 

Experience – If you are a veterinary student you may be able to assist in more tasks. Naturally, this will depend on your level of knowledge, experience and qualifications in this area. You may be able to help with the sick, injured or disabled dogs. Furthermore, there may be more opportunities in advanced veterinary care such as vaccinations or neutering procedures.

 

Weekends – Your project work in Peru runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Peru Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend. We also run two separate weekend trips which you can sign-up to before you depart for Peru. We offer the Lake Titicaca & Islands Trip along with the Machu Picchu Trip with opportunities running every month.

PERU ENGLISH TEACHING

As a volunteer teaching English in Peru, you will provide additional support to local teachers across the city of Cusco. Not only this, PMGY’s Peru volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. The basic education and English learning focus provided in the Peruvian school system are not enough. Hence, volunteer support can make a big difference when participants decide to teach English in Peru.

 

BACKGROUND TO THE TEACHING PROGRAM

Peru isn’t one of the most advanced of the South American countries regarding the education system. Much of the Peruvian curriculum focuses on tradition and history. As a result, core areas including Maths, Science and communication are not widely understood at an appropriate level.

 

In Peru, there are three languages that are spoken including Spanish, Quechua and Aymara. The English language is very important in many regions of the country due to tourism. However, many of the educators are poorly trained and left responsible for oversized class sizes. As a result, the overall quality of education is poor.

 

Other contributions for lower levels of education may be the lifestyle of many families along with their economic status. In Peru, low-income families will require children to work in the evenings. Such work may involve selling items in the markets or collecting rubbish.

 

Children with higher-income families will have opportunities to study further and improve their levels of English. They can benefit from opportunities at specialised language schools and language institutions. Consequently, prospects improve and knowledge in areas such as sports, music and social activity increase.

 

In the 1970s, nearly 40% of the population only spoke the indigenous Quechua language. This resulted in high prejudice for anyone associated with rural work such as agriculture and maintenance. Over the decades, the importance of education has been on the rise due to the importance of social status. Slowly, the Quechua language has phased out providing an alarming reality of lost tradition.

 

Well educated people from both low and high-status families are provided with the opportunity to travel the country. This extends into opportunities to work internationally with tourism and trade along with governmental positions. As a result, many of the local people request that their children are given the opportunity to learn English.

 

Aside from receiving improved levels of education with a focus in English and Peruvian history, children are also introduced to recreational activities. Many of the local schools will provide sports and hygiene assistance to ensure their young generation is fit and presentable. For the reason that they will be well-rounded when the time comes to enter working society.

 

We have teamed up with local primary and secondary schools to ensure that children are given greater opportunities to learn English. Traditionally children in Peru don’t begin English classes until they are 12 years old when they enter secondary/high school. The earlier volunteers surround themselves with English, the better their prospects and learning opportunity will be.

 

Volunteer opportunities provided by PMGY offer a platform to make a positive impact when you teach English in Peru. When working at our English teaching volunteer projects in Peru, it is important to maintain energy, enthusiasm and creativity. Many of these students will benefit from having someone who is fluent in the English language teaching them in Peru. As a volunteer teaching English in Peru, you will need to donate your time and skills effectively. This is to ensure you can maximise your impact on the local people.

 

TEACHING VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES

The Colegio Francisco Sirvichi – Established as a primary school, the Colegio Francisco Sirivichi separates into two periods of education. In the mornings the school offers an all-girls program for children 6-11 years old. The afternoons are co-ed courses providing for a more interactive learning environment for children 6-11 years old.

 

At both periods of the day, you will find 30-40 children per classroom. Therefore volunteer support will come in very handy for the local staff! Each class has one to three instructors for general education and one teacher for English lessons. The English teacher will be teaching in the morning and afternoon to massive groups of children.

 

Due to the lack of assistance and resources for teaching, the English lessons are not applied appropriately. As a volunteer in the classroom, your role is to assist the teachers. This is done by supervising the children, improving English pronunciation, correcting exams and lesson planning.

 

Colegio Francisco Sirivichi also provides opportunities for children to get involved in sports. This can help reduce the strain on oversized classes for the English lessons. The sports lessons take place outside in a local field and within the normal curriculum. Volunteers can also assist with sports activities. Activities include supervising, helping with exercises and instructing new activities.

 

Please note that the project schedule at the school is split into two-timetables. The morning will require volunteers to join from 8am-1pm. The afternoon schedule is from 1pm-6pm. Thus when you teach English in Peru at Colegio Francisco Sirvichi it is important to adopt a flexible working attitude.

 

The Colibri Afterschool Program – Created to support struggling parents, the Colibri afterschool program was developed to help working parents after their children are released from school. This project is an afterschool program organised by the Police Department of Cusco.

 

The mission of Colibri is to provide the children with a bright and promising future. This is achieved by educating and teaching them skills that will improve their prospects. Furthermore, the project structure encourages children to become more self-sufficient.

 

The Police Department organizes recreational activities, such as painting, dancing, drawing, etc. for the children that join this program. When the volunteers are present, they can organize these activities according to their skills.

 

The children are also often victims of domestic violence (emotional and physical) or sexual abuse. Due to this, there is a high importance that the project has upbeat and patient volunteers! The project is especially rewarding for those that want to stay for longer periods of time. This is because they can develop deeper relationships with disadvantaged children.

 

The program will engage volunteers with children aged 5-15 years old. These children either work in the street or have mothers who work into the late evening. The project runs from 2pm-6pm on weekdays. Numbers can range greatly at this project from 15 children one day to 45 children the next day.

 

The volunteers will organize and teach crafts, art, music or areas they have an interest in. The children will be taught English and assisted with homework. Volunteers are encouraged to provide lots of motivation and support at the Colibri project.

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL TEACHING DAY

Volunteer work in Peru involves supporting the local teachers during the class schedule. This involves helping to prepare classes, tutoring students and interacting with them during class breaks. Volunteers will generally work as teacher assistants, but there may be times where volunteers lead classroom activities.

 

The teaching program can be both morning and afternoon based. The local team will email you your specific project information, volunteer tasks and working hours in advance of your arrival into Cusco. You will be volunteering at the project Monday-Friday. Please use your free time to plan for at least 3-5 hours on the project.

 

If you are up for it, take a 45 minute walk through the heart of Cusco to reach your English teaching volunteer placement! Alternatively, you can take a 20-45 minute bus ride to reach your English teaching project. The bus stop is located either just outside the volunteer accommodation or the Spanish school. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your volunteer project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your volunteer project.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER TEACHING CHILDREN IN PERU

Experience – For the English Teaching program, teaching experience is not essential as the mere presence of a native English speaker is invaluable. As long as you are creative, determined and resourceful you can have a constructive impact on the development of the children’s education.

 

TEFL Course – We encourage volunteers to prepare as much as possible for their teaching program overseas. You can make the most out of your time by completing our convenient, inexpensive and international accredited 60 hour Online TEFL Course. The cost of this course is only 120 USD.

 

Resources – On the teach English in Peru project, resources can be very limited. Volunteers are recommended to bring materials to the project each day to maximise their productivity and day to day involvement. It is therefore important for volunteers to prepare well in advance to get the most out of their teaching English project experience.

 

Spanish Requirements – As for all our volunteer in Peru programs, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. The programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.

 

PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. The lessons provide you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Skype and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.

 

We also offer a learn Spanish in Peru program which you can take part in prior to your volunteer placement. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons. Both of these options can be added during our online application process. They are highly recommended if you want to make the most of your volunteer placement.

 

Once you are in-country then you are also able to organise additional Spanish lessons directly with our local team. Volunteer feedback suggests that it can often be tiring to complete Spanish lessons at the same time as your volunteer programs in Peru. Consequently, we generally recommend extending your Language Immersion Program.

 

Project Commitment – For our childcare and teaching community projects we generally recommend where possible a minimum 4 week commitment from volunteers. This is so both the volunteer and project can maximise their experience.

 

We still have project availability for 2 and 3 week placement options where the placement benefits from volunteer support. However, such projects are usually limited to kindergartens for childcare and the afterschool project for English teaching. As a result, shorter-term volunteers will complete their volunteer work in such project settings accordingly.

 

Weekends – Your project work in Peru runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Peru Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend. We also run two separate weekend trips which you can sign-up to before you depart for Peru. We offer the Lake Titicaca & Islands Trip along with the Machu Picchu Trip with opportunities running every month.

PERU MEDICAL

As a medical volunteer in Peru, you will gain first-hand insight and exposure to the Peruvian health care system. Not only this, PMGY’s Peru volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. We support a range of public and private clinics across the city of Cusco. The better your Spanish, the more you can communicate and ask questions with the local doctors and nurses. As a result, more will be gained from your medical volunteer in Peru experience.

 

BACKGROUND TO THE MEDICAL PROGRAM

Since the mid-1990’s there has been a specific focus on improving the available healthcare provisions across Peru. This is a direct result of the death of over 9,000 people from a Cholera outbreak. Consequently, it was a devastating hit to the population and opened the eyes of many government officials.

 

Following this epidemic, the government invested millions of dollars into health care. The objective being, to ensure care providers and facilities were available to all areas of the country. One of the most impactful developments to the Peruvian Healthcare System was the construction of 15 hospitals nationwide.

 

The government hoped that such efforts would see patient care numbers would improve by 40%. Over time, the government has created different forms of government based assistance and insurance options. This is to ensure that citizens are able to further receive necessary care and the medical system is constantly improving.

 

In Peru, the health system is split between two sectors, private and public. Like much of the western world, there is an insurance system that determines the level and quality of care. The insurance is split into two systems.

 

Firstly, there is the Seguro Integral de Salud (SIS) who have no health insurance. Secondly, there is the Peruvian Ministry of Health and EsSalud (EsSalud), which is covered through employment for working families. The clinical settings provide care to those from all coverages. This is because they have the ultimate focus of caring for all Peruvian citizens.

 

The SIS aims to protect those from the most vulnerable populations. Most noteworthy, it cares for about 18% of these groups who come from mostly rural and urban areas. Specifically where poverty is greatest within these areas. This coverage also provides assistance to pregnant women and men over the age of 17 that suffer from extreme poverty.

 

The EsSalud is the coverage of the employed. It is much like the US system in the sense it is contributed to by employers. Roughly 20% of the population, including the working class, retirees and their families fall under this form of insurance. These forms of insurance are maintained by the Ministry of Health (MINSA). They also provide alternative health services for most of the remaining population who do not fall into these categories.

 

In Cusco, much of the medical care is provided within hospitals throughout the city. The active coverage comes from the two forms of insurance described previously. MINSA provides financial support in many of the clinical settings. This is due to local citizens being seen by medical professionals regardless of their coverage.

 

Many Peruvians express that they are forced to wait for extended periods to receive care. For the reason that resources, funding and medical professionals are all lacking within the medical field. This is even regardless of whether the citizens have insurance or not.

 

Due to this, many clinics are being managed locally or privately. The clinics will specialise in certain areas providing a faster process for general needs and appointment to specialists. This is where our medical volunteers in Peru can help immensely! In clinics across Cusco citizens will line up as early as 5am to see a doctor or nurse. They will then receive either direction to a specialist or be provided with general care.

 

Volunteer opportunities in Peru provided by PMGY will provide you with a platform. Such a platform that allows for valuable exposure to medicine and healthcare projects within a new culture. For the reason that many of the facilities, procedures and operations you observe will be completely new to you.

 

More specifically, they will be completely different from how things are done in your home country. As a medical volunteer in Peru, you will need to schedule your time and skills effectively to make the most out of your project time. This is to ensure you can maximise exposure and learning opportunities at the project.

 

Should medical volunteers in Peru wish to consider alternative or additional projects, our medical volunteer projects in India is recognised as our leading medical volunteer opportunity. For the reason that volunteers receive high exposure and involvement across a range of placement and project settings.

 

MEDICAL VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLES

Class 7 Cuartones – The primary health care centre in Cusco is Class 7 Cuartones. This clinic offers free care for those that are unemployed in areas of general practice. This extends to support provided in psychology, gynaecology, dentistry and laboratory. The clinic will care for 200+ patients on a daily basis.

 

This clinic will allow volunteers to observe and assist the doctors with general practices like taking vitals, sugar tests and documentation. Areas of exposure for medical students include consultation, women’s health and minor surgery. This extends to observing medical staff and involvement in community projects and immunizations.

 

If you are a long-term volunteer you can assist in the laboratory. You can also work in ‘Nino Sano’ where the nurses record children’s weight, height and provide vaccinations. The clinic will proudly arrange community programs if volunteers wish to donate and participate in health campaigns while on the project.

 

The 02 Medical Network – Established as a private care provider, the 02 Medical Network is made up of different health services. This includes inpatient care, home support, air-medical transportation, critical hyperbaric treatment, trauma and medical home care. The majority of patients will be travellers who suffer from varying illness. Examples include altitude sickness, motor-vehicle accidents, tropical-disease, dehydration, minor surgery and dental care.

 

Volunteers will typically join this clinic in the mornings. However, depending on your interest and schedule it may be an afternoon schedule. Activities during your volunteer hours will include assisting the doctor or nurse with care and laboratory analysis. Moreover, if you speak an intermediate level of Spanish, translating to patients can also be required.

 

Medical staff typically speak a good level of English. Furthermore, they will provide volunteers with a great opportunity to learn in a variety of settings. However, International volunteers who have a better understanding of the Spanish language will have an improved volunteering experience.

 

Clinica Hogar San Juan de Dios – Set up as a private clinic, Clinica Hogar San Juan de Dios offers various services for children of low-income families. The clinic specializes in rehabilitation for disabled children by means of physiotherapy. Furthermore, the project provides long-term shelter for neglected and handicapped children.

 

The clinic will provide volunteers with opportunities to join in areas including trauma, rehabilitation, psychology and neurology. Patients will suffer from a physical handicap, down syndrome, autism or other minor mental illness.

 

Volunteers will assist/observe with tasks including physiotherapy, clinical care, ultrasound, hydrotherapy and consolation. The level of experience you receive on this project will be determined by a variety of factors. This includes your level of education, how you interact with staff and your levels of Spanish.

 

Escuela Especial San Juan de Dios – This project is based at the primary school Escuela Especial San Juan de Dios. The primary school is one of four special education institutions located in Cusco. This project will provide children with mental and/or motor delay the opportunity to receive physiotherapy and assistance. The children will be ages 3-20 years with the highest mental knowledge of 6th-grade students (13 years).

 

Volunteers on this project will mostly interact with older children assisting in occupational workshops. The skills will provide the children with the ability to provide for themselves or assist with income for the family. There is only one physiotherapist in the school assisting 10-15 children a day. One-on-one assistance and occupational therapy from volunteers are a big support to the local teachers.

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL WORK DAY

When you complete volunteer work in Peru, you can assist in both community health programs and clinical settings. Usually, the clinics are made up of a range of small departments from paediatrics and general practitioner to maternity and dentistry. Naturally given the relative small clinic setting, the departments are on a small scale in comparison to a big government hospital. Consequently, volunteers should be willing to gain exposure to a range of departments within the clinics.

 

Volunteers will spend most of their time observing within the clinics in Cusco. In some cases, the hospital staff may provide the opportunity to get some hands-on experience. Examples include helping with blood pressure, immunizations, health screenings and community awareness programs.

 

The ability to apply yourself on the project will be reflected largely by your level of Spanish. The better your Spanish, the more the doctors and nurses can communicate with you. As a result, the more the medical staff will be able to trust you. Therefore, you will enjoy your volunteering experience greater as a medical volunteer in Peru.

 

In general, you will join volunteer on the medical projects in Peru Monday-Friday. The project will begin at 8am each day to ensure you get a busy morning. The average time on the project will be 3-5 hours finishing in the early afternoon or time off requested completion.

 

If you are up for it, take a 45 minute walk through the heart of Cusco to reach your medical volunteer placement! Alternatively, you can take a 20-45 minute bus ride to reach your medical project. The bus stop is located either just outside the volunteer accommodation or the Spanish school. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your volunteer project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your volunteer project.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER AS A MEDICAL VOLUNTEER IN PERU

Spanish Requirements – As for all our volunteer in Peru programs, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. The programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.

 

PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. The lessons provide you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Skype and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.

 

We also offer a learn Spanish in Peru program which you can take part in prior to your volunteer placement. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons. Both of these options can be added during our online application process. They are highly recommended if you want to make the most of your volunteer placement.

 

Once you are in-country then you are also able to organise additional Spanish lessons directly with our local team. Volunteer feedback suggests that it can often be tiring to complete Spanish lessons at the same time as your volunteer programs in Peru. Consequently, we generally recommend extending your Language Immersion Program.

 

Project Commitment – Volunteers are advised to note there is a minimum of four weeks commitment to the medical program. School leavers or those with no medical experience are not able to join this program. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to these policies.

 

University Students Only – Volunteers are advised to note that the hospital/clinics will not permit applicants who are not studying medicine, healthcare sciences or nursing at university. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to this rule.

 

Hands-On Involvement – Your level of involvement at the medical volunteer projects is dictated by a range of factors. First of all your medical experience, but also the duration of program and willingness to get involved. The medical staff are accountable for you whilst you’re under their supervision. Ultimately, it is completely up to them if you are permitted and want to get involved in hands-on procedures.

 

Previous PMGY medical volunteer in Peru participants have been given the chance to administer IV injections, dress wounds etc. However, please note we can never guarantee or promote hands-on involvement regardless of medical experience or background.

 

Generally speaking those with little or no medical experience assume a largely observational role. If you are studying a medically related degree, then you should have more opportunity to undertake some more basic hands-on involvement. However, to reiterate we can never guarantee or endorse hands-on experience should you choose to get hands-on. Such a decision ultimately lies with the medical staff.

 

Trained Professionals – Please note this program is not suitable for trained professionals who are looking to practise overseas. This opportunity is only suitable for medical students or people looking to go into the medical or nursing field and wish to learn about a healthcare system overseas.

 

Weekends – Your project work in Peru runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Peru Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend. We also run two separate weekend trips which you can sign-up to before you depart for Peru. We offer the Lake Titicaca & Islands Trip along with the Machu Picchu Trip with opportunities running every month.

PERU WILDLIFE RESCUE

As a Peru wildlife rescue volunteer, you will get up close and personal to some amazing animals. Not only this, PMGY’s Peru volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. As a Peru wildlife volunteer, you will help care for a variety of different species of animals. Most noteworthy, animals who are endangered, poached or displaced from their natural habitat.

 

BACKGROUND TO THE WILDLIFE RESCUE PROGRAM

As in many South America countries, Peru is home to an abundance of wildlife. The sad reality is that much of this wildlife is vulnerable to wide-ranging forms of mistreatment. Examples include more localised problems such as abandonment or a failure to properly feed and house animals. However, wider-spread systematic forms of cruelty are also prevalent. For example, bestiality, illegal trafficking and raising animals to fight.

 

In 2015, the Peruvian Congress has passed animal cruelty laws which mandates criminal penalties for animal mistreatment. For the reason that a series of animal-cruelty cases went viral. Naturally, this is not a good perception of Peru as a country or as a tourist hotspot. Such penalties for animal mistreatment range from fines to prison sentences.

 

However, many Peruvians would argue that more can be done and enforced by Congress and law enforcement in protecting Peru’s wildlife. Specifically, when it comes to wild animals, tourist traps and endangered species. Nowadays, there are many rescue centres and sanctuaries taking action upon themselves against animal mistreatment. The main mechanism to achieve this is through education.

 

Education is considered as the most important factor to contribute to wildlife conservation efforts. In addition, education is also the reason that justifies the existence of a wildlife sanctuary or wildlife rescue centre. Through engagement, information and communication, stronger respect and understanding for nature, wild animals and endangered species can be achieved. Not only this, wildlife rescue centres play a big role in recovery programs, animal rehabilitation and reproduction programs. Peru is our only South American destination where you can embark on a wildlife conservation project.

 

WILDLIFE RESCUE VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLE

Cochahuasi Animal Sanctuary – PMGY have teamed up with a family ran wildlife rescue centre in Cusco. The centre is dedicated to rescuing animals that have suffered any forms of mistreatment. For example, rescuing animals from illicit trafficking or those that have suffered physical neglect from former owners or evil poachers.

 

The rescued animals are put under the care of the forest rangers at the wildlife sanctuary. As a Peru wildlife volunteer, you will play a vital role in supporting the forest rangers. In the same vein, you and your fellow volunteers will work alongside the rangers to complete core tasks at the volunteer project. Such tasks for Peru wildlife volunteering include:

 

• Taking care of the animals
• Assisting with cleaning and general maintenance
• Support with feeding the animals
• Helping with any medical treatments required
• Assisting in any educational programs
• Help build new houses on-site

 

Since 2007, the wildlife rescue centre has been sheltering wild species. Moreover, many species are endangered. The Andean Condor receives special consideration at the centre and is the primary focus of the program. Most noteworthy, because its population has been seriously decimated in recent years. This is all inflicted by human activity. More specifically, the feathers of the bird are sold as souvenirs for tourists. This activity stimulates illegal hunting for these magnificent birds. Efforts at the centre are being made to encourage reproduction in captivity with the aim being to release the young Condors.

 

There is a range of other animals at the centre that you will encounter during your Peru wildlife volunteering. For example, pumas and small bears that had been drugged and used for entertainment purposes can usually be found here. In addition, there are many special types of birds to be found at the centre. A hawk who last one of his eyes because of human hunting cannot hunt anymore in the wild and has been displaced to the centre. Other animals at the centre include foxes, turtles, monkeys, deers, alpacas, llamas and more!

 

On a broader level, the sanctuary has a range of programs that you as a Peru wildlife rescue volunteer can support with. For example, educational campaigns at local schools, recovery projects for sick and mistreated animals and reproduction programs for endangered animal species as exemplified with the Andean Condor.

 

Our Peru wildlife volunteering project allows volunteers and interns to experience their love of animals during their time in Peru. Working at the centre of the project as part of your international volunteering, your daily tasks will make a positive contribution. Moreover, the care and wellbeing these rescued animals receive will greatly improve. The sanctuary cares for all types of wildlife animals. Ultimately, the long-term aim of the project is to liberate the rescued animals back into natural environments.

 

Peru wildlife rescue volunteer projects typically receive little to no government funding or assistance. Therefore volunteer support and contributions are a big help to the project that otherwise can receive limited help. By choosing to work closely with this wildlife project in Peru, your support as a Peru wildlife volunteer will be much appreciated by those connected at the sanctuary.

 

In short, if you have a love for wildlife, then this project is definitely for you when visiting Peru! We have availability from 1 week to 4 weeks on the project. Furthermore, you will volunteer typically across the morning periods Monday-Friday. At this project, all animals have had their required vaccinations. Older clothing for Peru wildlife volunteering is recommended as are shoes that you do not mind getting dirty!

 

YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL WORK DAY

When you complete volunteer work in Peru at the wildlife rescue centre, you will be helping with the daily chores. As a Peru wildlife rescue volunteer, you will help with cleaning and feeding. Other activities include enrichment activities, medical assistance and general support for the local project staff. The volunteering hours are typically from 9am-1pm and/or 2pm-5pm.

 

You will be required to take a 45 minute bus ride to reach the wildlife rescue project. The bus stop is located either just outside the volunteer accommodation or the Spanish school. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your volunteer project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your volunteer project.

 

OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING WITH WILDLIFE IN PERU

Spanish Requirements – As for all our volunteer in Peru programs, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. The programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.

 

PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. The lessons provide you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Skype and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.

 

We also offer a learn Spanish in Peru program which you can take part in prior to your volunteer placement. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons. Both of these options can be added during our online application process. They are highly recommended if you want to make the most of your volunteer placement.

 

Once you are in-country then you are also able to organise additional Spanish lessons directly with our local team. Volunteer feedback suggests that it can often be tiring to complete Spanish lessons at the same time as your volunteer programs in Peru. Consequently, we generally recommend extending your Language Immersion Program.

 

Experience – If you are a veterinary student you may be able to assist in more tasks. Naturally, this will depend on your level of knowledge, experience and qualifications in this area. You may be able to help with the sick, injured or disabled animals. Furthermore, there may be more opportunities in advanced veterinary care such as vaccinations or neutering procedures.

 

Weekends – Your project work in Peru runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Peru Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend. We also run two separate weekend trips which you can sign-up to before you depart for Peru. We offer the Lake Titicaca & Islands Trip along with the Machu Picchu Trip with opportunities running every month.

ITINERARY

Please arrive Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose (SJO) on the selected Sunday start date.

 

The following itinerary is based on a standard 6-week Real South America Encounter (i.e. 2 weeks per destination). If you opt for the 9 or 12 week options then you will split your time equally across each of the 3-destinations. For example, the 9-week option involves spending 3 weeks across the destinations and the 12 week option involves 4 weeks per destination. The itinerary for the South America Gap Year experience will follow a similar format as below.

 

Your first week on the Real South America Encounter will see you partake in our learn Spanish in Costa Rica program. During this week no volunteer work takes place. As a result, volunteers begin project work in their second week on day-9 of the South America Gap Year experience.

 

Should you only join us for a short time in Costa Rica as part of the Real South America Encounter, you may be able to combine volunteering with your learn Spanish in Costa Rica program during your first-week schedule. If this is something of interest, it should be highlighted on your online application. In addition, you will need to discuss this with the local team during your orientation day. Please note this combination is never guaranteed. However, our local team will do their best to accommodate this where possible.

 

Day 1 (Sunday) Welcome to Costa Rica

 

Welcome to Costa Rica! You will be met at San Jose airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign. The journey to the accommodation will take around 45 minutes, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle in.

 

Volunteers are advised to note the local team does not work on Sunday. Moreover, the accommodation is more designed for independent living. Should volunteers need any food or supplies for the rest of the arrival day they will need to plan ahead. Therefore, international volunteers are advised to withdraw or change a small amount of money at the airport. Finally, you should ask the pickup driver to stop at the supermarket on the drive back to the accommodation.

Day 2 (Monday) - Orientation in Costa Rica

Your orientation as a volunteer in Costa Rica will take place on Monday.

 

After a good first night’s rest in Coronado, it’s time to begin your induction into life in Costa Rica. Your day will kick-start with a placement testing that aims to identify your level of Spanish. This test is not to be intimidating, rather to simply ascertain the level of Spanish you are at. This will, in turn, mean that your classes during your first week can be tailored accordingly. There is, therefore, no need to worry or stress on this in advance! After the test, you will learn about the history of the Spanish school and your schedule. During your ‘new student’ introduction, you will meet the team and travel around Coronado.

 

The local team will teach you about life in Costa Rica, the ‘dos and don’ts’, culture and religion. They will spend time talking through the transport system, weekend opportunities, safety advice and all the projects we support within the community. There are lots of cultural activities arranged by the local team that you can get involved in at a low cost. From salsa to cooking classes and visits to nearby waterfalls, there’s something for everyone. If these sound like activities of interest, you can speak to the team about getting these arranged.

 

For the final part of the day, your coordinators will take you to see some important spots in Coronado. Our team will help you locate every essential you may need during your time, such as the ATM and bus-stop! They’ll also be sure to show you the gym and restaurants. If you need to exchange money, there will be a chance for you to do this too. In short, your orientation as a volunteer in Costa Rica will consist of a written and oral Spanish test, a presentation from the local team, your first Spanish lesson and a walking tour of the local area.

Day 3-6 (Tuesday-Friday) - Learn Spanish in Costa Rica Week

The time in class will be around 4 hours each morning. In addition to this, there are also cultural activities to get involved in during the afternoon. Activities include salsa classes, Costa Rican fruit tasting and visits to museums. More adventurous activities extend to hiking in the Coronado cloud forest, trips to volcanoes and coffee tasting!

 

Such activities usually run a couple of times each week and change on a weekly basis to keep the variety. Some of the activities may have small fees associated with them for logistics and materials. In addition, the activities usually require a minimum number sign up to ensure they run. The best part of these activities is that you are interacting with your peers and other Spanish speaking locals. Such an experience allows volunteers to learn Spanish and the culture of this beautiful country.

Day 7-8 (Saturday-Sunday) - Weekend in Costa Rica!

After a week of learning Spanish, it is your time to explore the wonders of Costa Rica. Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend surfing by the beach, a mesmerizing visit to the cloud forest, some adventure activities in the jungles of Monteverde or Arenal volcano or a more cultural experience locally – Costa Rica has it all! As a volunteer in Costa Rica, our team both welcomes and encourages participants to explore the country’s wonderful treasures. They will be very happy to help you plan your weekend opportunities and outline any travel tips.

Day 9 (Monday) - Volunteering Begins in Costa Rica

You will start your volunteer work on Monday morning. Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team is only a phone call away. You will see Costa Rica coordinators throughout the day at the Spanish School. This is located adjacent to the Volunteer House. The team is always happy to help and hear how your volunteer work in Costa Rica is progressing.

Day 10-14 (Tuesday-Saturday) The Following Week

Your next week will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Tuesday-Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your phone, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.

 

Saturday will either be a free day for you or a transit day depending on your flight schedule.


Day 15 (Sunday) Goodbye Costa Rica - Hello Ecuador!

We can help you arrange your return airport drop off for your flight to Ecuador. Please note that this is not included in your Program Fee.

 

Welcome to Ecuador! You will be met at Quito airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign. The journey to the accommodation will take around 45 minutes, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle in.

 

Volunteers are advised to note the local team does not work on Sunday. Moreover, the accommodation is more designed for independent living. Should volunteers need any food or supplies for the rest of the arrival day they will need to plan ahead. Therefore, international volunteers are advised to withdraw or change a small amount of money at the airport. In addition, volunteers should ask the pickup driver where they can find the supermarkets and food outlets. They are usually only a short walk from the accommodation. As a result, volunteers will not go hungry on their arrival day as a volunteer in Ecuador!

Day 16 (Monday) Orientation in Ecuador!

Your orientation as a volunteer in Ecuador will begin on Monday. Our local team will teach you about life in Ecuador, the ‘dos and don’ts’, the local culture and religion. Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and all the volunteering opportunities in Ecuador. You will also learn about the history of the Spanish school and its origins. Most noteworthy, you will find out about the learn Spanish in Ecuador schedule should you have signed up for Spanish lessons. Alternatively, if you are yet to sign up for Spanish lessons then you can arrange this during your orientation day.

 

Following this introduction, you will be taken on a walk around the city. The walking tour will introduce you to some important spots in Quito. This trip will include identifying the local supermarket, popular cafes, restaurants, ATMs and places to change money. In the evening, you will then meet with the program director. You will need to have your passport and evidence of insurance documents at hand. The local team are required to make copies of these.

 

The director will teach you more about Ecuadorian Culture, emergency information and all the foundations you need for your program. In addition, you will also have the chance to learn about cultural activities available in the local area. As a result, you may choose to get involved in such opportunities during your free time. Your evening is then free to relax, catch up on sleep, and get to know your fellow volunteers!

Day 17-20 (Tuesday-Friday) Volunteering Begins in Ecuador!

You will start your volunteer work on Tuesday morning. Should you need anything whilst at the project, our local team are only a phone call away. You will see Ecuador coordinators throughout the day at the Spanish School. The school is located close to the volunteer accommodation and the local team are always happy to help.

 

Our local team will usually show you the routes on how to get to and from your project. This usually involves taking public transport. In the same vein, the team will introduce you to the volunteer project staff. The local project staff be your main points of contact when you complete volunteer work in Ecuador.

 

Across the week, the local team offer optional afternoon and evening activities for participants to enjoy and partake in. Activities include salsa classes, Ecuadorian cuisine classes, trips to nearby mountainsides or even a cocktail hour!

 

Such activities usually run a couple of times each week and change on a weekly basis to keep the variety. Some of the activities may have small fees associated with them for logistics and materials. In addition, the activities usually require a minimum number sign up to ensure they run. The best part of these activities is that you are interacting with your peers and other Spanish speaking locals. Such an experience allows volunteers to learn Spanish and the culture of this beautiful country.

 

On the final Wednesday of each month, the local team will hold a meeting with all the volunteers. Moreover, they will check in with all the volunteers to see how everything is going on the volunteer placement. As a result, the team can get valuable feedback on participants Ecuador experience.

Day 21-22 (Saturday & Sunday) Weekend in Ecuador!

After a week of volunteering, it is your time to explore the wonders of Ecuador. Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend by the beach, some adventure activities in the Amazon, a long weekend in the Galapagos Islands or a more cultural experience locally – Ecuador has it all! As a volunteer in Ecuador, our team both welcomes and encourages participants to explore the country’s wonderful treasures. They will be very happy to help you plan your weekend opportunities and outline any travel tips.

Day 23-28 (Monday-Saturday) The Following Week

Your next week will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday-Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your phone, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.

 

Saturday will either be a free day for you or a transit day depending on your flight schedule.


Day 29 (Sunday) Goodbye Ecuador - Hello Peru!

We will arrange your return airport drop off for your flight to Ecuador. Please note that this is included in your Program Fee. Consequently, you should speak to the coordinators at the Spanish school to arrange your airport drop off.

 

Welcome to Peru! You will be met at Cusco airport by your homestay parent(s) who will be holding a name sign. The journey to the accommodation will take around 15 minutes, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle in.

Day 30 (Monday) Orientation in Peru!

Your orientation as a volunteer in Peru will begin on Monday at the Spanish school. This is also where you will find the offices of our local team. Usually, a member of the host family will show you how to navigate to the Spanish school on your first day.

 

Across the morning, our local team will teach you about life in Peru and ‘dos and don’ts’. Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system. Our team will also talk through safety advice and all the projects volunteers in Peru support in the community. Depending on your program, your morning may also involve visiting your volunteer project location.

 

You will also learn about the history of the Spanish school and its origins. Most noteworthy, you will find out about the learn Spanish in Peru schedule should you have signed up for Spanish lessons. Alternatively, if you are yet to sign up for Spanish lessons then you can arrange this during your orientation day. Furthermore, our local team will inform you about the weekly social activity volunteers can engage with. For example, cultural activities like salsa dancing and cooking lessons for local delicacies!

 

The local team will also give you a presentation at the office to develop your knowledge and understanding of life in Peru. More specifically, they will teach you about customs, how to greet people, popular places in the local area and where to find ATMs or change money. The presentation usually lasts around 45 minutes.

Day 31-34 (Tuesday-Friday) Volunteering Begins in Peru

You will start your volunteer work in Peru on Tuesday with an induction to your placement. Our local team will meet you as per the time on your first-week schedule for the project. Moreover, the local coordinator will introduce you to the project staff. Similarly, they will explain the travel routes to get too and from the project from your homestay. This usually involves a local bus journey. You will be emailed your first-week schedule from the local team around 1 week before your arrival into Peru.

 

Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team are only a phone call away. You will see Peru coordinators throughout the day at the Spanish School. This is located walking distance from the host family accommodation. In addition, volunteer coordinators will visit the projects from time to time. The team is always happy to help and hear how your volunteer work in Peru is progressing.

 

There is also an optional weekly evening activity for participants to join every Thursday. Activities vary on a weekly basis. They include salsa classes, Peruvian cuisine classes and day trips to local Incan museums.

 

The weekly activity changes on a weekly basis to keep the variety. Some of the activities may have small fees associated with them for logistics and materials. In addition, the activities usually require a minimum number sign up to ensure they run. The best part of these activities is that you are interacting with your peers and other Spanish speaking locals. Such an experience allows volunteers to learn Spanish and the culture of this beautiful country.

 

Finally, the team try and hold weekly feedback with participants every Thursday. They usually take place in a one to one format with a member of the local team. Furthermore, the meeting takes place at around 6pm before the weekly social activity begins. Based at the Spanish school, the meetings give you a chance to give the local team feedback on your experience in Peru. Consequently, if there are opportunities for improvement or issues to be addressed the team can handle this pro-actively. As a result, your volunteer experience in Peru will hopefully improve.

Day 35-36 (Saturday-Sunday) Weekend in Peru!

After a week of volunteering, it is your time to explore the wonders of Peru. Whether you are delving deeper into Cusco, travelling to Rainbow Mountain or more adventurous activities trekking to Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu – Peru has it all. As a volunteer in Peru, our team both welcomes and encourages participants to explore the country’s wonderful treasures. They will be very happy to help you plan your weekend opportunities and outline any travel tips. There are also set dates across the year in which our local team help to organise trips to Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca.

Day 37-41 (Monday-Friday) The Following Week

Your next week will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday-Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your phone, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.

Day 42 (Saturday) Last Day

Saturday is your last day in South Africa and on the South America Gap Year experience. If you are heading home then your host family can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is not included in your Program Fee.

* This itinerary is subject to change as a result of unforeseen circumstances.

CHOOSING A VOLUNTEER TRIP

Can people from outside of the UK or USA volunteer with PMGY?

Of course! Although PMGY was founded in the UK, with offices now extending between the UK and US, we welcome participants of all nationalities onto our programs. Within the last decade, we have hosted tens of thousands of volunteers from across the globe. From France to Italy, Mexico to India, Namibia to Russia and Ireland to China – these are only a handful of the countries volunteers have joined us from! We want everyone from across the world to have an equal opportunity at experiencing a different perspective on life, and make friends across the world.

Why are PMGY’s fees so much more affordable than other travel organisations?

The PMGY International Team works hard to ensure that our fees are kept as low as possible. Consequently, this makes our experiences as affordable and accessible without sacrificing the safety and quality of the overall experience.

 

Registration Fees to join our programs are assigned to the high levels of comprehensive support that we are renowned for. This includes telephone and online support staff available 24 hours each day, as well as detailed hand-guides and interactive webinars. Therefore, the remaining Program Fees to join the program go directly to our in-country teams, covering everything for your time volunteering. In general, these fees are reflected in your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country support and project upkeep during your time abroad. Furthermore, we make sure our fees are transparent, which is something our volunteers really appreciate.

 

Similar organisations offer fancy brochures, run large high-street offices and are usually owned by larger travel organisations with many shareholders. As a result, participants are charged an extremely high price to cover all of these overheads. Therefore, at PMGY, we have embraced the online age by focusing everything around an online presence. We have done away with out-dated brochures, an unnecessary high street presence and we are an independent organisation without any outside financial interests.

What are the requirements to volunteer on the Real South America Encounter?

PMGY welcomes South America Gap Year experience volunteers of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 18 and there is no upper age limit. Furthermore, all volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. Of course, you do not need to speak the local dialects. However, you will find that learning a few local words in each destination in your days with us will go a long way.

 

For our programs in South America, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. The programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.

 

As a South America Gap Year experience volunteer, you must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. Thus, we are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! However, medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.

 

Volunteering overseas can be both physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, all participants must be fit in both areas. Consequently, if you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas, then these must be declared to us during your online application. If you have any queries regarding your suitability to participate, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program.

What are the Real South America Encounter volunteer program start dates?

The program start dates as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer are as follows –

 

3rd January 2021
7th February 2021
7th March 2021
4th April 2021
2nd May 2021
6th June 2021
4th July 2021
1st August 2021
5th September 2021
3rd October 2021
7th November 2021
5th December 2021

 

2nd January 2022
6th February 2022
6th March 2022
3rd April 2022
1st May 2022
5th June 2022
3rd July 2022
7th August 2022
4th September 2022
2nd October 2022
6th November 2022
4th December 2022

What date should I arrive and leave the Real South America Encounter program?

For your South America Gap Year experience volunteer trip, you should book your flights to Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose on the Sunday start date. The airport code is SJO. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team or an appointed driver, who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.

 

The program ends in Peru on the Saturday of your final week. Therefore, you must depart the accommodation on this day. As a result, your final flight as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer should depart from Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco. The airport code is CUZ.

When is the best time of year to volunteer on the Real South America Encounter?

Feedback from South America Gap Year experience volunteers often suggests that it is best to join a PMGY project outside the European summer months. This is since June-August tends to be when we have peak numbers at each of our projects and volunteer accommodations. Conversely, outside of these months, there is typically the greatest opportunity to become fully immersed at the project and within the local community.

Are there any age restrictions on the Real South America Encounter?

In order to join as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer, you need to be at least 18 on the program start date. Generally, the average age range of volunteers is 18-25.

 

There is no upper age limit to our programs, and in the past, we have hosted participants up to the age of 70-years old. Whilst we have found that our more mature participants get a lot from the experience, at times individuals have found it more challenging to integrate with a younger crowd. Furthermore, some participants have perhaps expected a higher level of accommodation, the structure within the local community, and general overall communication at the project setup. Consequently, whilst we welcome volunteers of all ages, we stress that all participants should remain open-minded and flexible. Additionally, participants must appreciate that the majority of our participants are across the 18-25 age range.

When should I apply to be a Real South America Gap Year Encounter volunteer?

For the majority of our programs, you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program. This is since some of our programs only have limited capacity, meaning that spaces get filled very quickly. Therefore, it is particularly important that you apply in good time if you’re looking to travel between our peak period of June and August. This is because spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Furthermore, please only apply if you are 100% committed to joining the program. You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual project page. This will guide you through our online Application Process.

 

Indeed, once you have applied and confirmed your place on the program, it may be possible to change your start dates and this will not incur a fee. However, please note that this will be subject to availability and any changes should be made at least 60 days prior to your start date.

Can I volunteer abroad with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?

You’re more than welcome to travel and volunteer with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and volunteer for the same project. However, please note the majority of our volunteer accommodation is on a single-sex basis. Consequently, we cannot guarantee that you would be able to be placed in the same room.

 

Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.

Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?

Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we work hard to ensure that our host locations are safe. Firstly, volunteer safety in each of our destinations is monitored regularly. Each of our volunteer programs has been inspected by a member of the PMGY International Team. Additionally, PMGY closely follows advice published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Alongside the frequent contact we have with our local teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable or unsafe regions.

 

The PMGY International Team have visited and participated in every program we offer. Thus, we have carefully inspected every little detail of our set-up, from the living conditions to local neighbourhoods and even the food you’ll be eating. Through these checks, we are able to ensure that all of our projects are up to scratch. Furthermore, all of our local teams are experienced development professionals, with years of experience hosting international volunteers. They are PMGY’s representatives on the ground and assist volunteers 24/7 throughout their stay. Our teams are therefore always on-hand to assist in any emergencies that may occur. Additionally, our 24 hour international emergency telephone line is always accessible. PMGY’s in-country staff also have access to local medical professionals should these be required during a participant’s time with us.

 

When you join as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer, we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visas and dress codes. For any unanswered or specific questions, PMGY offers a comprehensive support network, with online and telephone support staff available 24 hours each day. Our advisers welcome participants to ask as many questions as needed for them to effectively prepare for their trip overseas. On a monthly basis, our International Team also hosts both an Introductory Webinar and Safety Webinar. These are interactive opportunities for international volunteers to learn more about our projects and managing their safety overseas.

 

When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the general volunteer program and your specific project. During this session, our team will also cover important safety advice specific to your country. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM-card. This is something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. In like manner, we will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.

 

Although we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble-free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each program is as safe as possible.

When do I pay for my volunteer program? Can I pay in instalments?

In order to confirm your place as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer, you need to pay a 1 USD deposit within 7 days of your application being successful. Consequently, you are only required to pay the deposit once we can guarantee you a place on the program. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. The only exception to this is for applications made 60 days or less in advance of the program start date. In these instances, the full balance must be paid within 7 days of being accepted in order to secure your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application. This usually takes 24-48 hours from the application being submitted.

 

Payments made in advance of the 60 day window can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance, or book a flight with PMGY, then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking. Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur. Bank transfers can be accepted by UK participants only.

Can I use the program as part of a university or college placement?

It is certainly possible to be a South America Gap Year experience volunteer as part of your university or college placement. However, PMGY is unable to guarantee that your time as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer will fulfil the requirements of your establishment. Therefore, participants are encouraged to speak to a member of the International Team to establish whether the required parameters can be met. This should be done in advance of applying to the program. When appropriate, school/college/university representatives are welcome to contact PMGY to discuss further the suitability of the program in meeting the participant’s requirements.

 

First of all, the PMGY International Team are able to complete paperwork after a South America Gap Year experience volunteer has confirmed their place on the program. Additionally, project staff in each destination can also sign-off any paperwork that is required by your course tutors. However, while our team will do their best to complete any paperwork, we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university/college. PMGY regularly receives medical, nursing, childcare and psychology placement students on our projects globally, with ties with some leading universities.

 

If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programs could meet the placement requirements for your course, please contact us directly to schedule a meeting.

BEFORE YOU DEPART

Do you offer an online TEFL course?

For PMGY South America Gap Year experience volunteers, the only real ‘qualifications’ you need are bags of energy, commitment and enthusiasm. However, if you have chosen an English teaching volunteer program in one of your destinations and would like a chance to do some preparation work before you hit the classroom, we’ve got the perfect introductory online TEFL course for English language teaching abroad.

 

At only 60 hours and completed online, this course is obviously hugely convenient. The course can be done in your own time, at your own pace and you don’t even need to leave the house! You have got a whopping 75 days to complete the course, so there is no rush and you can fit it in when you can. Obviously, an hour here and there certainly adds up. Therefore there really is no pressure.

 

Once completed, you’ll not only have acquired key skills for teaching English abroad but also an internationally accredited certificate. If you find that teaching really is your calling, this course can be built upon with more modules in the future. There are 5 modules to this 60 hour course, covering aspects including ‘The Roles of the Teacher’ and ‘Lesson Planning’.

 

The cost of the course is 120 USD. If you’ve already signed up for one of our programs and would like to enrol on the online TEFL course then please contact us.

Can I fundraise for my volunteer trip?

With PMGY, the money our volunteers pay goes towards the structure you receive on the South America Gap Year experience volunteer program. The fundamentals of this cover aspects such as accommodation, airport pick-ups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.

 

We do our best to keep our program costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing on quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Consequently, a large number of PMGY volunteers decide to fundraise for their trip. In these instances, we recommend that South America Gap Year experience volunteers set up an online fundraising page to notify friends and family of your trip.

 

PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding for volunteers to create a personalised fundraising page for their trip. This professional online fundraising service allows you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.

Can I raise money for the projects?

The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415). This charity has been created to help provide financial aid and assistance to projects we work with on an ongoing basis. Importantly, the objective of the PMGY Foundation is prevention or relief of poverty for people living in the communities we support. This is achieved by providing or assisting the provision of education, training, healthcare and general living support. Therefore together, we hope that the support offered by the PMGY Foundation helps to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient. Consequently, donations made to the PMGY Foundation will be directed to the projects most in need. This is determined by the trustees of the charity during our International Team overseas visits.

 

If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation, you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. 100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. However, please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas. For South America Gap Year experience volunteers looking for further information on how to raise money for their trip abroad, please visit our fundraising page.

How do I register for your online webinars?

Every Tuesday at 4pm (London time), the PMGY International Team hosts one of four pre-departure webinars. These last approximately 45 minutes each and importantly provide South America Gap Year experience volunteers with invaluable advice on their upcoming trip. The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the globe. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world, simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones. In addition to this, if any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so.

 

For individuals who have not yet signed up to one of our programs, but would like to learn more about us, we encourage you to join our Introductory Webinar. Across 45 minutes, a member of the International team will introduce you to the concept of volunteering abroad, our destinations and both social and safety aspects of our programs.

 

For South America Gap Year experience volunteers who have already confirmed their volunteering role on the program, there are three for you to choose from. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.

 

Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.

 

Program Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching community work programs.

 

Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.

Will I require vaccinations and malaria tablets for my volunteer work?

It is possible that as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer you may require a course of vaccinations in preparation for your volunteer work. However, unfortunately, PMGY is unable to legally advise on these matters, since we are not medical experts. Therefore, it is vital that you contact your local doctor or travel clinic a few months in advance of your intended travel. Your local doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on vaccinations and malaria prevention you may need for entry into your volunteer destination. Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.

How do I arrange my flights to volunteer on the Real South America Encounter?

When you apply to be a South America Gap Year experience volunteer, we cannot guarantee your place on the program immediately. Indeed, on receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the program and to assess your suitability for the specific project. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your program has been confirmed by us in writing. Of course, once your place as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer has been confirmed, you are then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.

 

After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. PMGY have an ATOL Licence to ensure any flights booked through us are financially secured by the Civil Aviation Authority. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.

Do you offer travel insurance?

Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our International Volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.

 

We have partnered up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.

 

Please note that PMGY Travel Insurance is purchased in week-long blocks. Therefore, you should carefully identify how many days you’ll be away for, including the date you depart and return to your home country. Indeed, this will ensure that you select the correct duration of travel insurance. For example, if you’re travelling for 29 days in total, you’ll need a 5 week policy, not a 4 week policy.

How do I obtain a background check?

To become a South America Gap Year experience volunteer, you’ll need to provide us with a clean DBS or Police Check before you travel. This is a check must be issued by an official Governmental or Police Body. PMGY have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the volunteers we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. Consequently, we are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.

 

If you hold a current DBS or Police Check, then we can accept this, providing it is clear and issued no more than 18 months prior to your program start date. You will need to upload a copy of this to your online portal after confirming your place on the program. Furthermore, the DBS or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your program start date.

 

If you don’t have a valid DBS check (also known as CRB or Police Check), then you will need to apply for one. UK volunteers need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). This costs 23 GBP and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a CRB check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook, received once you have confirmed your place as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer.

 

For South America Gap Year experience volunteers from the US, you can apply for a background check through US Criminal Checks. It costs 17.95 USD and is usually processed immediately. Alternatively, you are welcome to arrange your own background check through your local Sheriff’s Office or governmental body.

 

For all other international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.

When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?

All South America Gap Year experience volunteers will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook for each destination they join us in once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the program. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbooks. Please note that we do not send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.

 

Each Handbook contains everything you need to know to prepare for each of your destinations as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer. Ranging from what to pack to how to obtain a visa, we do our best to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, it is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbooks for each destination carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you find any of your questions unanswered after reading through this, then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Skype, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!

ON YOUR TRIP

Can I arrange a private room?

All of our accommodation options on the South America Gap Year experience volunteer program involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange private room options for our South America Gap Year experience volunteers.

Can you cater for my dietary requirements?

Our teams will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer. Consequently, there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.

Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?

We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability. This information can be found via our Holiday Dates page and in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change. In turn, these can unexpectedly affect project availability. Therefore in such instances, we ask our volunteers to be flexible and appreciative of this. These periods often provide volunteers with a unique experience to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves. However, our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable/possible.

What is the dress code at the projects?

Dress code varies from country-to-country and sometimes from project-to-project. Importantly, we ask that our volunteers adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. Of course, we will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack. In addition to this, our local team will also brief you during your in-country orientation on arrival into each of your destinations.

 

The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover shoulders, chest, stomach and thighs. In a like matter, for men, shorts should not lie above the knee and shirts should cover shoulders. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our volunteers, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Moreover, dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with. Therefore, our Volunteer Handbooks, outline preferred dress-codes in detail.

 

Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions. However, please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.

How much spending money will I need?

The amount of extra spending money you should take with you as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in South Africa, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 100-150 USD per week a suitable amount.

Will I be able to travel whilst on the program?

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time! Most of our programs have been designed so that you have weekends off. Therefore, this gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the weekend opportunities and travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures. During your time as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer, you are sure to make some travel buddies along the way!

 

Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities across dates either side of your volunteering placement. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to volunteer in. However, if you plan to travel extensively, please factor this into your flight itinerary. This is since we only encourage travel during weekends while you’re volunteering, as you have made a commitment as a South America Gap Year experience volunteer.

ACCOMMODATION

COSTA RICA

Volunteer House

 

During your time on the Costa Rica volunteer programs you will live in our Volunteer House. This is located in Coronado, a suburb of San Jose. You will find restaurants, convenience stores, cafés, pubs and ATMs all within walking distance. You’ll be living with other volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.

 

The accommodation is comfortable and comes with free Wi-Fi. Each room has single beds with up to 3 people per room in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with cupboard space and bed linens. Bathrooms are shared but have a hot shower and western-style toilet.

 

The house has a communal area for international volunteers to hang out after completing volunteer work in Costa Rica. We encourage you to bring some small padlocks to store any valuables in your own bags. However, there is a safe in each room for shared storage should you wish to use this. In addition, there will be fridge space available for volunteers to store any chilled items. The Volunteer House has a laundry room on-site. Consequently, you can do all your own washing equipped with washers and dryers!

 

Volunteers are a short walk from the centre of Coronado. As a result, many restaurants, supermarkets and volunteer projects are nearby! The residence accommodation is in a compound that comes with 24 hour security. Moreover, there is a digital keypad to open and close the front gates. This is to ensure that volunteers are safe. There are fully equipped kitchens to prepare all of your food within the house. To sum up, the volunteer accommodation setup offers volunteers a unique experience. That is, you get the opportunity to live with other volunteers as well as an independent living environment.

 

During our busiest months (June to September) on the volunteer in Costa Rica program, you may be placed at alternative accommodation. For instance, you could be placed in a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.

ECUADOR

Volunteer House

 

During your time on the Ecuador volunteer programs, you will live in our Volunteer Apartment. This is located in central Quito, the country’s capital. You will find restaurants, convenience stores, cafés, pubs and ATMs all within walking distance. You’ll be living with other volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.

 

The accommodation is comfortable with free Wi-Fi. Each room has single/bunk beds with up to 3 people per room in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with cupboard space and bed linens. Bathrooms are shared but have a shower and western style toilet. The majority of volunteer projects are not within walking distance. Consequently, the local coordinators will educate you on the bus routes for your daily commute to your project.

 

The volunteer apartment has a communal area for volunteers to hang out after completing volunteer work in Ecuador. We encourage you to bring some small padlocks and/or store any valuables in your own bags. In addition, there is fridge space available for volunteers to store any chilled items. The Volunteer House is a quick walk from laundry services.

 

Once a week there will be a communal cleaner who comes to the apartment. Subsequently, the communal cleaner will be on hand to change bedsheets as well as clean the toilet and shower area. However, the kitchen and communal areas, as well as personal spaces, are international volunteers responsibility to keep clean. In short, it is the volunteer responsibility to respect the environment they are living in.

 

Volunteers are housed within a hip area of Quito. For instance, the volunteer apartment is encompassed with restaurants, cafes, boutiques and pubs. The apartment block will have a security guard on-site to ensure that volunteers are safe. There are fully equipped kitchens to prepare all of your food within the house. To sum up, the volunteer accommodation setup offers volunteers a unique experience. That is, you get the opportunity to live with other volunteers as well as an independent living environment.

 

During our busiest months (June to September) on the volunteer in Ecuador program, you may be placed at alternative accommodation. For instance, you could be placed in a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.

PERU

Homestay

 

During your time on the Peru volunteer programs, you will live in our homestay family accommodation. The accommodation is basic but comfortable and located in the city of Cusco. You’ll be living with local families who will guide you in Cusco. Furthermore, they will help to improve your knowledge of the Spanish Language! It is important to note that the homestay families usually have very limited English.

 

The host families are located just outside of central Cusco. They are all within 30 minutes bus of your volunteer work in Peru. In addition, the volunteer homestays are usually walking distance from the local team’s offices. Each room has single beds, up to 3 people per room (same-sex rooms only). Volunteers are provided with bed linen and cupboard space to store clothes and accessories. All volunteers will have their own keys for the front of the building, apartment and their bedroom.

 

Bathrooms are shared. Each bathroom has a shower and western style toilet. The water is usually warm (although can be a victim to power cuts) to ensure you keep warm in the chilly nights of Cusco! The house has Wi-Fi and a communal area for volunteers to hang out with their host families. There is also a kitchen with a refrigerator to store any items you need to keep chilled. However, please ask the host family for some fridge space out of respect in advance.

 

The host families will prepare all meals across your time on the project with us (including a packed lunch if you wish). The families of the homestay normally have a separate area within the house for their family, yet they love to interact with volunteers. Therefore they will be excited to hear about your days and experiences in Peru. Above all, the host family set-up ensures you have round the clock support and security. In addition, you will get the chance to improve your Spanish language skills.

 

Your host family location is usually linked to your volunteer in Peru project location. For the reason that it allows for more practical logistics to get to and from the project. Therefore, should you have requirements to be in the same accommodation as another PMGY application then be sure to highlight this on your online application.

MEALS

COSTA RICA

During your volunteer trip to Costa Rica, meals are not included. However, there is a food truck that comes to the volunteer residence Monday-Friday. Moreover, the truck is packed with sandwiches, local meals, Caribbean dishes and yummy desserts.

 

The food truck ensures that even if you aren’t quite the chef your fellow volunteers may be, you can still eat well. As a result, you will feel full whether you are learning the Spanish language or making a positive impact on the volunteer project! In addition, if you like something specific you can even ask for them to bring it the next day.

 

From time to time, the Spanish school will host a cuisine night to teach you how to make Costa Rican dishes. These are free to join. Your dinner will be some of the best-prepared food. Who needs to go to a restaurant when you can try your very own Latin American cuisine!

 

Local supermarkets are within walking distance of the volunteer accommodation. On the weekends, there is a local farmers market that volunteers love to visit. This is located just a few blocks from the Volunteer House.

ECUADOR

During your volunteer trip to Ecuador, meals are not included. However, the Volunteer House will be equipped with a kitchen including all the appliances and items needed. As a result, you will be able to prepare yourself three nutritious meals a day. In addition, you will be able to interact with other international volunteers in a communal setting when preparing and eating meals.

 

The Volunteer House is located in a great area. This hip spot has small food markets and large convenience stores. Therefore, whether you are preparing a frozen pizza or frying some fish and chips everything is in close proximity. If you have any questions about the kitchen or where to buy items the local team are always on hand to help.

 

Volunteers tend to put their heads together and arrange to cook together on certain nights. In the same vein, volunteers will then split the costs involved for the food items. If you are up for some communal cooking, get involved! Usually, on a weekly basis, the local team will host cuisine nights that you are able to attend.

PERU

During your volunteer trip to Peru, international volunteers will be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast and dinner are served at the homestay, whereas for lunch we provide you with a packed lunch (upon request). With notice, the local team can even provide pre-cooked meals for you. You can then store and warm the meals up at the Spanish school during your lunch. In addition, boiled and filtered water is also available at the homestay(s) for volunteers.

 

It is important to note that meals are traditional Peruvian dishes. In short, they can be very carb-heavy traditionally. Peruvian cuisine consists of a lot of rice or quinoa and the meat is mainly chicken. Due to the altitude, you will notice that your breakfast and dinner meals are quite small and lunch is very big. Going to sleep with a full stomach is hard on the body. Therefore, at such an altitude it is difficult to digest large quantities of food. Consequently, it may take you a few days for your body to get accustomed to this as well.

 

The main meats are chicken, fish and alpaca. There are a number of western restaurants around a 10 minute drive from the accommodation. Therefore, home comforts are not too far away. In the same vein, there are also some vegan and Indian restaurants in Cusco. Our local team will tell you all about the options available to you during your in-country orientation.

 

Here is an example of the meals you can expect:

* Please note our local team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Most importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the volunteer program.

FEES INVOLVED

DURATION

PROGRAM FEE

REGISTRATION FEE

TOTAL

6 weeks
1,935 USD
249 USD
2,184 USD
9 weeks
2,385 USD
249 USD
2,634 USD
12 weeks
2,835 USD
249 USD
3,084 USD

* These fees apply to each individual application.

 

 

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY program, you need to pay a deposit of 1 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge.

 

You’re only required to pay your deposit once we can guarantee you a place on the program. If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application and you must pay the relevant fee to confirm your spot within the next 7 days.

 

Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.

 

Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

 
 

OPTIONAL TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME – 50 USD

PMGY provide participants with the opportunity to contribute towards our Triple Carbon Offset Scheme. This not only helps eliminate your carbon footprint but helps the planet with a positive contribution every time you fly. The Triple Offset Idea for volunteers works as follows –

 

🇰🇪 Kenya – 60 mango trees are planted in Kenya. These are capable of absorbing the total carbon emissions for a volunteer trip to South America and also help provide a sustainable income for local farmers.

 

🇮🇳 India – 80 days of access to a solar cooker are provided to a family in India. This means the family don’t have to spend on firewood and thus reduce their dependence on trees.

 

🇺🇸 USA – 1.25kg of rescued meals are provided to the homeless in the USA. This recycles wasted food reduces methane emission from food waste which is equivalent to 1lb of CO2 emissions.

 

This optional add-on can be added during the online application process or can even be added on at a later date. The offset platform is provided by our charity, the PMGY Foundation and ensures that 100% of contributions are put towards high impact projects around the world.

VOLUNTEER IN SOUTH AMERICA REVIEWS

   

COSTS INVOLVED

WHAT'S INCLUDED

PROGRAM FEE

  • ONE WEEK OF SPANISH LESSONSYES
  • ACCOMMODATION YES
  • PERU MEALS (B, L & D) YES
  • AIRPORT PICK UPS (24H)YES
  • ECUADOR AIRPORT DROP OFF (24H)YES
  • IN-COUNTRY ORIENTATIONSYES
  • PMGY T-SHIRTYES
  • 24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY SUPPORT

    YES

REGISTRATION FEE

  • 24 HOUR EMERGENCY SUPPORT YES
  • DEDICATED PMGY TRAVEL MENTOR YES
  • EMAIL & TELEPHONE SUPPORT YES
  • VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK YES
  • LIVE PRE-DEPARTURE WEBINARS YES
  • 100% FINANCIAL PROTECTIONYES
  • REGULAR PROGRAM INSPECTION YES
  • CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETIONYES

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • COSTA RICA MEALS (B, L & D) NO
  • ECUADOR MEALS (B, L & D) NO
  • TRANSPORT TO PROJECTNO
  • FLIGHTSNO
  • TRAVEL INSURANCENO
  • RETURN AIRPORT TRANSFERSNO
  • VISASNO
  • CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKNO

WEEKEND TRIP ADD-ONS

TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME

OPTIONAL 50 USD PAYMENT

  • TREES PLANTED IN KENYA60
  • DAYS OF SOLAR ACCESS IN INDIA80
  • HOMELESS MEALS PROVIDED IN USA1.25KG