Libby Taylor, University of Oxford
Going to Peru through VolunTeach was a life-changing experience. I discovered so many things about the country and myself that I would never have expected to before I left. Everyone there was so welcoming and friendly. The first couple of days offered a nice induction into the month to come.
When I arrived in the city I would be staying in for the next month, Huaraz, I felt instantly at ease and settled due to the warm nature of my host family. Greeted by love, gifts, and Inca Cola I was suitably excited for the time to come.
Both the staff and pupils at the school I taught at were equally welcoming. I was really encouraged by the enthusiasm of some of the pupils to learn English and I really felt like I was making a difference to those at all levels, particularly those who did not participate in class regularly, whom I could provide some one-on-one support for.
Daniel Moorehead, Durham University
Volunteach Peru was an incredible experience in so many ways. Teaching in the primary school in Lima was very rewarding as I felt that I was making a real difference because there weren’t many native English teachers. To give them the opportunity to be exposed to the English accent and teach them authentic British English was very valuable to them. Furthermore, being a teaching assistant gives you the opportunity to develop your language and communication skills as well as building confidence. In addition the two other volunteering projects, which involved teaching in a state secondary and tutoring in an economically disadvantaged area of Lima, were equally if not more rewarding as the students were extremely motivated to learn English and the volunteers were the main outlet for them to learn the language.
I couldn’t recommend the programme highly enough and want to return to Peru again to visit my host family, experience the unique culture and visit more of the awe-inspiring places that Peru has to offer.
Ellie Stokes, University of Edinburgh
Before I arrived in Peru I was very nervous as I had never been to South America before however, taking part in Volunteach was the best decision that I have made at university. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Peru! Volunteach organised an initial training day and a tour of the city which helped to make me feel settled in straight away. This made their expectation and our role clear from the beginning. The host family I was placed with couldn’t have made me feel more welcome. Their home was lovely and they were able to share with me their culture and language. In the evenings and at the weekends the family would take me to different parts of the city so that I could try the different local cuisines and experience the varying culture. I was based in Lima. I cannot stress enough how amazing this school was.
Sophie Hope, Newcastle University
Taking part in the VolunTeach Peru teaching assistantship programme was an extremely valuable experience. It was really rewarding to see how much the children and teachers in the school appreciated having a native English speaker to help them. The opportunity to live with a Peruvian host family whilst living in Peru was fantastic. Not only was it amazing for my Spanish speaking skills, but there’s also no better way to discover the Peruvian culture. Thanks to the Volunteach team I felt very confident and welcome in Peru as I knew I always had someone to call if I had any questions. I really could not recommend the programme enough, it was an experience that I will never forget.
Samantha Clemente, University of Liverpool
The school in Tarapoto, San Antonio de Padua was so welcoming to me during my entire trip, they showed me around on the first day and welcomed us to everyone in the school. The teachers in general were very friendly, they were also so intrigued to know so much about us and our lives back in the UK, at times their views made me realise how different my life in the UK is from theirs but after a while this became easier to understand.
My family in Tarapoto were really fun, I loved living with Gidith the older daughter and every weekend we would go out the Anaconda and also she showed me all the surrounding areas of Tarapoto, such as Sauce, Moyobamba and Llamas. We became really good friends and it was so sad to say goodbye.
Alice Radley, University of Exeter
VolunteachPeru has enabled me to experience a crazy yet beautiful country, that couldn’t be more different from the UK. My 6 weeks living, working and exploring Peru has enabled me to improve my Spanish and teach English. Living with a local family has meant getting a taste of an authentic Peruvian lifestyle, something I wouldn’t have discovered by just travelling. My weekend adventures were incredible and never will I forget sandboarding down the Huacachina sand dunes, driving through Paracas National Reserve and trekking to the peak of Machu Picchu. VolunteachPeru also provided the opportunity to teach and help in really poor areas of Lima, helping to provide a better quality of life for struggling families. VolunteachPeru has been unforgettable and I am grateful to them and my Peruvian family for making my time here so special.
Anna McCartney, The University of Sheffield
Why Peru? Why Volunteach? I study German and Hispanic Studies at the University of Sheffield and wanted to spend my year abroad in Latin America because I saw it as a fantastic chance to experience a culture and landscape very different to my own in the UK and I wanted to travel about the continent after my placement. Shadia, the director of the programme Volunteach Peru, came to Sheffield and gave a speech to those interested. Immediately, the placement sounded perfect for me who, not only knew little about Latin American culture, but also little Spanish having only studied it from beginners at Sheffield. The Volunteach experience is a fantastic way to engage in Peruvian culture from day one. Living with a host family gave me effortless exposure to food, festivities and routine and the opportunity to speak Spanish to natives day in day out. Additionally, the voluntary placements in two schools in two different cities and accommodation with host families (for which I paid nothing) were both found and arranged for me by Volunteach.
Anna Middleton, The University of Oxford
Having never been out of Europe in my life, and with my Spanish vocabulary limited to ‘hola’ ‘Gracias’ and ‘quesedilla’, jetting off to South America to spend a month and a half teaching English and staying with Peruvian hosts sounded to my family like it might be a misguided decision. It wasn’t at all. Volunteach Peru has been almost excessively perfect; as a novice to the globetrotting trade, having Shadia on the other end of a phone 24/7 and an adoptive family who worried about my flights as much as my actual parents did made me feel immediately at home on the other side of the world. The novelty of being a gringa teacher never really wore off, and I genuinely felt that I got to help advanced students polish their English, and inspire some novices to begin to enjoy learning a language. Being with VTP has given me a perspective that I don’t think blindly backpacking would have offered; returning from Machu Picchu to my house and job in Tarapoto, I actually felt like I was returning to my home from a holiday.
Felicity Burton, The University of Sheffield
From arriving in Lima and meeting the other TAs to saying good bye to all teachers and students at school, my time in Peru has been unbelievable. My host family was really welcoming and we had so much fun together eating Peruvian food, teaching me Spanish and exploring the area. They were so relaxed and caring; we are definitely going to stay in contact!
All the teachers at the school were extremely friendly and I have countless incredible memories of working in the classrooms with them. They were so eager to improve their English and also help me get the most from the teaching experience. I was able to help with listening, reading and speaking as well as pronunciation of English lyrics for a singing competition. The children at the school were equally keen to develop their English. No lesson was ever boring and they were always very enthusiastic to participate in the activities I did with them. Peru is such an amazing country and getting to see it with my new VTP friends or my family made.
Laura Stebbings, The University of Edinburgh
Volunteach Peru has been a fantastic experience for me. It’s putting yourself out of your comfort zone, but in a way that means you never feel unsafe or completely disconnected. You meet new people and see new places with a safety net that is your home away from home, and will definitely arrive back home with a significantly improved level of Spanish. Being a teaching assistant has its ups and downs; you will be like a celebrity with some of your kids, they will probably ask you if a) you have a partner and b) if you like one direction. I personally had fun coming up with activities for the younger students, such as games, tongue twisters and campfire songs that I learned when I was younger. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience: being in Peru, with great people, great food, and extremely diverse culture; being in the school with the advantages of getting a peek at what it is like and being able to experience what it’s like to be a teacher without any of the associated downsides (marking, coming up with lesson plans etc); and being there with VTP, an excellent programme with guidance and support if you ever have any problems or doubts.
Paloma Vince, The University of Oxford
I recently returned from Huaraz, a mountainous city in Peru, with VolunTeach. I was working in Early Years, with students from the age of 3 to the age of 8. Half of their lessons were in English, so I contributed new stories, songs from England, games, and England-themed activities. VolunTeach were fantastic at encouraging us to use our other talents to become more integrated in the school. I even organised a baking session with one of my kinder classes.
VolunTeach placed me with a fantastic family in El Pinar, the private estate where the school was located. Living with a family enabled me to experience Peruvian culture (and the fantastic Peruvian cuisine) first-hand. This also really helped my language skills. I couldn’t speak Spanish before arriving in Peru. But I now can speak a basic level, and I’m signed up to a language course at university to continue learning.
I’m really grateful to VolunTeach for organising such a safe trip. Everything was well-organised (sightseeing in Lima, school placement, and host family). I fell in love with the country and can’t wait to return.
Stuart Sheriffs, The University of Stirling
“I really wanted to do something different during my summer holiday rather than working back home. Volunteach Peru allowed me to have an unforgettable summer whilst increasing my future job prospects. Before even arriving in Peru I was reassured and kept up to date throughout the entire application progress making it completely stress free! My family were absolutely fantastic and really welcomed me into home and lives. The school, staff and pupils were amazing too. It was so nice to see so many pupils eager to practice a foreign language with such confidence and enthusiasm. Volunteering with Volunteach Peru was by far the best way to experience this amazing country whilst meeting some fantastic people.”
Danielle Pearce, Durham University
Having recently returned from a 4-month Teaching Assistant Experience in the cities of Lima and Huaraz with VolunTeach Peru, I can truly say that it is an experience I would recommend to anybody. I was drawn to VTP by both the opportunity to improve my Spanish during my Year Abroad and to help the host schools – both teachers and pupils alike – to learn more of the authentic British English language and culture. I spent two months in a school in Lima followed by two months in Huaraz – two very different cities, which allowed me an opportunity to understand better the different cultures and accents within Peru itself. The host schools and families could not have been more welcoming, and the VTP team were always ready and willing to assist with any problems that arose settling into a new country. Peru is a beautiful and diverse country, and VTP made it such a wonderful and life-changing experience that I can’t wait to have an opportunity to go back.
Josh Marks, The University of Cambridge
The time I spent with VolunTeach Peru was fantastic. Not only did I get to teach some of the most enthusiastic children I’ve met, but I also had the opportunity to go far beyond school. Volunteach is fantastic because it does all the tricky admin for you. By giving me a family and a school, I knew I was safe and accounted for whenever I needed to be. At the same time, the family who run the programme are genuinely lovely, so they look out for everyone too.
There’s a lovely feeling in knowing that there’s somebody in Peru who will make sure it’s all alright! Volunteach also gives, pretty cheap too, the opportunities to travel to places you’d never even dream of. I went to the Amazon jungle, the desert and beyond. I never expected so many opportunities to present themselves. Overall I’m thrilled that I did it.
Heather Aspinall, University of Newcastle
Without a doubt, taking part in VolunTeach was the best experience of my life! I was teaching in a private school in Lima for 3 months and during that time I met some of the nicest people, taught the loveliest children and travelled to some of the most incredible places in the world.
Peru as a country really is INCREDIBLE. The people, the places, the food… 3 months is not enough! Staying with a Peruvian family was one of the best aspects as I truly was able to experience ‘la vida peruana’ rather than just passing through the country as a clueless gringa. Thank you, AGAIN, VolunTeach…I will be back!
Natalie Bate, The University of Cambridge.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time working with VolunTeach Peru from October to December. I spent a month in Lima and a month in Cusco and would recommend the experience to anyone. The teaching is also so fulfilling, the children really appreciate you being there and helping them. Being able to see them progress is very special feeling. My family in Lima were wonderful, so friendly and treated me like I was part of the family – going to a baby shower, church on Sundays and family parties! You have the freedom to explore the amazing country of Peru (and further, too!). One of the best, if not the best, experiences in my life is my visit to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley. I will never forget it, and if I hadn’t volunteered with VolunTeach Peru, this would not have been possible.
Samantha Hoose, Portsmouth University
Definitely one of the best experiences I have had. I helped out in a school in Arequipa working with students aged 11 to 15. It was a bit daunting at first as I had no prior teaching experience but the head of the school was so friendly and helpful, I got used to it quickly. I think the best part was getting to teach them about my city and culture and learning about theirs too, also helping them gain confidence in their English!
My family were so welcoming from the moment I arrived, they taught me so much about the Arequipa way of life and I tried loads of new things like Guinea Pig (an interesting meal to say the least) and Queso helado (the best thing ever, don’t judge it by the name).
All in all I’ve had the best time and I’m really sad to leave but have some of the best memories. I would recommend VTP to anyone they are great!
Jonathan Hardman, The University of Liverpool.
Living and working with VolunTeach Peru during my year abroad was an enlightening, educational and overall extremely beneficial experience- both from a life experience perspective and educationally.
The teaching side was an interesting idea for me. As someone who is considering teaching as profession, it was an ideal experience. The teaching element wasn’t challenging however I thoroughly enjoyed working with some excellent young people with a genuine desire to learn English.
I consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity with VolunTeach Peru. Both my families made me feel at home almost immediately, introducing me as an adopted son. I cannot recommend the program highly enough, a fantastic and life-changing opportunity and I would do almost anything to go back.