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Volunteering in Peru - BUNAC Case Study

Volunteering in Peru - BUNAC Case Study

Philip, 21 from Hampshire, tells us about his Volunteer Peru experience.

I chose to arrange Volunteer Peru with BUNAC because of the great price. The orientation I had on arrival was excellent. Everyone was very welcoming and friendly and even met up with them throughout the project for social outings. From day one we felt very comfortable working with the helpful Peruvians we were associated with, particularly Patty, Erick, Josaline and Roger. We were given 24/7 emergency contact details and everyone were very willing to help in our day-to-day lives. The families are amazingly nice and took an active interest in your well-being and happiness.

My placement was in the Animal Refuge Shelter and involved cleaning enclosures, feeding animals, administering medicine routinely to some animals and other manual jobs that were chosen for us. I did this for around 4 hours a day. What I most enjoyed was working with the animals and the very friendly staff. The Animal refugee shelter was perfect and I would definitely recommend it.

I stayed with a family during my time in Peru and the facilities were exceptional – clean bedroom and bathrooms, good kitchen and most importantly very secure doors/windows. The grandmother of the house prepared excellent food and I felt welcomed by the local community – there was a general feeling of acceptance. The volunteer houses are definitely secure enough to warrant taking your iPod/iPhone. You have to be careful out and about with them, but for listening to music in the family home it would have been useful. One volunteer from Australia even brought his iPad (though that was a bit unnecessary as there are plenty of internet cafés).

I funded my trip by saving money from full-time work and spent less than £500 excluding additional travel arrangements. This was spent on nights out, food and transport (a bus is about 30p and taxis are around £2-3), souvenirs, extra travel arrangements with tour companies and extra essentials like toiletries.

The most challenging part of my trip was going through Heathrow airport and the most rewarding is improving my Spanish and using it to develop relationships with people and carry out day-to-day tasks with the locals. I travelled to Huacachina, Huancayo, Ica, Lunahuana and Cusco (with Machu Picchu).

What advice would I give to future volunteers on this programme?
Don’t worry about feeling isolated and daunted by it; everything is very well planned out for you and you are very warmly welcomed. It isn’t long before you begin really enjoying your new life out there and forget everything you thought you needed in England.

The 3 highlights of my work and travel experience were:
1) Using my Spanish to socialise with others.
2) Becoming life-long friends with the other volunteers.
3) Never worrying about rent and paychecks.

It was easily the best 2 months of my life so far; it’s changed me as a person as well. I feel a bit more Peruvian now and less English, but in a good way.

Phil

 

Find out more about volunteering abroad during your gap year.

 
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