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Volunteer Abroad In Peru - United Planet - 1-12 weeks

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Life-changing!

My four weeks in Peru was, for a lack of better words, life-changing. I never expected that I would've learned so much in such a short amount of period. I volunteered at a clinic in which I was able to shadow dentists and provide assistance when it was needed. As a pre-dental student, I was not able to provide as much help as I wanted. Nevertheless, the little things I did, whether it be calling the patients into the office or replacing suction tubes, made me realize that curing is not the only thing that matters: caring is just as important in the field of health care. Looking at the dentists interact with the patients with such impassioned hearts proved the enormous power of empathy and compassion in a clinical setting--a vigor that showed that dentistry can mean more than conducting procedures and dispensing medication.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

They melt my heart!

If there is one thing that I have taken away from this experience, it is to be thankful for what I have and the life I live. I worked at an after school program for underprivileged children. It was a reality check. So many of those children are put to work to help provide for their family or are put in charge of their younger siblings when they themselves are too young to be unsupervised. Despite not having a "typical" childhood and having so little, they were some of the happiest children I have ever seen. They melt my heart, and I miss them already!! Oh, and Machu Picchu was pretty cool too!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

A memory I carry with me for the rest of my life

Anyone will tell you that volunteering will completely change your perspective on life, but once you get out of you comfort zone to do it for yourself you will understand what they are talking about. United Planet has provided the perfect opportunity for me to grow as a person through volunteering. My Quest with the children in Peru is going to be a memory I carry with me for the rest of my life. One of my favorite memories of my Quest is that every day three children would run down the hill to simply give us the world's biggest hug. This is the greatest feeling in the entire world. The children of Peru have so much love to offer to volunteers. Take the leap of faith. Volunteer. It is not a decision that you will every regret.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I felt very safe and this was extremely excellent

I was glad I was able to interact with the kids and immerse myself in the beautiful culture of Peru. I was also more than glad to be able to work with some amazing people on the trip.I really enjoyed being able to interact with kids and use knowledge I had already learned in school and apply them while out on the field. Despite this, I found it really hard to communicate with the children sometimes because they spoke Spanish so quickly, and for someone who was not as fluent, it was really difficult for me to comprehend what they were trying to say sometimes.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I enjoyed this quest because it pushed me

I enjoyed this quest because it pushed me. It pushed me to practice my Spanish, it pushed me to become more independent, and it pushed me to become the person I am now. I know that I'm a person who needs to be pushed in order to face up to a challenge, and I'm glad that my Quest pushed me. Because of this push, I know that I am capable of anything I set my mind to.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

I only wish I would've stayed longer

The other girls staying at my host family will be friends that will last a lifetime, my host family was amazing and I made several other amazing friends. Not only did I work with some of the most amazing kids in the world, I also made such great relationships with the other volunteers that I met there.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

My quest opened my eyes

My quest opened my eyes about what happens around the world. I established amazing relationships with people who I will remain in contact with for a long time. This trip was absolutely life changing. The tastes, smells and cultural experiences were somethings I will never forget. I am forever grateful to be able to experience such an amazing adventure so young.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

There was not one thing that I disliked about the trip.

Everything was very organized. When we arrived we got a schedule of the events that were taking place and we did everything that was on the schedule. Everyone was very nice!

There was not one thing that I disliked about the trip. Peru taught me a ton of Spanish that I can now use in my practice. The culture, the language and the people just made it such an incredible experience that I cannot put into words.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

I really enjoyed working in the clinics and being able to go to a community to help people

I enjoyed working in the community the most. I was able to be more "hands-on" working with patients. I would have preferred working in the community for the week over the clinic because that was more observational. The most challenging part about this trip was the language barrier. I barely can speak Spanish and the people in Peru spoke so fast that I couldn't really understand much. But, I also had a translator/spanish teacher, Frank, who was great and really helped me out throughout the entire trip. Also he was the best Spanish teacher I have had.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

One of the most enjoyable things about my Quest was meeting the other volunteers

One of the most enjoyable things about my Quest was meeting the other volunteers. We were all from different places and it was nice to have a common connection. I made friends that I will keep in touch with when I return home.

My host mom, Doris, was very kind and always made sure that I was safe and took great care of me! The volunteer coordinator, Winnie Dekker, was always available and helpful. Winnie is very approachable and willing to listen to questions and concerns.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

Everyone was very welcoming at my volunteer site.

This quest and trip in general was one of the best experiences of my life. I learned about healthcare and life in the city of Cuzco. Everyone was welcoming at the Spanish school and my volunteer site. I met many people from all over the world. I got to experience the majestic Machu Picchu. This quest has confirmed my initial desire to continue partaking in international volunteering.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

WOW! Truly an unforgettable experience. Volunteering in Peru far exceeded my expectations...

I took Spanish classes every morning and my teacher was so nice and understanding! In the afternoons, I would volunteer at the orphanage. I was only there for a week and did not think I would make an impact on the children but bonding with them was the best part. I was able to travel to Machu Picchu which was absolutely amazing!! The Machu Picchu tour was very informative and we also had free time to explore. The only challenging part of my trip was the language. I should have brushed up on my Spanish more before traveling to Peru.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    6

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    8

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

A Learning Experience

I enjoyed my time very much in Peru. I learned so many new things while at the clinic I was working at. I was able to see how different health care was in another country compared to the United States.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Community Impact

    5

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    8

Great experience in Peru!

I definitely enjoyed the trip to Machu Picchu, but I had mainly been looking forward to the volunteer work in the clinics. I enjoyed going to the mountain village to distribute toothbrushes and toothpaste to the school children and give a hygiene presentation. The pharmacy and hospital staff were very kind and I also really enjoyed the work there. The most challenging part may have been adjusting to the hostel accomadations, but I've been backpacking so infrequent showers, etc. doesn't stop me from having a great time. My highlight would have to be getting rushed down to the ER to help translate Spanish for some Australian couples who had just been in a car accident on their way to the Inca Trail. I was asked if I was an angel. Overall, this Quest has rejuvenated my enthusiasm for my future career in pharmacy and opened my eyes to the culture of Peru.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

I thank United Planet for being such a safe reliable option!

It was challenging traveling alone, across the world. I was definitely nervous because I didn't know anyone, but it was a great way to find out my limits. I was in complete awe of all the beautiful sites, especially Machu Picchu. I had never experienced like that. Peru has such a rich culture and I felt like I was in a whole other world. Much different than California. I want to go back one day. After going on the trip, I have a new appreciation for people that choose to travel the world alone and explore. I am can't wait for my next adventure and I thank United Planet for being such a safe reliable option!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    6

I am so fortunate to have such amazing things to miss

I arrived in Cusco, Peru on July 27th. I took Spanish lessons at the local Spanish school and volunteered my days at the orphanage. I learned so much during the month of August and grew and changed as a person.

For my first week I had 8 hours of Spanish lessons and for the remaining three weeks I had 4 hours of lessons a week. On a typical day, I woke up around 7:30 and had breakfast at 8:00. For breakfast was usually an egg, fried or omelet style with rice. Sometimes I ate the egg on bread. Or on special occasions we had a sort of a different version of a pancake, which I ate with jelly. And then always tea, tea is served with every meal. Then after breakfast which I ate with anyone who was home, I walked to the school on the mornings I had class. The Spanish School was about a 20 minute walk from my home. I had one on one class with my teachers, who were different every week. After class I walked home and around 1:30 it was lunch time. In Peru lunch is the largest meal, usually kids come home from school and parents from work. It is a time to be with your family, and enjoy a nice meal. It really was quality time that I grew to love. The members of my host family were all such amazing people; they opened their home to me and welcomed me as soon as I arrived. I am very grateful to have been given such nice people to stay with for my time in Cusco. They made me feel at home, and I miss them very much. Since lunch was the biggest meal it was usually two dishes. The first plate was a bowl of soup usually containing potatoes, as it is was a main cooking ingredient for my family. Then the second plate was usually some sort of cooked vegetable, for example onions, with rice, potato of some kind, and a small portion of meat. Or sometimes instead we had one large plate of either pasta with vegetables and meat or chicken and rice and potatoes served in different ways. And then following the meal for lunch we drank tea or sometimes John would blend fruits and vegetables into juice. After lunch I would walk to the orphanage which was about a 15 minute walk. My last two weeks I would walk to the orphanage with my friend, who lived near me and also worked at the orphanage. At the orphanage I worked at, there are 60 kids, and there are 6 houses with about 10 kids in each house. The kids ended up in the orphanage because either their parents gave them up due to their inability to provide for them, or they were taken away from their parents because the parents were deemed unfit to take care of them by the state. In each house there are kids of all ages and a “substitute mother” to stimulate a real family. Every afternoon when I would first arrive the kids would be finishing up their lunch and about to start their homework. I would help them all I could with their homework or I spent time playing with the younger ones until they were all finished. Afterward we would watch films if it was raining but since it hardly ever rained during August we would spend our time playing on the playground or doing arts and crafts. Since the orphanage is funded by the state the kids are fortunate enough to have a playground and other nice things that other orphanages might not necessarily have. We also took a field trip up to a famous ruin site where you could see the entire city and we flew kites. My afternoons spent with the kids was the best part of my trip. All the kids are so great, and being orphans all they want is someone to love them. As I got to know them all it made me frustrated that their parents and families just abandoned them. There is an 8 month old baby who was found abandoned on the street alone at night. Someone found her and brought her to the orphanage. When I heard this it made me realize how much of a reality homelessness is for the kids, if it wasn’t for this orphanage. All the kids are so bright and have so many talents. One girl in my house, she is 15. Every day she would come to me and tell me new English words she learned and practice saying sentences. She also would serve a volleyball every day against the playground wall by herself. I can only imagine if she could play on a team, how happy it would make her. That’s what I mean when I say all the kids are so great, they have such kind hearts filled with innocence and a love for learning, whatever it may be. And I know that many Jenkins Fellows work in orphanages but I feel it’s important for me to say that working in orphanages is such an amazing thing for everyone involved. For those of you who think “this is just another orphanage project” everyone’s experience is different and until you work in one you can’t understand truly how rewarding and life changing it is. The kids taught me so much about what family really is. In the houses they all love each other, the mothers treat the kids like they are their own, the kids are like real siblings, and they fight just like a real family too. I feel so grateful that I was able to spend four weeks with the kids, laughing and playing, and honestly just being there for them. That’s what volunteers go to do, to give whatever they can. All the kids want is someone to love them and being that for them is something I’ll never forget.
After I left the orphanage I would walk home and around 7 or 8 we would have dinner. Dinners in Peru are generally small and in my host family we would eat either a small bowl of the soup that we had for lunch or a small plate of the rice and sometimes, it was simply hot chocolate or tea with bread. The small dinners were something that I just had to adjust to. On some nights through United Planet I had “cultural activities” that took place at the school with other volunteers. These included, pan flute lessons, salsa lessons, and cooking lessons. On the weekends we had trips that included Machu Picchu and I had a Sacred Valley Tour and a City Tour. During these we visited various famous ruins and various historical and famous sites around Cusco. Machu Picchu was my favorite activity. I and four other girls from UP spent all day my second Saturday traveling to the town of Aguas Callientes where Machu Picchu is located, and spent the night in a hostel. Then Sunday morning we took a bus early in the morning up to the town of Machu Picchu where the ruins are located and the mountain that you hike as well. It really is a spectacular place; I can see why it’s one of the wonders of the world. It was so beautiful, we got to see the sunrise over the mountains, there were llamas everywhere, it really was great. I actually got knocked over by a llama, I was standing around our tour guide as we waited for the rest of the people on our tour and out of nowhere this giant llama came charging at me and knocked me over. I would have face planted if my friend Presely wasn’t there to catch my fall. I also got to meet and spend time with the other volunteers, which was so great because everyone I met was so sweet and had such a passion for the service they were doing at their projects. I’ve realized that everyone that I met in my four weeks were such amazing people because we all went to Peru for the same reason, to do service and learn and speak the language. It was really nice to meet so many people who had the similar passions and interests because I have never met so many people like me in that sense. That was one of the hardest parts of going home, saying bye to the people I met because we had gotten so close. I made friends from the States, England, Poland, Germany, Spain, Canada, Italy, France, Holland, Costa Rica, and various parts of Peru. They taught me a lot and we grew as people together.
As I mentioned earlier one day we took a field trip to the Sacaywoman ruins, a popular place in Cusco for tourists and locals to visit and spend time. With all the kids from the orphanage and all the mothers, and volunteers we took the bus up to the top of the city. We went to the Cristo Blanco statue first and afterwards we went to the open grassy area to fly kites and play soccer. It was windy and cloudy and we expected it to start raining. Once we got all the kids kites’ up and flying, it started to drizzle. But it was fine for a while the rain didn’t seem to bother the kids. But then it started to pour and then hail. Which is extremely unusual for the month of August. We told the kids to wrap up their kites and we headed to an area with large trees for shelter. It was really coming down at that point and we knew we should try to catch the next bus. We saw a bus approaching and so in our we ran across the open fields of grass to try and catch the bus. And we have the kites, bags of food, and many kids who are from babies and toddlers. The bus already had people on it and so we crammed up everyone who could fit, got on the strollers and all the babies and headed back towards the orphanage. We were all soaked from head to toe from the rain. I was in the middle of the bus with a baby on my right hip and a large bottle of Inca Cola, the typical soda of Peru in my left hand. As I swayed and struggled to keep my balance and keep the child upright and from crying I realized the thing that had the most impact on me from my whole trip. Not once did any one of the kids complain about the rain, or the cold, or the fact that they had to stop flying their kites. They remained cheerful and laughing throughout the entire time and that is because they are grateful for everything. They though it was so funny that we all looked like we had gone swimming. They were appreciative for being able leaving the orphanage that day, getting to ride the bus, and then getting to fly kites with the other children and the volunteers. They take nothing for granted and on that day I saw firsthand what being orphans has made these children into. They are truly incredible little people who deserve the best. But the sad reality is that they won’t get the best in life. They will have to struggle and work for all that they have. It’s hard to explain and express how I felt on that day but the best word I can come up with is humbled. I was humbled by a group of 60 kids who accepted me and loved me, even the stranger that I was. Who didn’t complain about the rain, and managed to never lose the smiles on their faces. I will never forget that day, and all that it means to me.
During my time in Peru I learned learned how to live with a roommate, my roommate was very different from myself but we were good for each other. We got extremely close and I miss her, a lot. I also learned a lot of Spanish, I can now speak more than before and I am grateful because my ability to communicate with the locals made me able to form relationships with them. But more than that I learned a lot about myself, that I didn’t expect. Who I am and what I’m made of. There were challenges during my trip I had to overcome, although I didn’t speak of them. I also learned of my love for traveling. I already knew I had a passion for service but traveling and making a temporary home in a new place is something that I extremely enjoy and I look forward to my next trip, wherever and whenever it may be. But more than learning Spanish and new things about myself I learned about the world. I have a greater understanding of our world as a whole and how big it really is. And in every place how much beauty there is. How the people have such kind hearts, and how much we can all do to help each other out. We have one planet and one life; my trip showed me how much volunteering can do to change our world, and our lives. Before I left for Peru my brother asked me why I wanted to go so badly. I told him that I wanted to put some love back into the world and I know now that I did exactly that. Through my experiences I matured as a person, and learned invaluable lessons. I am not the person I was before I left and I never will be, but I am grateful because I am a better person now. I am so thankful for all that I have in my life. I saw much poverty while I was in Peru but more than materialistic things I am grateful to have a loving family that supports me in all that I do. I have learned, through experiences that for every person in need there truly is one not far who can help.
After coming back from Peru I am a different person with different goals and values. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity of a life time. I miss Cusco, the kids, and all the people I met but I am so fortunate to have such amazing things to miss, and to have the memories with me for the rest of my life. I had the most incredible experience; I am so proud to have been a UP volunteer, and now a UP alum.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    5

My quest to Peru is an experience I will never forget

My quest to Peru is an experience I will never forget. It opened my eyes to see things farther than my own community, and brought a new perspective on life, that otherwise I would not have gained. I see my home, my community, my education through a new, sharper set of eyes. I examine situations with a new mindset. A mindset to value everyone equally, to see the other side of the story, to help the needy and less fortunate, because they too have dreams, hope, aspirations.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    9

Working with the children was very fun

Working with the children was very fun. They were always happy to see the "teachers." Despite obviously being poorer than kids at home, most of the children could read and write very well and were interested in learning new things. I didn't understand all the language, but they were not much different from the children in my home town.

Most challenging may have been coordinating with the other volunteers. There were a lot of different people with different objectives, or ideas about what the program should be, and usually the "loudest voice" would win any argument.

I may have learned more about my own country than I did about Peru on this trip. Some things I have always take for granted were made clear, like emissions testing and regulations for motor vehicles. Some things made me realize problems that I didn't see before, like the higher amount of violent crime in our cities.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    N/A

This trip was life-changing and definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.

I had a wonderful experience in Peru. I truly felt like I made a difference in the lives of many children, especially those that had never before received medical attention. The people were very friendly and they seemed grateful for the work that we were able to accomplish while we were there. I learned a lot culturally and I am very glad that I chose to go on this trip. Honestly, I would go back again in a heartbeat if I could and I will forever remember this trip.

I think that what we were doing was excellent especially because some of the people we visited had never received medical care before in their lives. Remembering things like that really put it into perspective for me and allowed me to realize how much we were actually helping the people.



Living Situation:
excellent

Community Impact:
We had a Spanish cooking lesson which was a lot of fun and very tasty. We learned how to make a very basic meal but it was delicious and I hope to make it again now that I am home.

Program Administration:
Kait did a wonderful job and made sure that none of us had an questions. She seemed very educated about the project and the program and I am very glad that she helped us out.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Impact

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    N/A

Loved my trip!

Loved Peru and going to Machu Picchu! Loved living in a small area in the city just like most other Peruvians do. It was close enough to the shops but still far enough away to avoid lots of foot traffic. Also I liked volunteering in four different orphanages!

Volunteer Experience:
excellent: loved the Spanish teachers!

Living Situation:
good: Manfred and his family were hospitable

Community Impact:
good: we had a fun cooking class

Program Administration:
Manfred was hospitable and the pre-departure training was excellent

Health and Safety:
We were very safe

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

Overall experience was very rewarding and eye opening

A highlight of my trip was getting to visiting Machu Picchu.

I went with a student group on this program and we had good accommodations.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

Happy to be given the opportunity to volunteer at numerous organizations

It was very satisfying to provide children with medical and dental care. I was touched by the smiles on each of the children's faces.

I went with a group of fellow UNE students and had good accommodations.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    N/A

What an experience!

Seeing the need for organizations like this in Peru has inspired me to attempt to go back.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    N/A

Overall experience was very rewarding and eye opening

What I enjoyed the most about my trip was getting all of the hands on medical experience with kids that previously had very little health care. I enjoyed seeing their faces that were filled with joy and enxcitement and the feeling that what my fellow volunteers and I did made a difference. What I found most difficult about this trip was adjusting to the altitude and the food, both of these are very different from what I'm use to and it was a difficult transition. The impact this trip has had on my life is irrevocable, being able to do some real good in this world is a rare occurance and to be apart of it was amazing. Being able to help men, women and child that truly need it and leaving them with supplies to continue taking care of themselves is something I will always remember.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    N/A

  • Living Situation

    N/A

  • Community Impact

    N/A

  • Program Administration

    N/A

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    N/A

I was happy to be given the opportunity to volunteer at numerous organizations and not just one.

I had an amazing time in Peru. I was able to practice and learn Spanish. I provided care to children in dire need. I experienced an entirely new culture and was accepted as a member of the community by the locals. I would do it again any day.