Gap year Peru
Peru, with its emerald-green mountain passes, bright Indio markets, and centuries-old cities is understandably one of the most popular tourist spots in Latin America. The fantastic city of Cusco, nestled in the Andes Mountains, will be the starting point of your Peruvian adventure, lasting 3, 5, or 8 weeks.
Can I participate if I’m not from the UK?
Yes. Participants from the United Kingdom and the United States are welcome, as well as citizens from other countries. If you are from another country, we will have to check your country’s visa requirements to see if you can participate in the gap year in Peru programme.
Do I need to take a test to prove my Spanish skill level?
When you arrive in Peru, you will take a test, which will place you in the Spanish class corresponding to your Spanish skill level. You do not need to have any knowledge of Spanish in order to participate in a gap year in Peru. Complete beginners can simply enrol in the beginners’ course.
If you are a complete beginner, it is required that you take the full four weeks of Spanish classes. However, if you already have good knowledge of Spanish, you may shorten the length of time that you take the Spanish course. You may also extend your Spanish course beyond the first four weeks.
Do I need special references or experience to participate?
No. You do not need to have any specific teaching, educational, or work experience in order to participate in the gap year in Peru. However, any special skills which you could use as you volunteer would be both helpful and welcomed. A few programmes require special training or education. Motivation, flexibility, and personal initiative are the most important qualities you can bring to your gap year in Peru.
Is there an age limit?
No, there is no upper age limit, although you must be at least 18 years old in order to participate. Most participants are between 18 and 30 years of age. If you are older than this, you are still welcome to participate in the gap year in Peru programme, but you should know that it is rather unlikely that you will meet people your own age on location.
Can I participate with a friend?
Yes. When you apply, you can list a travel partner, and we are generally able to place travel partners together at the same project. However, we cannot guarantee 100% that you will be placed in the same project.
Can I combine my volunteer work in Peru with a volunteer programme in another country?
Yes. It is often possible to combine programmes. Feel free to contact TravelWorks for more information.
Can I choose the city/region where I would like to volunteer?
Before you leave for your gap year in Peru, you will receive a list of the places where you could possibly volunteer. You will be able to pick out your top three choices, and we will try to place you with one of your top choices.
What projects can I volunteer for?
In Peru, you will have the chance to engage in social development , health, cultural, and educational volunteer work. For example, you could work in an orphanage, hospital, or children’s day-care centre. Your possible assignments could include teaching English or organising free-time activities for children, among other tasks.
Before you depart for your gap year in Peru, you will receive a list of volunteer projects, and you will have the chance to list your top three preferences. Our partner organisation in Peru is usually able to place volunteers with one of their top project choices. However, if there are many volunteers participating at the same time as yourself, you should be flexible enough to work on other similar projects, which may not have been among your top choices.
Please be aware that your volunteer project will not be meticulously planned out for you. You will have a general volunteering assignment, and will have to use your own creativity and initiative in order to successfully complete your project. You will need to be very flexible, independent, and adaptable during your gap year in Peru.
When will I find out which project I will be working on?
We will let you know three weeks before your departure which project you will be working on.
What is the health/safety situation in Peru? Do I need vaccinations?
Peru is a relatively safe country for tourists. However, there are certain safety precautions which you should follow during your gap year in Peru. For example, travel only during the day, carry your luggage in your lap on the bus, and do not wear expensive jewellery. Our partner organisation in Peru can give you helpful information about which travel routes you should take and which areas of the country you should avoid for safety reasons. Current information about travelling safely in Peru and other countries is available at www.fco.gov.uk and travel.state.gov.
Before your gap year in Peru, you may need to get vaccinations. Exactly which vaccinations you will need will depend on your specific travel destinations in the country. Therefore, you should definitely go to a doctor for advice about necessary vaccinations and health precautions. You should do this as early as you can, to make sure you get the proper vaccinations in time. You can find useful information regarding vaccinations at www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk
Do I need to apply for a visa?
No, citizens of the United Kingdom and the United States do not need a visa to enter Peru for stays of 90 days or fewer. However, you will need to make sure that your passport will be valid for at least 6 months after your arrival in Peru. Upon your arrival in Peru, you will also need to show proof that you have a confirmed onward or return flight out of Peru.
It is possible to extend your stay beyond 90 days, once you are already in Peru. Our local partner organisation in Peru can help you with this.
Please note that you must book your return flight before you arrive in Peru – for a maximum stay of 90 days. You can re-book your flight when you arrive at your destination. If you have a flight transfer in the United States, you must follow the terms and conditions for entry into the U.S. You can find further information at www.usembassy.org.uk.
If you are not from the UK or U.S., we will need to check your country’s visa requirements to see if you can participate.
Should I buy travel insurance?
Yes, we strongly recommend that you get travel insurance to protect yourself abroad. WorldNomads offers flexible travel insurance for short-term and gap-year travellers like yourself. Note that this is only a recommendation. Feel free to search for the travel insurance which is right for you.
How much money should I expect to spend on extra costs such as extra travel and food?
You should expect to pay about £ 360 (US$ 600 or 400 €) per month in extra costs, for excursions, souvenirs, nights out, etc. Of course, this will depend on your personal lifestyle, so you may spend more or less than this. You should factor the following expenses into your trip’s budget:
- Flight ticket
- Travel insurance
- Miscellaneous personal expenses
What will my accommodation be like?
During the language course and volunteer work in Cusco, you will live in a double room in student accommodation at the school with half board. You will also have the option to live with a host family in a private room at half board during the language course. For volunteer work in Arequipa, you will stay with a host family in a private room with half board.
Will I have a kitchen?
Yes, you will have a kitchen where you will be able to prepare your own meals if you are living in a dormitory. Host families have kitchens as well, and will provide you with full board.
Will I live and work with other volunteers?
You will probably share a room with other volunteers during your gap year in Peru, but this is not guaranteed. You will also most likely be working with other volunteers. Whatever the case may be, you will definitely meet fellow volunteers during your Spanish language class.
Is there a volunteer “base”?
Your volunteer base will be your Spanish school. Here, you will have access to the internet, information about Peru, and staff members of our partner organisation, who are there to help if you have any questions or problems during your gap year in Peru.
Is there a way for me to contact the other volunteers before I Ieave?
Three weeks before your departure we will send you a list of the other volunteers who will be travelling with you, including their e-mail addresses.
When will I find out about my host family?
You will find out who your host family is shortly after you have arrived in Peru.
How much time will I actually spend learning Spanish and volunteering? Will I have free time?
You will spend about 20 hours per week in your Spanish class, and will have free time at the weekend. The length of time you spend working each day will depend on which project you are doing. In most projects, you will be working 4 to 8 hours a day and will have free time at the weekend.
Do I need to bring any materials for my volunteering project?
You are not required to bring anything along for your gap year project in Peru, but you can if you would like. For example, if you are volunteering at a day-care centre, you could bring along art supplies for the children to use.
May I extend the language course or the volunteer work?
It is possible for citizens of the United Kingdom and the United States to extend their stay in Peru for up to 183 days. You will be charged an additional cost for any extra weeks that you spend taking your language course or volunteering. We especially recommend that you extend your language course if you do not speak any Spanish.
How are the language school and classes organised?
Spanish language courses begin in the morning or afternoon at the school in Cusco, and you will have 20 lessons per week. The language classes are small groups of up to 6 students. After the language course you will be able to communicate well enough in Spanish to work on your volunteer project. If you are volunteering in a social development project during your gap year in Peru, good Spanish skills will be an advantage for you, especially if you are working with children.
At the weekend, you will have free time to go on excursions, which you can book at the language school. Employees at the language school will be there for the duration of your gap year in Peru to help you if you have any problems or questions.
There are also two branch schools, which are affiliated with the language school in Cusco. One branch school is in the jungle, while the other is located in the famous Sacred Valley of the Incas. You must first spend one week of instruction at the language school in Cusco before you decide if you would like to continue your language study in Cusco, or if you would like to switch to one of the branch schools for an additional price.
When can I start the programme?
Classes at the language school begin year-round every Monday, not including holidays. It is smart to book your flight so you will arrive in Lima on a Saturday, because the in-country flight from Lima to Cusco departs Sunday morning. Your overnight stay in Lima, from Saturday night to Sunday morning, is included in the programme price.
Please note that your project choices are somewhat limited from December through April and during the summer months because many establishments are closed at these times. The language school is closed for several days during Christmas time.
Will I earn money during my project work?
No, this is volunteer work! This means that through your work, you are supporting people in need and assisting in projects, which usually have barely enough money to cover their own essential expenses. Please do not expect payment for your volunteer work. Instead, look at this as an amazing opportunity to help people and gain meaningful life experiences.
What are my next steps?
If you decide to participate in the gap year in Peru programme, just fill out the PDF or online Booking Form. Please note that if you are booking online you will need a credit card (we accept Visa or MasterCard). If you choose the PDF booking form, please print, fill out, and sign the form before faxing it to TravelWorks. As soon as we have received your application, we will process your booking. At this point your application will be legally binding. We will contact you if we need any additional information.
You will receive various application materials by e-mail after you have applied for the gap year in Peru programme. These documents need to be completed and returned to TravelWorks.