Peru

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

A broader view volunteer program gave me the opportunity to experience the Peruvian culture from the comfort of a safe, welcoming host family. The clinical sites that I was placed in gave me a great chance to learn more about the culture and observe everyday life unlike most tourists get to experience. Life outside of the clinic proved to be much more fulfilling than I could have imagined. I got involved with a wonderful church and made some great, lasting friendships. We would try new restaurants together and go out exploring the beautiful mountains and trails together.
My host family was awesome, above and beyond just a place to stay. I truly feel like I am now part of the family. We ate every meal together at the table. My host mom would serve the traditional Peruvian lunch with different courses and did a wonderful job of varying the meals so I got to try a little bit of everything. I have a wheat allergy and she did a great job of accommodating that. I got the chance to help her with her bakery work and she let me tag along to the big parties she was catering to experience it all. I watched futbol in the evenings with grandpa and learned cake decorating from grandma. They all did a great job of keeping me informed of what was going on that week as far as special celebrations or events, futbol games, etc, so that I could experience as much as possible. Thee house was always clean and I had my own room and bathroom downstairs so I could spend time with the family when I wanted but could also have my own private space which was great.
Here are some tips for anyone that wants to volunteer in Peru:
a.-They do not flush their toilet paper down the toilets, but throw it away.

b.-Try everything that you can from fresh fruits from the markets (make sure you take them home and wash them first) to cooked street foods, to neighborhood celebrations to live music, salsa classes, museums, futbol games, whatever comes up. It really helps you learn and experience the culture.

c.-Pedestrians do NOT have the right of way on the streets. Make sure to move quickly because the cars will not stop for you.

d.- Do as much as possible with your host family, join them when they go to the market, or church, or help prepare a meal. Ask them about what you see and what is going on when you are there. They are your best source of information and your personal direct tie to the community and the culture.
e.- Take a Cusco and Machu Picchu Tour

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: May 19, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

The most surprising thing would be the culture change. I didn't know what to expect. I haven't traveled anywhere outside the US before so it was very different for me and I had to adjust. It was nice to see what else is out there in the world.
A difficult thing I experienced was seeing the lives some children have to live. I've been pretty sheltered living in Utah. It was sad and sometimes hard to see but it made me so grateful for what I have and made me realize how minimal my trials are.
I would definitely recommend if you're going to a country that speaks a different language to get a basic knowledge of it. The hardest thing for me was the language barrier. It would have been a lot easier to communicate effectively had I learned some Spanish before coming. I would also pack light. I didn't bring much for 3 months and I don't regret it. You don't need a lot to live.
Beatriz (my local coordinator) was so great! She showed me many places around the city and took me out frequently. I know if I ever needed anything I could call her and she would make sure it happened.
My host family was awesome! They treated me like I was part of the family from the beginning. They always made sure I was fed and comfortable. They showed concern and wanted me to be safe and I really like that.
Overall it was been a wonderful experience. I got to witness a different culture, meet some amazing people, and have so nice memories I'll keep with me for the rest of my life. It was eye opening to see a little part of the world away from home.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Apr 19, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

I participated in this program as a part of my gap year and it turned out to be one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life--my greatest regret now is that I didn't stay for more time. For anyone considering a gap year specifically, a big part of the program that was really special to me as a gap year student was the time allotted to explore Lima independently, particularly given my age and that "between high school and college" feeling. Since I was there for a while, this was an aspect that allowed me to experience a city in a way which was not entirely tourist-y and to feel as though I could learn more about Peru in an organic and self-guided manner.

This is not to say that there was not an incredible amount of support and guidance from the staff that worked there. They take special care to ensure that everyone is comfortable and generally happy and are particularly concerned with securing the safety of all those who participate in the program. They have guards at the house at all times and are always on hand to dispense tips for being careful when going around the city. This is not necessarily because Lima is a particularly violent or dangerous place to be in, but rather, as the volunteers are foreigners in a very large city, thoughtful and pragmatic considerations.

Of course, one of the most important aspects of the program was the volunteering. I worked at a government daycare for children from families at the poverty line, and it was an extraordinary experience. I was able to form relationships with the teachers/staff, children, and abuelos there that I still continue to have. CCS ensured that I had access to materials for the classroom and other things I requested--they did an excellent job with placement for me. That having been said, for those seeking a volunteering experience that deals more with physical labor such as house-building or well-digging, this may not be what you expect. That's not to say that corralling twenty to thirty children under the hot sun is not exhausting, but my volunteer experience was one which demanded a slightly different skill set yet nonetheless was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life, and I think for that reason ought to be given the same consideration for anybody looking to volunteer abroad.

Consequently, I highly recommend a stint with CCS Peru because of the excellent balance it strikes between structure and freedom, the care and attentiveness of the staff, the attention paid to the safety of its volunteers, and the unbelievably rewarding volunteer work available. I can't wait to go back!

Program:
Location: Peru
Posted: Apr 11, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Cross-Cultural Solutions

Since I had no international volunteer experience and knew I was going to be traveling alone, I wanted to be sure I chose a very reputable organization with which to partner. Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS) exceeded my expectations. Immediately after registering, I received my initial packet of information, followed soon after by a welcoming phone call. Regular communication continued by either email, phone, or through the CCS website until my departure. Although I don't think you ever entirely know what to expect, there were no surprises.
From the moment I was met at the airport, I felt safe with the CCS staff. Transportation was reliable, the house staff was excellent providing security, and meals were home cooked fresh daily. Although tentative schedules were prepared for the week, the staff proved very flexible with special requests by many of the volunteers.
My experience at the designated volunteer site was amazing. We were warmly welcomed and made to feel a part of the site "family." I was fortunate to work with seniors as requested, and after a very quick week, actually felt sad to be leaving. The thank-you received by the volunteers was personal and sincere.
A day of volunteering with CCS is not just about "working." The volunteer experience is completed in the morning, and following lunch, there is an opportunity for a cultural experience in the afternoon and/or evening. Staff, along with other volunteers, also had suggestions for free time activities.
My experience was positive in every way. My only regret is that my Spanish was not good enough to converse with everyone involved, and saying a mere Gracias when leaving just didn't seem sufficient. Somehow I feel that I got more out of my one week abroad than I was able to give. I hope that wasn't the case.
If someone is at all hesitant about an international volunteer experience, I highly recommend registering with Cross Cultural Solutions, placing your trust in their organization, prepare as necessary, and then just relax and allow the experience to unfold.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Mar 22, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Crossroad

I worked with Angelika Schmidt. She helped make the transition to Peru so enjoyable and easy. She constantly looked after our group and made sure we had activities planned weekly as a group. She is a selfless and cheerful organizer. The Medical clinic I worked at was great with great up close and hands on activities. Peru is an amazing location. I highly recommend this program.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Mar 17, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Volunteer Network (GVN)

The Global Volunteer Network has given me no reason to post any positive feedback regarding their program on this forum.

I would like to state that I was a great volunteer, I worked very hard at making sure my experience was documented and lived to its fullest. It was, but it was all due to the partnering agency, Maximo Nivel and due to my own attitude. I was not going to allow the GVN to make my experience a bad one. Unfortunately for them, this review is going to detail what they did to me, and how they have done nothing to resolve it, how they have not provided me with requested documentation, and showed nearly no appreciation for their volunteers.

I want to be very clear - my volunteer mission was the most rewarding and eye-opening experience I have ever had. I would not take it back for any amount of money. However, I would have used a less expensive and more volunteer friendly organization. Like a previous reviewer said "You know those glowing reviews on the GVN site? Will you see a review from me? No. The organization doesn't want to hear 'bad news'. Give a bad review and you are obviously a disgruntled volunteer."

That is precisely how I feel I was treated. My blogs were not rainbows and butterflies while handing cookies to orphans. I saw criminal child neglect, drug abuse, and abhorred sanitary conditions. So? They censored my blogs. I was a patient volunteer until my questions or concerns went unanswered or avoided. So? I am now a disgruntled volunteer. I want them to know that I'm not disgruntled. My experience was priceless. The GVN had nothing to do with me except collecting my money, and making themselves look good.

My blogs were edited (which they deny, but they cannot get their stories together) for 'foul language.' Well, that's fine. It is a blog and all, so I agreed that if there was language they deemed 'unfit' they could edit it. They deleted one whole entire day of my blog. Whether it was accidental or intentional, THEY DID IT. My blogs were real, emotional, and factual. Many of my friends were following it. I took it down after they called me "culturally superior" and "offensive." Obviously, they don't want anyone investing any time or heart into their experience.

Am I wrong here, or am I volunteering? Did you just insult your volunteer who was not being either of those things, but just writing what they honestly saw? They did. Apparently, the staff was 'followed up with' and that is all I have heard.

I asked for an official monetary breakdown of what my funds went to. I was given this (yes, copied and pasted from the CEO's official e-mail):

**Mark Amero - online fundraiser (Peru)

Total Raised $2,704 (Gross) = 2,599.53 Net
USD
2,599.53

Peru Program Fee
-2,097

AHI Insurance (35 days)
-272

Flights (Star Peru)
-194.22

Remaining funds - donation to GVN Charitable Trust
36.31 (tagged to 'greatest need')

You will find a breakdown of your Program Fee in your Peru Program Guide: http://guides.globalvolunteernetwork.org/vloe7dug5/program/program-fee

Program Fee Breakdown

This graph represents a program fee breakdown for 1 month in the Peru volunteer program.**

This is not a proper breakdown of financials.

Maximo Nivel, my contracted volunteer placement provided me with a financial breakdown, and it doesn't add up. There is quite a bit of money that doesn't fit into the pie chart.

I want an official response from the GVN on company letterhead stating what fees I fund-raised, what they paid their contracted agency Maximo Nivel, and where the rest of my funds were placed.

I know that there will be a quick response from the GVN because that is their typical behavior when anything negative reaches these forums.

It's too bad that I had to take this approach to get answers from them.

My advice, go through IVHQ. They are less expensive, more volunteer friendly, and transparent.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Mar 11, 2014
Overall:
7
Support:
4
Value:
2

Comments

GVN is always open to receiving feedback (both the good and the bad), and we continually seek ways to improve our services to our volunteers, partner organizations, and the communities we work with. Yes, there are times when we’ve got it wrong, when we could have done things better - we are quick to own up to that. In correspondence with GVN, this volunteer has raised some good points on things we could improve on, and as in our messages to him, we intend to do so. We would like to address this posters comments regarding censorship: We removed one swear word from one of the volunteer’s posts (as per our Terms of Use for our journal site). A different post that the volunteer had written was no longer showing on their page – the timing of this led the volunteer to believe that we had intentionally removed it. This belief may have been formed due to the ‘raw and honest’ nature of the posts written by the volunteer. The staff member this volunteer accused of deleting the posting doesn’t actually have administrative authority via the online system to delete posts. While there is a fine balance between freedom of speech and protecting the rights and advocating on behalf of the communities where volunteers are placed, we do not delete posts unless they are well outside of our Terms of Use, and in fact, we’ve never had need to do this.

United Planet

Had an incredibly life changing and eye opening experience with United Planet. I have done some previous travel to different countries, but never for longer than two weeks so a month seemed scary at first. The Boston office staff was extremely helpful and made me feel comfortable and supported throughout the process. The in-country support was also great. I loved cooking with my host family, learning recipes and songs in Spanish and really getting a honest look at life in Peru. I also liked that we had time on weekends to hangout and really explore the area. I felt safe the entire time. I really enjoyed working with the kids and liked that United Planet had long standing relationships in country so the programs were sustainable. Overall very very rewarding and I’ll take this time abroad with me in life forever.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Mar 11, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I volunteered at the Main Hospital in Cusco Peru January 9th to the 27th, 2014. My recommendations are bring Green Scrubs! Specially seafoam/mint green colors. The nurses only wear these colored uniforms so it will be confusing if you’re not in the right color. Also bring red & blue pens because the charting is done a certain way with these colors. At the beginning of every shift, introduce yourself to the other nurses so that they know who you are & that you are ready to help wherever they need you. Ask the charge Nurses “when” you should work, because different shifts are busier & need more help than others. For example, I started out working in the mornings, until I asked when they needed the most help & the nurses told mainly the evenings. Since I was working in the Emergency Department, the number of patients varied from then on, I started to come at 7pm & stayed as long as they needed me each night. There was a significant difference at the time of day & they really did need the extra help then. Some nights it would calm down by 11 or 12 so I would leave then. Other nights there would be so many critical patients & not enough nurses so I would stay & help until the next morning. My best advice is to be willing to absorb & adapt to the different hospital environment. The quicker you learn how they do things there & accept that it’s not as clean & pretty as the hospital you’re used to at home, the quicker you can really jump in there & help.
Essential supplies that you should try your hardest to bring include:
-Stethoscope
-BP Cuffs(s)-There was only 1 for the whole ED
-Pulse Oximeter – Also only one for the whole ED & several patients needed close monitoring so try to bring a small one (US$50) that you can wear around your neck.
-Gloves – As many boxes as possible 3-4
-Hand Sanitizer – enough to last your self the entire time, keep a small one in your pocket at all times.
-Honestly any other supplies.. They need it!!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Jan 31, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

IFRE was such a great program! My 11 weeks in Cusco were the most incredible weeks of my life. The coordinators were extremely helpful and quick to answer questions I had. Angelika also sent emails to check up on me throughout my time there. It was also great because Angelika would set up really cool trips to touristy places in Peru for the volunteers with safe and trusted companies so we did not have to worry about it ourselves. The orphanage was a lot of fun with all the other volunteers there. The kids were great and they really helped my Spanish skills to advance. All the volunteers and coordinators became such good friends and it made the experience so much better. I would DEFINITELY recommend this volunteer program to anyone. It was an amazing experience.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Peru
Posted: Jan 13, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

This program is wonderful, and I have had my eyes opened to something I’ve never even dreamed of before. It helped me further my decision about what I want to do in college, and I met a very special guy during the trip and we are very close now thank you abroaderview!
Bring LOTS of jackets/coats if your going when its summer here, but winter there. But also remember it gets hot during the day even in the winter, so make sure you have short sleeve shirts.

Program:
Location: Peru
Posted: Jan 12, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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