Review Matthew L. Volunteer in Cusco, Peru

Volunteer Name: Matthew Loomis
Project Location:  Cusco, Peru
Volunteered at:  Kindergarten

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1- How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country?  Excellent, my program coordinator Maria Elena met me at the airport, gave me a tour of Cusco, and welcomed me with open arms when I arrived.  I could not have asked for any more!

2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Program:  The program coordinator & my host were much more accommodating than I expected.  They welcomed me with open arms, and made acclimating to Peru as easy as it possibly could be.  I expected it to be much more difficult.
Country:  The Peruvian people are far more "proud" than I expected them to be.  The culture, their history, their food, their education, family, etc.  Everything is a "big deal" in Peru, and seemingly worth celebrating.  It was extremely refreshing.

3- What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Country:  The language barrier, and the altitude.  I have travelled extensively, but have never truly submerged myself into a foreign culture like I did in Peru.  I've always (in the past) stayed within my comfort zone, or withing the heavily touristic areas.

4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
1.  Become familiar with the Spanish language.  While "fluency" may not necessarily be necessary,  Peru does not have a large percentage of people that speak English.
2.  Warm clothes
3.  Be prepared to venture out.  You cannot stay in the "tourist friendly" city center all the time.

5.1-Other things volunteers should know before coming here:
(thats not in the orientation guide)
a.  N/A... the orientation guide was quite sufficient

6- Personal Paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial):
I chose ABV because I felt like the other volunteer organizations' program fees were far too high considering the circumstances.  While money wasn't necessarily a consideration for me, I was not going to give my money to an organization I felt was capitalizing greatly off the generosity of volunteers.  ABV did not disappoint.  I truly enjoyed the experience.

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7- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
Excellent.  No complaints whatsoever.  My host (Delcy) went out of her way to ensure I was comfortable.  She prepared great meals, spent a great deal of her personal time showing me around Cusco.  The experience was fantastic!

8- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
Host Family:  My host took me on a bus tour of Cusco.  We sat on the upper (open air) level of the bus, and we both froze.  I truly enjoyed it, but I'm quite sure my host would have preferred to do something else.  Proof of just how welcomed I felt.
Country:  The kindergarten I was volunteering at surprised me by dressing me up in traditional Peruvian celebratory garb and parading me through the streets of Cusco.  It truly took me out of my comfort zone, but ended up being an extremely positive experience.

9- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
Excellent.  All emails/questions were answered promptly and throughly.

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9.1- What do you think about the reservation system online?
All the coordination was extremely easy.  Rarely did I have to do much of anything.  My ABV contacts (Sarah, Lynn, Anne) handled all the reservations, booking, etc.

9.2- Who did you find Abroaderview website
I did research on several volunteer organizations found online.  ABV just seemed the most legitimate.

10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?  

Language Immersion:

* Price in US dollars
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