Volunteer Cusco Peru Review Anna Pre Medical Program

My favorite memory from my time volunteering at the Clinica was seeing the childrens’ faces light up when they saw my friends and I.

1. Whats was a daily schedule at the program, hours volunteered?

The daily schedule throughout my duration at this program was I volunteered on the weekdays. During the weekdays, Monday through Thursday, I went to the hospital in the morning from 8:30 until 12:30. Then I returned back to the house to have lunch. After I finished lunch I returned back to the clinic at approximately 3:00 and stayed until 5:30.

2. What was the most surprising thing you experienced?

  • Host Family: The most surprising thing I experienced was the number of other volunteers in the house. I did not expect to have 7 other ABV volunteers of my age in the house while I was there. While there were several other volunteers everything went quite smoothly and all the other volunteers were nice and friendly; however, this was just a surprising element to me.
  • Program: At the Clinic the most surprising factor was there were very few nurses. Although there were very few nurses this did not effect the effort they displayed towards the kids and the care they provided for them, this was just a surprising factor to me. 
  • Country: The most surprising thing I experienced with the country was the number of stray dogs everywhere. Seeing the stray dogs was upsetting as I love dogs and do not wish to see them suffer. however this was only alarming because in the United States there are no stray dogs; however, this is very common in other countries.

3. What was the most challenging thing you experienced?

  • Host Family: For me the most challenging thing I experienced was trying the new and different foods. During my time here I was able to try an abundance of Peruvian style meals which is truly something out of my comfort zone, but I can now say I did it and enjoyed them.
  • Program: The most challenging thing at la clinic   was seeing how the children there live without their families. Seeing this was a major adjustment as the few children who could speak constantly called the various nurses “Mama”. Likewise, since many of the children could not speak it was rather difficult to understand what it was that they exactly wanted. For example, if one kid was pointing at a toy and you grabbed the one you thought it was most of the time it was not it. Although there were some challenges at the clinic my time volunteering there was very enjoyable and the children were the best.
  • Country: The most challenging thing I experienced in the country was the language barrier. While I know a good amount of Spanish, I am certainly not fluent which made my daily encounters with locals challenging since it was difficult to communicate. However, the longer I was in Peru for the better, I feel, my Spanish became and the easier it was to communicate with other Spanish speakers.

4. Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, money, internet)

- To future volunteers I recommenced that you bring a fanny pack to store all important items and ensure they do not get misplaced and or stolen. My fanny pack was with me at all times and I felt safe knowing my money, credit cards, phone, etc. were safe and secure.

5. Other things volunteers should know before coming here:

  • Host Family: You are a guest of someone else’s home, it is very important that you respect their rules along with them as a person. Doing so will ensure that you have an enjoyable time and that you do not become a burden for your host family.
  • Program: If you are volunteering at Clinic it is important to be patient with the children and provide them with all of your energy. Most of these children do not speak making it difficult to understand what it is that they want. As a result, it is necessary to have patients and to remember they are not purposely trying to be difficult, they cannot help it. Along with having patience, it is also important to be enthusiastic with the children in order to make the time that you are with them memorable and enjoyable.
  • Country: Peru is not likely to be like your home country, so it is very important that you are flexible and maintain a “go with the flow” attitude. Possessing these attributes will allow for an enjoyable time in such a beautiful country filled with so many nice people.

6. Personal Paragraph about the experience:

- My experience in Peru through the program ABV was truly exceptional. My stay in Peru was enjoyable and certainly an experience I will always treasure. Being able to volunteer at the local clinic during the weekdays and explore on the weekends was a perfect opportunity to both go on excursions and see various aspects of the country along with volunteer in a field in which I possess an interest. Ultimately, The ABV program made my time in Peru efficient and easy as I was able to take advantage of my short time in Peru with both volunteering and exploring.

7. How would you describe your accommodation: meals, security, friendliness, quality others:

  • Meals: Very good! The meals were both Peruvian style and more American which allowed for a wide variety of people to enjoy each meal that was served.
  • Security: During my stay I felt very secure. The house was always locked and my host mom was alway checking in to make sure I was okay. I was able to communicate with her quite often through whatsapp which also made me feel safe. During my time I felt very secure and safe.
  • friendliness: My host mom, Maria Elena, was very friendly from the first moment I met her. She welcomed my friends and I into her home and made us feel at home with any implications. She constantly checked up on us to make sure we were doing okay and always asked how our day was whether we were exploring or volunteering.
  • Quality: The house was very clean and the  food was fresh and very well prepared. Overall the quality was very high end.

8. How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country: Airport, orientation, introduction to the program, schedule of the program, friendliness, solving problems?

My host mom, Maria Elena, was truly the best and I could not have asked for a better ABV coordinator in Peru. She was exceptionally friendly and made me feel welcomed into her home from the moment I arrived. Maria Elena constantly checked in on me throughout my stay and made me feel like I was truly her daughter! Upon arrival she was waiting for my friends and I at the airport and from that moment I knew I was going to enjoy my time in Peru with her. She took my friends and I to book all of our tours and made sure we had all of our accommodations in order. Our introduction to the local clinic was smooth and friendly due to Maria Elena introduction of us. The schedule of the program was very efficient and consistent. Breakfast was always ready for us before work and lunch was always ready upon our return. Likewise, Maria Elena always made sure that we knew what to tell the taxi and how to return to her house. My friends and I did not have any problems; however, I saw Maria Elena be very helpful with other volunteers who encountered some difficulties. I truly enjoyed my time in Peru largely because of the excellent ABV coordinator / host mom, Maria Elena!

9. Whats was a daily schedule at the program, hours volunteered, activities you did?

Monday through Thursday, 8:30-12:30 3:00-5:30, I volunteered at the local clinic where I was able to work with children who suffered from neurological conditions. During my time volunteering at the hospital I was truly able to see how fortunate I am as a person along with meeting some of the sweetest and kind-hearted individuals. At the hospital I spent a majority of the time playing with the children. I would wheel them around the vicinity both inside and outside allowing them to experience a change from solely sitting inside all day. Likewise, I played with the children on the playground where they were able to have fun and enjoy themselves. Aside from playing with the children a major role I played at the clinic was feeding the children who could not feed themselves. Being able to feed the children was a rewarding experience where I was able to help out these pure, kind, and whole-hearted individuals.

10. What was your favorite memory of this trip?:

  • Accommodation: My favorite accommodation was the trip to Machu Picchu. Being able to see the Inka civilization from thousands of years of ago was very interesting to learn about. Likewise, understanding how the people discovered the area and created such a historical landmark by hand was truly impressive. Furthermore, being able to stay over night in another town and further explore Peru was a great experience. As a result, my trip to Machu Picchu was my favorite accommodation.
  • Program: My favorite memory from my time volunteering at the Clinica was seeing the childrens’ faces light up when they saw my friends and I. Watching these children become elated at merely seeing my friends and I enter the clinic was such a rewarding moment to truly know that my time with them was having a positive impact.
  • Country: My favorite memory of the country was being able to explore the Peruvian culture. This culture is very different from my own so it was interesting to see the different customs of the people in Peru. Seeing women dressed in skirts and stockings to make clothing was different as this is not something people would wear in the United States. Likewise, the different foods offered in Peru were enjoyable to try.

11. How was the ABV USA support prior traveling? Emails, chat online, calls, volunteer guide:

The ABV USA support was exceptionally helpful in the process of setting up this trip. The organization was thorough and efficient in ensuring I had all my paperwork submitted properly and I especially liked how they would not allow you to do the next step without completing the step prior. ABV organizers were always online to answer questions rather quickly and ensure I would have a smooth travel. Ultimately the ABV USA support was exceptional prior to my travels.

12. What do you think about the reservation system online?

The reservation system online was organized and easy to follow. The website was efficient and allowed the process of filling out your information to go smoothly and painlessly.

13. Who did you find Abroaderview website?

I found the Abroaderview website through friends who did this program last year, since they enjoyed their time so greatly I thought it would be an experience to try out.

14. Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?

Yes, I would recommend this program to volunteers looking to experience life in another country while doing something to benefit the people in this country!! This program was a great experience and I would most definitely recommend it!!

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