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Medical Volunteer Program in Peru - Cusco

Medical Volunteer Program in Peru - Cusco

Interested in being a Medical volunteer in Peru - Cusco? International Volunteer HQ’s Medical project is an exciting opportunity for volunteers to learn about the Peruvian healthcare system and gain hands-on experience in hospitals and clinics for low-income communities, as well as assisted living facilities.These facilities are often underfunded and understaffed so medical volunteers are an important source of assistance for local doctors and nurses and help to improve access to these vital health services for local people.

Highlights:
  • Programs start every Monday
  • Affordable fees from CA$668 for 1 week
  • Includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
  • Assist local doctors and nurses in low-income communities

  • Discover Peru’s incredible natural beauty

  • Experience life in Cusco by staying with a local family

Key information

Improve access to quality healthcare
Set in hospitals, clinics, and assisted living facilities
Homestay accommodation
Eligible volunteers aged 18+
Fully hosted experience from CA$668 for 1 week
Durations from 1 - 24 weeks
Rainbow Mountain and other tours available
Up to 5 hours volunteering a day

This program is ideal for:

Qualified professionals and medical and nursing students at all levels of training, with some experience in a clinical setting. Your duties will depend on your training, experience and Spanish language ability. Qualified professionals are more likely to be able to have a higher level of hands-on involvement.
Who is this program suited to?

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

Clinics, hospitals and assisted living facilities for low-income communities in Cusco tend to be underfunded and understaffed. As a result, medical volunteers have an important role in assisting local nurses and doctors in a range of specialist departments, while also learning about the healthcare system in Cusco.

As a Medical volunteer you can assist in a range of tasks depending on your prior experience, as well as your Spanish language level.

Students enrolled in pre-medical and nursing programs, first and second year medical students, Health Science professionals, and medical professionals such as EMTs, CNAs or Medical Assistants can expect to help in under-resourced special needs care facilities and elderly care facilities. In line with healthcare regulations in Peru based, you will be working alongside medical professionals to complete routine jobs like:

  • General care (e.g. Weighing and measuring patients, taking blood pressure, heart rate and temperature)
  • Distributing medications
  • Feeding
  • Bathing
  • Companionship
  • Conversation-talk therapy
  • Workshops (e.g. exercise, dental care)
  • Arts and crafts

Fully licensed medical professionals and students in their third year of study or above may be placed in small hospitals, clinics, and assisted living facilities where they are able to help with more hands-on tasks including:

  • Shadowing and assisting a local doctor/nurse
  • Assist with general check-ups, triage, and taking vitals
  • Cleaning wounds and suturing
  • Giving injections and drawing blood
  • Preparing medical equipment and medication
  • Physiotherapy
  • Organizing patient records
  • Assisting during mealtimes
  • Workshops (e.g. exercise, dental care)
  • Providing patients much needed companionship

Please understand that volunteers are assigned tasks based on the needs of the placement at the time you are volunteering, but all tasks you are assigned will be critical to the overall goals of the project.

You’ll also need to bring your own scrubs, 1-2 boxes of disposable latex gloves, disposable medical aprons, surgical masks for personal use on this project.

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-Being

Good mental and physical health is key to sustainable development and building healthy and happy communities. Now more than ever, we must increase access to free healthcare and health education across the globe to achieve an acceptable standard of living and wellbeing for all.

Why do Medical volunteering in Cusco with IVHQ?

As a healthcare volunteer in Peru - Cusco you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Helping low-income communities access healthcare
  • Assisting local doctors and nurses at understaffed facilities
  • Observing clinical practice in a different cultural setting
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining hands-on medical experience
  • Immersing yourself in Peruvian culture
  • Exploring the stunning mountains and ancient ruins of Peru

Volunteer requirements

  • To join the Medical project in Cusco you’ll need to be qualified medical professional or a medical and nursing students at any level of training, with some experience in a clinical setting. Volunteers in other medical professions may also be eligible for this project, but can’t be guaranteed work in their specific field.
  • You’ll need to provide evidence of your education and qualifications to our local team in Cusco once you have registered for the program, as per Peruvian Ministry of Health requirements.
  • Volunteers need to bring their own scrubs.
  • It is strongly reccommended that volunteers on this project know how to speak Spanish or learn as much as they can before the program.
  • Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate in this program. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to learn more.
  • All volunteers are required to speak fluent English, have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ before departure.
Are you eligible to volunteer?

Submit a free application so we can confirm your eligibility and check availability for your preferred dates.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

JB
Jacob Barsness
05 Feb 2024

I went to Peru with a mindset of learning Spanish, exploring a new country, and contributing in a positive way with the skill-set I have. IVHQ gave me this opportunity to explore and expand my personal goals in a way that benefited myself and those around me.

...
RA
Rabail Ashar
11 Jan 2024

This was the best experience of my life! IVHQ's team, especially my Program Manager, were so helpful in getting me prepared and gave me a feeling of safety throughout my journey.

Through this experience I have learned how the things I take for granted here are worth so much to others. Working at the clinics was eye-opening, the waiting room was just a field of dirt and rocks that people sat on. It was extremely humbling and the people were so generous. I worked with a local Physiotherapist and a Doctor who specialized in OBGYN. They really believed in my success which encouraged me to continue to take initiative and take what I know and run with it.

...
JM
Jurairat Molina
29 Aug 2023

This was an experience of a lifetime! The support we received from IVHQ was great, and the local team ran a great orientation when we arrived, with lots of detail. I learned a lot in a short period of time, and wished I had more time on the program. The family we stayed with was awesome. We enjoyed our stay and were very grateful for their hospitality. It was such a cool thing to do with my family. My son and I love it and would do it again.

...
MS
Mia Soricelli
24 Jan 2023

IVHQ is very organized - my Program Manager was so awesome and she responded to all my questions (and trust me I had many) in not only a timely, but also thorough manner. I felt at ease with all the steps before traveling. As a Medical volunteer, I never thought something could change my life as much as this volunteer project did…but every day I was grateful and blessed to be able to help. The best thing you can do for yourself (and for others) is to step out of your comfort zone and grow. It gives you the opportunity to learn more about yourself, and others, and you will not regret it. No matter what reason you want to volunteer abroad…if you’re passionate and open-minded you can’t fail. Go for it!!!!

...
KE
Kelly Ellis
21 Oct 2022

The biggest impact my volunteering trip had on me was the realization that as a solo female traveler for the first time I am incredibly capable and stronger than I thought. Let go of your fears. It will be scary and uncomfortable at times but that is how you grow. This experience will change your life!

...
AB
Ann Bagchi
05 Mar 2022

I made this trip as a gift to myself for my 50th birthday. It was something I had been wanting to do since I was 16, when I had dreams of joining the Peace Corps. It was the perfect volunteer/cultural experience for me and better than I ever dreamed it could be. I’m already planning my next trip.

...

To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

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Volunteer Abroad in Peru, Cusco with IVHQ

Location

Cusco is one of the oldest cities in South America and situated in the stunning Peruvian Andes. The city is close to famous Inca trails, ruins and temples, such as Machu Picchu. It’s a hive of culture, adventure and culinary delights - all of which makes it a prime destination for visitors to Peru.

The IVHQ Peru - Cusco volunteer program has volunteer placements located in Cusco and surrounding valleys. Volunteers are important to Cusco because despite the thriving tourism industry and government investment in the region, many local people make little money and struggle to access food, water, shelter, healthcare and education. Volunteers can make a difference by supporting local initiatives that aim to help people improve their quality of life by making sure they have the basic necessities and opportunities to help them improve their futures.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins every Monday and volunteers need to arrive in Cusco on the Sunday before orientation. Orientation will be held within 24 hours of your arrival.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) in Cusco. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the local team’s main office and then to your homestay. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation. If you are traveling in Peru prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Cusco on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our local team at their offices in Cusco. Orientation begins on Monday morning and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Cusco – introduction to Peru, Peruvian customs, language lesson details, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Cusco, introduction to your project and placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

Volunteer schedule example

First Day

On your first day of volunteering, typically Tuesday, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.

Weekdays

Volunteers will have a morning, afternoon or evening shift which will last about 3 to 5 hours. Volunteer roles and hours are dependent on your project and placement. A typical morning schedule might be as follows:

8:00 AM Breakfast with your host family.
9:00 AM Leave the homestay and travel to your placement, where you will be given a structure sheet and a plan for your work.
12:00 PM Lunch at a local restaurant.
1:00 - 6:00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. You are free to travel back to your accommodation, go sightseeing or take Spanish lessons.
7:00 PM Dinner with your host family.

Weekends

On weekends volunteers have spare time to relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Cusco and Peru. Sunday is a religious day of rest and most stores and restaurants are closed on Sundays, as most Peruvians devote the day to spending time with their families. If you like, you can accompany your host family to their local church, as a Latin American church service is a unique and special experience for many volunteers.

Cusco is a lively metropolitan city with a fascinating history and lots to see and do. There are places where you can learn about the Mayan and Incan culture and traditions, see ancient ruins, a beautiful central square bordered by restaurants and cafes, cooking classes, a chocolate museum offering all kinds of tasty delights or dance the night away in some of Peru’s best nightclubs. It is also an outdoor-lovers paradise with plenty of horseback riding, ziplining and hiking opportunities, including Rainbow Mountain.

Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to visit other parts of Peru, such as Lima.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers on Cusco based projects will be accommodated in either a dorm-style volunteer house or a homestay with a local host family.

You will find living conditions are comfortable in both types of accommodation, and all homestay families have been approved by our local staff. Bedrooms have single and bunk beds with bedding provided. You will share a room with up to four other volunteers of the same gender.

The volunteer house can accommodate up to 30 volunteers, whereas the homestays can host up to 6 volunteers at one time. If you prefer a private room, these are available in our homestays and you will need to arrange this through your Program Manager once you’ve secured your spot on the program. Private room upgrades cost CA$88 per person, per week.

You can expect the homestays to have electricity, drinkable running water and western bathrooms. Low pressure showers are common and the water is not always heated.

Please note, homes in Peru are not typically heated but your hosts can provide you with additional blankets upon request. We also advise wearing layered clothing as the temperature tends to drop at night, due to the altitude.

WiFi is available in the majority of homestays and you will have access to computers and WiFi at the local team’s office in Cusco.

Please note, volunteers under the age of 18 who are travelling solo will be accommodated separately from those over the age of 18, in a homestay. If there are other volunteers under the age of 18 participating at the same time, the local team will do their best to ensure they are accommodated together.

Meals

In Cusco, volunteers are provided breakfast and dinner at their accommodation.

A typical Peruvian breakfast consists of bread, spreads, fruit and eggs accompanied by tea or coffee. Dinner commonly consists of meat (often chicken), soups, pastas, starches and vegetables. We recommend budgeting between US$3 (approximately CA$4) and US$10 (approximately CA$14) per day to purchase lunch. Local staff will give recommendations on economical places to eat in Cusco.

Please let us know of any dietary requirements you have so we can make special arrangements for you.

Pricing

  • USD
Duration
Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week CA$668 Equivalent to CA$96/day
2 weeks CA$1145 Equivalent to CA$82/day
3 weeks CA$1536 Equivalent to CA$73/day
4 weeks CA$1920 Equivalent to CA$69/day
5 weeks CA$2305 Equivalent to CA$66/day
6 weeks CA$2689 Equivalent to CA$64/day
8 weeks CA$3457 Equivalent to CA$62/day
10 weeks CA$4225 Equivalent to CA$60/day
12 weeks CA$4994 Equivalent to CA$59/day
16 weeks CA$6530 Equivalent to CA$58/day
20 weeks CA$8067 Equivalent to CA$58/day
24 weeks CA$9604 Equivalent to CA$57/day
  • Accommodation
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Airport pick-up
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Discounts on language lessons
  • Discounts on travel and tour add-ons
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately CA$467) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in CAD.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, public transportation to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Cusco generally find US$100 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such as lunches (except for Amazon Jungle Conservation, Andean Immersion, and Eco-Agriculture Conservation volunteers), in-country tours, and Spanish language lessons.

Free-time experiences & tours in Peru

Take your volunteer experience to the next level with IVHQ's affordable activity and tour add-ons in Peru! Explore your options below and learn how to book them once you've been accepted onto the IVHQ Peru program.

Lake Titicaca Tour (2 nights/1 day)
Lake Titicaca Tour (2 nights/1 day)

Prepare to be in awe of this unique landscape and surroundings on this overnight tour!

CA$199
Machu Picchu Overnight Tour  - Upgrade (2 days, 1 night)
Machu Picchu Overnight Tour - Upgrade (2 days, 1 night)

Explore Machu Picchu on an exhilarating 2-day & 1-night tour.

CA$696
Machu Picchu Tour (Full Day)
Machu Picchu Tour (Full Day)

Experience the awe-inspiring wonders of Machu Picchu in just one day without stretching your budget!

CA$531
Mini Adventure (6 days, 7 nights)
Mini Adventure (6 days, 7 nights)

See all of Peru’s major hot spots on this 1-week Mini Adventure tour.

CA$1307
Lake Titicaca Tour (2 nights/1 day)
Lake Titicaca Tour (2 nights/1 day)

Prepare to be in awe of this unique landscape and surroundings on this overnight tour!

CA$199
Rainbow Mountain - Short Trek
Rainbow Mountain - Short Trek

Enjoy a short, mountainside trek to the top of Rainbow Mountain, part of Ausangate Mountain in the Andes.

CA$83

No experiences or tours for Lima, yet...

Affordable Spanish language lessons

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Peru - Cusco program, however on certain projects volunteer work will be restricted with limited language ability. We recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our partner staff in Cusco. Past volunteers feel that taking these lessons help immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers interested in taking Spanish lessons can arrange these directly with the IVHQ Program Manager prior to departure. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and classes run from Monday through to Friday. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers.

  • Group Class: 2 hour a day - starting at CA$92 per week
  • Private Class: 1 hour a day - starting at CA$106 per week
  • Private Class: 2 hours a day - starting at CA$213 per week

How to book IVHQ’s language lessons: When you apply for your IVHQ volunteer program, make a note in your application of the language classes you’re interested in.

Once you’ve paid your registration fee, your IVHQ Program Manager will be able to book your place on the classes you have chosen.

Spanish language lessons are not available on the Andean Immersion, Eco-Agriculture or Amazon Jungle Conservation projects due to their remote nature, however volunteers will have plenty of opportunity to practice with locals.

Check what's required to visit Peru

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Capital Lima
Population 32 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN)
Time zone UTC-05:00

Weather and climate: Peru, unlike other equatorial countries, does not have an exclusively tropical climate; the influence of the Andes and the Humboldt Current causes great climatic diversity within the country. In the mountains, rain is frequent during summer and temperatures and humidity diminish with altitude up to the frozen peaks of the Andes. The jungle has heavy rainfal​l​ and high temperatures, with the exception of its southernmost part, which has cold winters and seasonal rainfall.

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How to get started

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