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Spanish Service Learning Course in Cusco - Peru

This is a supplementary volunteer project that presents a golden opportunity to volunteer and earn course credit at the same time. By completing a series of reflection exercises outside your normal volunteer hours, the Spanish Service Learning Course fosters a sense of civic responsibility and community, encourages you to reflect on culture and language, and helps you to broaden your global perspective and identity.

The course is accredited by California State University, San Marcos, and offers credit towards your qualification. It involves five guided reflections, daily journal entries and a final reflection paper. It also includes optional language lessons that help to add to your cultural appreciation. This is all done outside your hours volunteering on your chosen project.

Spanish Service Learning in Cusco, Peru with IVHQ

The Spanish Service Learning Course (SPAN203SL) is conducted mostly in Spanish, including on your volunteer project. The workshops and written assignments are conducted in English.

​​The course fee is $880 and​​ ​​​is paid directly to IVHQ’s ​local​ ​​team​ ​​to​ ​cover all aspects of the course and accreditation. This course fee is​ ​​in ​addition​ ​to the IVHQ Registration Fee and the Program Fee which​ ​​volunteers pay to cover the volunteer section of the course requirements. Volunteers can join the Spanish Service Learning Course any time of year and​ ​it​​ ​requires a minimum duration of four weeks. Attendance for the whole duration is mandatory.

When applying online, please apply for the Spanish Service Learning Course project and indicate your volunteer​ ​​work preference in the ‘Comments’ section of your application.

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Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable set fee of $581 for 4 weeks
  • Earn course credit by completing additional tasks

  • Complete guided reflections and a daily journal

  • Take part in a volunteer project and complete tasks in your own time

  • Minimum duration of 4 weeks

Destination Highlights
Peru at a glance
  • Based in Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, daily breakfast and dinner and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in homestays or dorms (project dependent)

  • Between 25 and 60 volunteers start in Cusco each month

The IVHQ Peru - Cusco volunteer program has volunteer placements located in Cusco and surrounding valleys. Cusco is one of the oldest cities in South America and situated in close proximity to the tourist mecca of Machu Picchu.

Volunteer programs begin on every Monday of each month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for any duration from 1 week to 24 weeks.

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. On arrival you will be transported to your accommodation and introduced to your host, and the following day you will complete orientation.

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 4 hours. A typical afternoon schedule would be as follows:

12.00 PM Lunch at a local restaurant.

1.00 PM Leave the homestay and travel to your placement, where you will be given a structure sheet and a plan for your work. Volunteer roles and hours are dependent on your project and placement.

4.00 PM Work at the placement usually ends. You are free to go sightseeing or do some shopping. If you are taking a Spanish language course, this will usually take place in the morning and will last 1 to 2 hours.

7.00 PM Dinner with the host family.

As the Cusco program has projects in different locations, your accommodation will depend on the project(s) that you have chosen to join. If you are volunteering on the Teaching English, Special Needs Care, Childcare, Medical, Animal Care or Construction and Renovation projects, you will be accommodated in Cusco. If you are volunteering on the Jungle Conservation, Andean Immersion or Ego-Agriculture Conservation projects, you will be based further afield.

Volunteers on Cusco-based projects will be accommodated in a homestay, hosted by a local family. Volunteers can expect to share a room with one or two other volunteers of the same gender. For individuals or couples who would like more privacy, private or matrimonial rooms are available as an accommodation upgrade for an additional cost.

Living is comfortable and all central Cusco-based accommodation has electricity, running water and western-style bathrooms, however showers can be low pressure and unheated. Bedrooms have single beds or bunk beds with supplied bedding.

Accommodation on the Jungle Conservation project is located onsite at the conservation reserve where you will be based. Living is rustic and communal, but comfortable. Volunteers are accommodated in bungalows or dormitory-style rooms. On the Andean Immersion project, volunteers stay onsite at the Andean Immersion farm with a local host family (please note your host family will not speak any English). Volunteers can expect to share a room with others of the same gender. Eco-Agriculture Conservation volunteers are accommodated in dormitory style rooms, separated by gender. Living is rustic but comfortable. Accommodation upgrades are not available on the Jungle Conservation, Andean Immersion, or Eco-Agriculture Conservation projects.

Transportation to these project sites takes place after arriving into Cusco and receiving the program orientation, so depending on when you arrive, you may spend a few nights in Cusco at a homestay before being transported to your project site.

Volunteers in Cusco will have access to computers and WiFi at the local team’s office, and there is WiFi available at some of the homestays in town. These is no WiFi available on the Jungle Conservation, Andean Immersion or Eco-Agriculture Conservation projects, due to their remote locations.

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 $3 and $10 per day to purchase lunch. Local staff will give recommendations on economical places to eat in Cusco.

Volunteers on the Jungle Conservation, Andean Immersion and Eco-Agriculture projects will be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner. Please note any dietary requirements you have so we can make special arrangements for you.

“I was so impressed with my entire Peruvian experience, and feel like I really had the opportunity to immerse myself in Peruvian life and to help out in a small way. I am so grateful to the IVHQ team for making my adventure possible and giving the the most rewarding experience of my small lifetime. I look forward to volunteering with IVHQ in the very near future.” - Genevieve Rogan (Teaching English Volunteer in Peru - Cusco)

Read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in Peru here

​​The course fee is $880 and​​ ​​​is paid directly to IVHQ’s ​local​ ​​team​ ​​to​ ​cover all aspects of the course and accreditation. This course fee is​ ​​in ​addition​ ​to the IVHQ Registration Fee and the Program Fee which​ ​​volunteers pay to cover the volunteer section of the course requirements. Volunteers can join the Spanish Service Learning Course any time of year and​ ​it​​ ​requires a minimum duration of four weeks. Attendance for the whole duration is mandatory.

During the weekend, volunteers have spare time to relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Cusco and Peru. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to visit destinations, such as Machu Picchu. 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 wish, you can accompany your host family to their local church, as a Latin American church service is unique and special experience for many volunteers.

See our Peru - Cusco Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Peru!

Capital Lima
Population 29.99 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 mountainous region, rain is frequent during summer and temperatures and humidity diminish with altitude up to the frozen peaks of the Andes. The Jungle is characterized by heavy rainfal​l​ and high temperatures, with the exception of its southernmost part, which has cold winters and seasonal rainfall.

Volunteers who are under 18 years old will be required to provide IVHQ with parental consent and two character reference letters in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Cusco. Additional requirements apply for Medical volunteers, please read the project description.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Peru - Cusco volunteer program, however on certain projects, such as Teaching English, Medical, and the Andean Immersion project, 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 ​local team 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 local ​team once in Cusco. Please note that Spanish lessons are no​t​ available to volunteers on the Jungle Conservation and Andean Immersion projects.

Mini Adventure in Peru With IVHQ

Be sure to see all the sites in Peru while you are in country - the Mini Adventure combines the major hot spots of Peru into a 1-week excursion that can be added at the beginning or end of your volunteer program. You will be accompanied by a certified, bilingual tour guide for each trip, using Cusco as your home base between tours. The 6-day program compliments your volunteer experience, without the stress of trip planning. If you would like to add a Mini Adventure to your trip, you can arrange this directly with our local staff once you are registered for the program. The cost is US$795 and includes a Cusco city tour, 1-day Sacred Valley tour, Machu Picchu overnight trip with Vistadome Train, and a 2-day Lake Titicaca tour.

Volunteer Language Lessons

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Peru - Cusco program, however on certain projects; Medical in particular, 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 local staff once in Cusco at the program orientation. 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.

  • 4-Hour Small Group Classes: $125 per week
  • 2-Hour Small Group Classes: $70 per week
  • 1-Hour Private Classes: $75 per week
  • 2-Hour Private Classes: $150 per week

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the registration fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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