I am so thrilled with my decision to volunteer with Vive Peru. It was one of the best experiences I have had and I wouldn’t trade it with anything!
When I stepped off the plane in Lima in September of last year, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew that I would be teaching English and working in a boys’ home, but other than that I was so nervous. Naomi, the Vive Peru intern, met me at the airport and Melissa, the regional coordinator, Naomi, Nicole, the other volunteer, and I all stayed the night at our hostel.
Throughout the next orientation week, the four of us spent time together visiting touristy sites around Trujillo like Huanchaco and the Chan Chan ruins. We were also able to make dinner for all of the Vive Peru staff and our host family at our own house and even got to go and see some traditional marinera dancing at a local restaurant. My nerves slowly disappeared through all of these activities. My friendships developed immensely with everyone involved with Vive, and I even just saw Naomi and Melissa last week in New York City!
Not only was volunteering with Vive in the Fall a much more personal setting socially, but it also gave me almost exclusive access to all of the Vive Peru resources. Lesson planning with Melissa’s help was so important as it helped me to feel more confident planning them more quickly on my own. A month in I was writing lesson plans in my downtime at school and starting cooking classes with Naomi at the Hogar San Jose.
Volunteering in the fall of 2012 was such an important experience for me. It solidified my desire to work in social development in the future and it also allowed me to work with the community in ways that I hadn’t before, on a much more personal level. Whenever I needed help or guidance I could text Melissa or Naomi, but since there were only two volunteers, it also helped me to become more independent and confident, making Peruvian friends and speaking more Spanish as a result. Overall, I am so thrilled with my decision to volunteer with Vive Peru during the fall session. It was one of the best experiences I have had and I wouldn’t trade it with anything!
Fall 2012 Social Work Volunteer
Carnegie Mellon University