Volunteer in Peru with AMIGOS
Help the Poorest Children While Extending Your Language and Cultural Understanding
While discovering the delights of Peru, I decided to volunteer at AMIGOS Spanish School, the only nonprofit language center in Cusco, where income from teaching Spanish to foreign visitors helps provide an education
for local children. I was immediately struck by the friendly and caring atmosphere and consideration for both the foreign visitors and local students.
Located high in the Andean mountains and surrounded by Inca history, the school offers children in extreme poverty a 3-year program consisting of daily English classes, workshops to build selfconfidence and communication
skills, and a daily meal—sometimes the only one a child receives. It was easy to see the positive impact the program was having on the local students and how it would open many doors for their future. Foreign visitors to the school told
me how much they were benefiting from the high quality Spanish lessons, the warm atmosphere, and the knowledge that they were investing in the future of Cusco’s children. At AMIGOS all the teachers are professionals and accreditation is
For travelers like myself who wish to make a long-term contribution, AMIGOS offers volunteer work in teaching and administration for those staying for three months or more. The well-organized homestay program offers comfortable
and safe accommodation with incredible Peruvian hospitality and home cooking. In addition to language classes, the foreign students’ program includes a “real” city tour and visits to a local school and Cusquenian homes. This
essential part of my experience allowed me to gain an understanding of life for the children in Cusco. Authentic cooking and salsa dancing classes are also available, offering travelers a cultural education and an essential preparation for enjoying
During my time at AMIGOS I came to know the founder and director, Jesus Napancca, who grew up working throughout his childhood to support his family. As a Spanish teacher in Cusco he noticed the demand for an English-speaking
workforce. Because very few of his fellow Peruvians spoke English well, the choice jobs in Cusco were usually taken by foreigners. He decided to start a school for underprivileged adolescents, where in addition to learning English the students
would also receive emotional support, a daily meal, and, most importantly, love.
When I asked what else lay behind the project he replied, “We believe that one way to further communication and understanding in our world is to learn about each other, in a deeper and more profound way. Learning a
language of another culture is the first step to this.” It is easy to become part of AMIGOS. You can contact the school via its website at www.spanishcusco.com.