Hi there, I’m Emily! A social science placement student from the University of Bath. Having spent 6 months in Cusco and now working remotely from Medellin, Colombia, I write this blog to give you an insight as to why you should consider volunteering with LAFF:
1. The Job Itself!
Very rarely would I consider ‘work’ to be a strong motivator for packing your bags and relocating to the other side of the World! However, joining a small team of around 6 volunteers, allows you to learn and practise a diverse range of different tasks. As a Communications Coordinator, I was responsible for all aspects of social media & recruitment but I also got stuck into assisting with social enterprise & fundraising projects plus teaching English.
2. The Beauty of Peru
As one of the most “megadiverse” countries, I was quite overwhelmed by the surrounding landscape. Spending an average of around 10 hours on a bus, or a short plane you could find yourself at Lake Titicaca, the Amazon rainforest, an oasis in the desert and of course…Machu Picchu! ANYONE who knows me, knows that I have never been an expert hiker (or for that matter, had never actually climbed anything higher than the stairs before coming to Peru!). However, the breath-taking views that you get to see (while literally trying to get your breath due to struggling in high altitude), are one million percent worth it.
3. Spanish, Spanish, Spanish
If I had to say the part of my trip that I am most proud of, it would definitely be the improvement in my Spanish that living in Cusco and working with LAFF, has allowed. Only having an AS in Spanish, I arrived in Cusco with very little confidence in my Spanish ability. However, through a great level of exposure to this, my favourite language, after a few months, I was able to speak with confidence to everyone I met. One challenge, for example, was being asked to translate for a presentation on a new system device that LAFF had created (systems being an area I had even less confidence with!). After learning words such as ‘column’ and ‘spreadsheet’ the night before and feeling very nervous, the meeting came and went, and somehow all I said seemed to be understood! I believe learning a different language in a country such as Peru, is honestly one of the most rewarding things you can do!
4. Peruvian People and their Fascinating Culture
One of the most magical things about living in Peru are the incredible people that live there. Peruvian’s are some of the friendliest people you will meet. Actually living in Cusco, gives you the opportunity to build unique relationships with the locals. I can guarantee that within just a few weeks you will have your own juice lady, fruit and veg seller and friendly mini-market family. Aside from the lovely nature of Peruvians, you will also experience the rich culture that is so prevalent in and around Peru. During my time there, we were able to visit the carnival in Puno (near Lake Titicaca). It was an unforgettable experience, seeing the stunning traditional costumes in the parades, chatting to locals and getting involved in foam fights!
5. The Volunteers at LAFF
The volunteers I met at LAFF were what made this trip so unbelievably special. Knowing that the team consisted of only around 8 people was extremely daunting, as these 8 people could literally have had the personality of a door frame! However, what I realised during my recruitment tasks was that LAFF attracts like-minded people who share similar goals and motivations. With my team, we hiked up various mountains, took long weekend trips away together and found ourselves laughing in every situation. With such a small team the work allows you to coordinate together on projects, bringing you closer as well as learning about a range of different fields.
So these are the top 5 reasons why I truly believe anyone thinking of volunteering & travelling should join LAFF. If you want to experience all these amazing things then just send us your CV & fill in the application form on our website.