Service-Learning in Cusco, Peru

Peru's allure can be attributed to the country's incredibly diverse geography and the marvels of its ancient history. Travelers have been dazzled by the lush rain forests, the rugged Andes Mountains, and a coastline along the Southern Pacific Ocean. In addition to its enticing natural beauty, Peru is enlivened by its indigenous and colonial history, which is evidenced by archaeological gems, such as Machu Picchu, and contrasted by its populous capital, Lima.

Peru is the ideal destination for adventure seekers, with plenty to see and explore outdoors. Go surfing in the South Pacific, hike up to Rainbow Mountain, and visit ancient Incan ruins at Machu Picchu. This must-see South American country is home to ten UNESCO world heritage sites, including the city of Cusco and the Nazca Lines.

Once the capital of the Inca empire, Cusco is nestled in the Andes Mountains at 11,000 feet. As you walk among the cobblestone streets of Cusco, you will hear Quechua and pan-flute music and observe traditional dress, too. Admire the 12-angled stone crafted by the Inca and contemplate the presence of colonial design at the church of Santo Domingo, constructed above the Inca temple of Coricancha. A must-visit city in Latin America, Cusco's proximity to Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site also named one of the new 7 Wonders of the World, makes it an increasingly popular destination.

Cusco is one of our few service-learning locations where we have opportunities in all six of our community sectors: community development, education, environment, family and youth development, health, and human rights. Many are drawn to our unique animal welfare and healthcare organizations, but there’s a wealth of opportunities if you are interested in improving your Spanish language skills and learning about the local challenges in this popular tourist city.

Partner Organizations

Housing Details

Living in ISA housing will give you the opportunity to experience aspects of the Peruvian lifestyle that are inaccessible to the average visitor to Peru. With an open-mind and flexibility, the experience of living in another culture can be highly rewarding.

Homestay

Host families are best if you are seeking full linguistic and cultural immersion during your time abroad. Each host family has been carefully selected by ISA's resident staff in order to best accommodate your needs and to ensure a comfortable living situation. Homestays will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and laundry service once a week. While students typically have their own room and share a homestay with another ISA student, you might share a room with another ISA student of the same gender.

Pensión

While similar to a homestay, pensiones are larger homes that provide housing to multiple students. This option includes three meals per day/seven days per week (excluding excursion days) and laundry service at least once per week. You will also be expected to coordinate meals with the meal schedule of the pensión. This is a great option for students who are more independent and would like to live with a larger number of students in a homestay setting.

Independent Housing

You may elect to secure housing independently. If you select this option, you will receive a discount equal to the housing portion of the program price.

Host Family Meal Peru
Housing - Student Residence
El Mercado Pisac Peru Meredith Brock

 

Excursions & Cultural Activities

 

Optional Excursions (additional fee may apply)

For participants enrolled in full-time service-learning programs, organized ISA excursions are optional and may be available at an additional cost, depending on program dates and length. When possible, we will communicate excursion prices and dates prior to departure.
For participants enrolled in a Study + Service-Learning combo program, excursions are included in the program fee. Excursions include transportation, entrance fees, and guided tours as well as hotel accommodations and breakfast for all overnight excursions.

Cultural Activities

Cultural activities are included in all programs. The ISA resident staff develops unique cultural activities throughout your program to showcase what makes their city special. These custom-designed activities invite you to learn about the history and culture of your new surroundings. Cultural activities may include city tours, museum visits, sporting events, dance classes, cooking lessons, art and cultural festivals, and more.

Please visit the ISA website for a complete list of excursions and cultural activities in Cusco.

This program is unique in the sense that it has the ability to transcend cultural differences and connect with people so different from one another thanks to one common passion: serving others. If you want the opportunity to really dive into a culture and connect with people of the host community, service-learning is the best way to do it.

Julia O.
(Granada, Spring 2018)

I loved my service-learning experience abroad and would recommend it to anyone! For me, it was a great opportunity to integrate my Spanish language skills with my area of study (nursing), which is a really unique opportunity. It gave me the chance to have more purposeful interaction with the host community during my time abroad, which I think it a key aspect to the study abroad experience.

Rebekah H.
(Valparaiso, Fall 2017)

I learned so much participating in service-learning. This experience allows you to open your mind to so many different ways of life, social issues happening in other countries, and ways you can help. The skills you develop are endless because you learn to work alongside diverse groups and not only share your knowledge but also learn from them as well. This experience really helped me grow as a person.

Jordan P.
(Lima, Summer 2018)