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Working and volunteering


General advice for finding volunteer work is to ask at language schools; they usually know of several programs suitable for their students. Both nonprofit and for-profit organizations can arrange volunteer opportunities, if you contact them in advance.

Action Without Borders (www.idealist.org) Online database of social-work-oriented jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities.

Cross-Cultural Solutions (www.crossculturalsolutions.org) Educational and social-service projects in Lima and Ayacucho; program fees include professional in-country support.

Earthwatch Institute (www.earthwatch.org) Pay to help scientists on archaeological, ecological and other real-life expeditions in the Amazon Basin and the Andes.

Global Crossroad Volunteer, internship and job programs in the Andes. Summer cultural immersion programs for 18- to 29-year-olds include language instruction, homestays, volunteer work and sightseeing.

Global Volunteers (www.globalvolunteers.org) Offers short-term volunteer opportunities helping orphans in Lima.

Kiya Survivors/Peru Positive Action Organizes two- to six-month volunteer placements for assistant teachers and therapists to work with special-needs children in Cuzco, Urubamba in the Sacred Valley and Máncora on the north coast.


It’s increasingly difficult to obtain residence and work permits for Peru, and likewise to get jobs without a proper work visa. Some jobs teaching English in language schools may not require one, but this is illegal. Occasionally, schools advertise for teachers, but more often, jobs are found by word of mouth. Schools expect you to be a native English-speaker, and the pay is low. If you have teaching credentials, so much the better.

American and British schools in Lima sometimes hire teachers of math, biology and other subjects, but usually only if you apply in advance. They pay much better than the language schools, and might possibly be able to help you get a work visa if you want to stay. In Lima, the South American Explorers clubhouse and international cultural centers may have contacts with schools that are looking for teachers.

Most other jobs are obtained by word of mouth (eg bartenders, hostel staff, jungle guides), but the possibilities are limited. Volunteer organizations offer internships and short-term job opportunities.

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