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Urban English Teaching Assistant

Cusco, Peru show on map

Work at schools in the great city of Cusco and support their English teaching efforts.

Peru isn’t one of the most advanced of the Latin American locations regarding the education system. Much of the Peruvian curriculum focuses on tradition and history; general areas including Maths, Science and communication are not widely understood at an appropriate level. While the focus on tradition and history is widely taught and know the general areas including Maths, Science and communication aren’t. In Peru there are three languages that are spoken including Spanish, Quechue and Aymara. The English language is very important in many regions of the country due to tourism, but as many educators are poorly trained and responsible for large class sizes the quality of the education is poor.

Other contributions for lower levels of education may be the lifestyle of many families along with their economic status. In Peru, low-income families will require children to work in the evenings selling items in the markets, hosting small shops, collecting rubbish or other various jobs to provide more income. Children with higher income families will have opportunities to study further, better their levels of English and knowledge in areas such as sports, music and social activity.

In the 70’s nearly 40% of the population only spoke the indigenous Quechue language which in turn resulted in the high prejudice for anyone associated with rural work such as agriculture and maintenance. Over the decades, the importance of education has been on the rise due to the importance of social status. Slowly, the Quechue language has phased out providing an alarming reality of lost tradition and acceptance of its use within the population. Well educated people from both low and high-status families are provided with the opportunity to travel the country, work internationally with tourism and trade along with governmental positions. Many of the locals request that their children are not only taught Spanish but given the opportunity to learn English.

Aside from receiving improved levels of education with a focus in English and Peruvian history, children are also introduced to recreational activities. Many of the local schools will provide sports and hygiene assistance to ensure their young generation is fit, well-rounded and presentable when the time comes to enter their working society. Volunteers will be happy to know they can teach both in and out of the classroom in creative settings including general lessons, sports and arts.

Alongside general education there has also been an increase in assistance for those with disabilities. In many parts of Peru the conditions are far too rural to provide appropriate care for those with physical and mental disabilities. In Cusco, the local government has provided the necessary education and location to provide care for children 4-17 years old as both a school and centre to care for while parents are working. These education centres have a special interest in children with greater needs than the average child including those with severe autism, bipolar, down syndrome, ADHD, Muscular Dystrophy and missing limbs.

PMGY Peru has teamed up with local primary schools to ensure that children are given more opportunity to learn English at an early stage along with care for the local educators. We want our volunteers to apply their ability to speak English as a 1st or 2nd language for these children to have a brighter future personally and professionally. We hope that along with the English lessons volunteers will feel a need to assist in the classroom setting during nap time, meal time and any specialised activities.

In general, for whichever teaching project volunteers join us on our team do their best to ensure there is a basic set of resources for the children at the project and for volunteers to plan activities. The schools are both well resourced for whatever volunteers wish to do while participating on the project. If volunteers feel basic supplies are not easily available they are encouraged to speak to our local team who can provide the needful. If volunteers are wishing for additional resources, there is some great shops for such resources in town.
No teaching experience is required to join this programme although it is an advantage. Generally speaking as long as volunteers are pro-active, enthusiastic and have lots of positive energy they can make great developments during their time at the project. We expect volunteers to spend an hour or two each day preparing for the following days lessons if requested by the teacher.

We encourage volunteers to prepare as much as possible for their teaching programme overseas. You can make the most out of your time by completing our convenient, inexpensive and international accredited 60-hour Online TEFL Course for just $150.

For our programmes in Latin America, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. While the programmes only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish, we find that the ability to speak a good level of Spanish will greatly enhance your overall experience. English is generally not widely spoken so if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate and thus may have a frustrating experience.

PMGY offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. These are priced at $225 for 20-hours and this provides you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Skype and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country. We also offer a Language & Immersion Programme which you can take part in prior to your volunteer placement. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons. Both of these options can be added during our online application process and are highly recommended if you want to make the most of your volunteer placement.

Once you are in-country then you are also able to organise additional Spanish lessons directly with our local team. Volunteer feedback suggests that it can often be tiring to complete Spanish lessons at the same time as your volunteer placement so we generally recommend the Language & Immersion Programme option.


For the majority of our programmes you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the programme – particularly if you’re looking to travel between June and August, as spaces can fill up very quickly during this period.

It is best that you apply sooner rather than later as some of our programmes only have a limited capacity and spaces get filled very quickly. However, you should always make sure you’re 100% committed to the programme before applying.

Can I use this programme as part of a university or college placement? 

It is certainly possible to use one of PMGY’s programmes as part of your university or college placement. Project staff can sign off any paperwork required by your course tutors. PMGY regularly receives medical, childcare, psychology and nursing placement students at our projects around the world and we have ties with some of the leading universities.

If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programmes could meet the placement requirements for your degree course then please contact us.

Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?

Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we always ensure our host locations are safe. Each programme has been extensively researched and has passed our strict vetting process. Our UK team undergo an extensive routine when establishing our in-country infrastructures and we continue to monitor our safety procedures on a regular basis. Furthermore, we monitor the stability of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis. Through our constant contact with consulates and embassies and our reports from our overseas teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable regions.

The PMGY team have visited and participated in every programme we offer and verified them based on our own independent criteria. We carefully inspect every little detail of our set-up. From inspecting the living conditions, checking out the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, to tasting the food you’ll be eating – each and every programme we establish has gone through a lengthy and rigorous vetting process. Risk assessments have been written for all areas in which PMGY operate and our experienced local coordinators are always on-hand to manage any emergencies that may occur. Our UK team are always on the road reviewing our risk management procedures in the field and monitoring local conditions. 

In emergency situations we have the necessary protocols and equipment in place and we are able to evacuate our volunteers from potential dangers. Our local coordinators are trained to deal with emergency circumstances. 

All volunteers will receive a digital PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the programme. This Handbook contains literally everything you need to know – from what to pack, to how to obtain a visa, to local language guides. It is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you require any further information not covered in the Volunteer Handbook then our team are always on-hand to assist you.

Typical day

The primary school is separated into two periods of education. In the mornings the school offers an all-girls programme for children 6-11 years old. The afternoons are co-ed courses providing for a more interactive learning environment for children 6-11 years old. At both periods of the day you will find 30-40 children per classroom, this is where volunteer’s help really comes in handy!

Each class has one to three instructors for general education and one teacher for English lessons. The English teacher will be teaching in the morning and afternoon to massive groups of children. Due to the lack of assistance and resources for teaching, the English lessons are not applied appropriately. As a volunteer in the classroom your role is to assist the teachers in supervising the children, improve English pronunciation, correct exams and provide created lesson planning.

As many children are not given the chance to join in alternative activities outside of school hours, project provides opportunities for the children to get involved in sports. The sports lessons are outside in a local field and included in part of their curriculum. The activities volunteers join in on are supervising, assisting with exercises, ensuring children are safe walking to/from the field and if you speak or are learning Spanish, you can create and instruct activities.

The project will be split into two-timetables. The morning will require volunteers to join from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. The afternoon schedule is 1:00pm to 5:45pm.

The special needs school is for those with disabilities of both mental and physical capacities. In the city of Cusco there are only 4 schools for disabled children which makes this programme so special! At this primary school you will work with children with the mental capacity of those up to 6th grade. Although they reach the 6th grade level the children can be anywhere from 3-20 years of age.

The work schedule is only in the morning from 8:00 to 1:00 pm, but at times there are occupational training courses for the older children from 1:00pm to 6:00pm.

In every classroom there is one teacher with a maximum of 10 children. They have only one teacher-assistant that rotates through all courses. Because of this, volunteers are very welcome as most children require individual attention. In a classroom of young children you may encounter that though the groups are only a medium size of 6 the work-load is much higher than those at a higher age level and group of 13. The teachers try very hard to educate the children in basic skills to then pass on to future levels of education and to help out at home.

In the higher levels the students will learn to do activities like sewing, cooking and art. These skills can be used at home, occupational jobs and/or doing tourism based sales like art work or local craft. It is especially fun to assist in these classes as you can interact on a more detailed and personal level in a skill based environment. The younger levels are especially enjoyable as they enjoy singing songs, learning letters and painting. Each child has their own gifts and beautiful characteristics that will melt your heart!

Specific tasks that volunteers will participate in are classroom assistance, meal team and food preparation, crafts or activity time and for those with confining disabilities applying stimulating games. If volunteers wish they can rotate between classes during their period of volunteering or they can stay within one group.

At the special needs school there is one physiotherapist that gives therapy during school schedule. A volunteer can be assisting during her work in order to gain experience and help when it is needed.

Details on Arrival

This programme starts on the 1st and 3rd Sunday every month. You should arrive into Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport in Cusco (airport code CUZ) on the selected Sunday start date. You will be met at the airport by your host family or a local team member who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure. If you wish to venture around the Cusco area you can request this from your homestay family.
The programme ends on the Saturday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day.

Free-time activities

PMGY volunteer in Peru participants are based in Cusco, the Incan capital of world located in the Andes Mountains. The small city has so much history!  As you move through the narrow streets you can’t help but wander into the hidden markets, gaze upon the local artwork and chuckle at the llamas dressed in traditional material.

Peru is full of wonder with the Incan capital, Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley, Rainbow Mountain, the Amazon and the Nazca lines along with coast. Here you can find yourself in a prime spot to visit places like Rainbow Mountain, Machu Picchu, the Maras Salt Mines, Sacred Site of the Moray, Lake Titicaca and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Our participants are situated in a great location to explore the local sites and also travel further afield.
Water Sports

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak Spanish (intermediate level) and English (intermediate level)
Criminal Background Check
Education Requirements
at High School/University level
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
We welcome volunteers of all backgrounds, nationalities and religions. You should be physically fit, as volunteering overseas can be quite strenuous. If you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas then these must be declared to us during your online application.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Suitable for


Included Services

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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Plan My Gap Year.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Plan My Gap Year (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Plan My Gap Year
Your fee includes both your registration fee and programme fees.

Your programme fee includes; accommodation, all meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner), airport pickup (24 hours), in-country orientation, private transport to projects, 24 hour in-country support.

Your registration fee includes; 24 hour UK based support, comprehensive volunteer handbook, live pre-departure webinars, 100% financial protection, regular programme inspection.
Airport Pickup at Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport

We provide a 24 hour Airport Pickup.

During your time with PMGY in Peru you will live in our homestay(s). The accommodation is basic but comfortable. You’ll be living with other volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way as well as local families whom will guide you in Cusco and help to improve your knowledge of the Spanish Language!

The homestays are located just outside of central Cusco all within 30 minutes walk of your chosen project. Each room has single beds, up to 3 people per room (same-sex rooms only). Volunteers are provided with bed linen and cupboard space to store clothes and accessories. All volunteers will have their own keys for the front of the building, apartment and their bedroom.

Bathrooms are shared. Each bathroom has a shower and western style toilet. The water is hot to ensure you keep warm in the chilly city of Cusco! The house has Wi-Fi and a communal area for volunteers to hang out. There is also a kitchen with a refrigerator to store any items you need to keep chilled, but the families will prepare all meals (including a packed lunch if you wish).

The families of the homestay normally have a separate area within the house for their family, but they love to interact with volunteers and hear about your days. This ensures you have round the clock support and security along with the chance to improve your Spanish language skills.
Dorm Room Guest Family
Food & Beverages
Volunteers will be provided with breakfast, lunch and dinner every day during their time with PMGY. Breakfast and dinner are served at the homestay, whereas for lunch we provide you with a packed lunch (upon request). Boiled and filtered water is also available at the homestay(s) for volunteers.

Most meals are traditional Peruvian dishes. Peruvian cuisine consists of a lot of rice or quinoa and the meat is mainly chicken. Most meals will incorporate lots of carbs and vegetables compared to the UK so please be open-minded around this! Due to the altitude, you will notice that your breakfast and dinner meals are quite small and lunch is very big. Going to sleep with a full stomach is hard on the body and at such an altitude it is difficult to digest large quantities of food. It may take you a few days for your body to accustom to this as well.

The main meats are chicken, fish and alpaca. There are a number of western restaurants around a 10-minute drive from the accommodation should you fancy picking up some home comforts. There are also some Vegan and Indian restaurants in Cusco. Our local team will tell you all about the options available to you during your in-country orientation.

Our team will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements but there may be instances where you may need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense.
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) in Cuzco. We assist you to find cheap flights to Peru.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Peru provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Peru you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Peru.
Costs (Prices in USD)
4 weeks (min. stay)
6 weeks
8 weeks
10 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Cusco/Peru between 4 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Plan My Gap Year will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Peru.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Plan My Gap Year during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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