Here at Volunteers Peru we value the diversity of all those who spend their time volunteering with our projects. From Uruguay to France and even Australia, we have volunteers from all over the world come join us and help support the projects we've identified in Peru!
With a such diversity among our volunteers, we're often asked- How important is it for a volunteer to be able to speak Spanish at your volunteer sites? The short answer- important.
While we definitely don't expect all of our volunteers to have a native level of speaking and listening skills in Spanish, we strongly believe that a volunteer's experience, as well as their ability to assist at our program sites, becomes far more substantial with an intermediate level of Spanish. As many of our past volunteers who arrived with only a basic level of Spanish have shared with us, being able to interact and speak with the children you work with not only makes your time more fun, but you're better able to assist as a volunteer and truly feel like a part of the community you're working in. The ability to communicate with those at the project sites is a key to building strong, meaningful relationships and to making the most out of your time with us!
But what about volunteers who only have a basic understanding of Spanish? While having a stronger grasp on the Spanish language is definitely helpful, we feel that even those with only a basic level of Spanish have the ability to grow and improve their language skills during their time here. We encourage these volunteers to prepare for their trip by practicing their Spanish skills with the help of an app like Duolingo, listening to Spanish language podcasts, or accessing any other free online resource! For volunteers who would like further help and support upon arrival, we can help arrange Spanish lessons that would take place during your time in Arequipa.
Our main priority at Volunteers Peru is to create a meaningful exchange between our volunteers and the individuals that they interact with at our project sites. While we believe that Spanish communication skills are helpful in facilitating these exchanges, we understand that all of our volunteers come with different language levels and are committed to working with them individually to make their experience a positive one! For that reason, our volunteers always have access to both or Project Manager and our Project Coordinator for support in this process. For those who would like it, they can direct you to language resources within Arequipa, or simply help to facilitate any necessary communication for you as needed!