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Volunteer In ILP's First South American Progam — Peru!

Posted by Jen King on 12/11/23 11:28 AM


A semester abroad in Peru has got it all! Spot penguins where the red rock cliffs back up to the sea, learn to surf in Lima, and photograph the Rainbow Mountains. And of course ... Machu Picchu! No trip to Peru is complete without a trip through ancient (and so iconic) Incan sites. And the highlight of it all — As an ILP volunteer, you get to make your Peru experience so much more meaningful by serving in our Humanitarian program.

Peru is already a favorite vacation spot for ILP volunteers in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico and we're not wondering why. This country is jam-packed with adventures, steep in history and culture, and incredibly diverse.

But now .... you can spend your entire semester here! Oh and bonus, you'll be living by the coast. Get ready to experience Peru.

Let's Get You Started
Apply now to volunteer in Peru


Ready to find out if this country is right for you? We've got all the highlights on this ILP program and answers to frequently asked questions right here.

  1. Peru Program Quick Facts
  2. Life In Pisco
  3. Volunteering
  4. Vacations
  5. How To Apply
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Quick Peru Program Facts

Semester Timeframes

There are 3 trips throughout the year that you can join! Trips are about 3 months and it lines up pretty close with typical college semesters (so if you're a student, it fits well with your schedule).

Spring Depart late February/mid March - return mid May/early June
Summer — Depart late May/mid June - return late August/early September
Fall — Depart late August/mid September - return early/mid December (home by Christmas!) 


This program is a good fit for:

  • Volunteers from the United States
  • Single females/males and married couples
  • 18-25(ish) years old — hot tip: you can apply up to 1.5 years in advance, but you just need to turn 18 by the day your semester starts!

No experience required! More on this below, but during your trip you'll be teaching English classes to local kids part-time. We utilize a specific teaching methodology to help the kids learn naturally — We'll provide training and support so that you can be confident and effective with your classes. No teaching experience is required (you don't even need to speak Spanish!). 

International Language Programs was set up to be a meaningful adventure for college-age young adults. It's geared towards giving you life experiences. You're in good company if you don't even have a passport yet, if it's your first time living away from home, and are more than a little nervous about jumping on a plane to go live in Peru for a few months. That's the case for so many of our volunteers! You just need a desire to do good things for others and are ready to take a big fat giant leap out of your comfort zone.



The program fee for volunteers in Peru is $3,970. As with all ILP programs, this one time fee includes things like:

  • Roundtrip international airfare to Peru from the U.S.
  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • Housing for the semester
  • At home meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner)
  • WiFi
  • Pre-Departure and In-Country Training
  • An ILP Support Team

There is a $30 application fee that's due when you apply (it goes towards your program fee, not in addition to it) and there is a $100 discount if you're paying in full within 3 weeks of being accepted. Aside from that though, we have payment plans. You can pay in increments and make it work with your budget.

In country purchases such as vacations, excursions, and shopping are not included. Most volunteers recommend budgeting around $1,500-3,500 to cover that (this number highly depends on your spending habits and is just an estimate!). If you'd like to travel out of the country on vacation, you'll likely be in the higher end of that range.

Your Group

We'll start with around 6-10 volunteers, plus 1 Head Teacher in this program. There's room to grow here though and we can't wait to continue expanding in future semesters!


Life In Peru

Your City

ILP volunteers are living in Pisco, a few hours south of the capital and right outside of the oh so popular Paracas Peninsula. Home is in a tiny port town, just a few minutes walk from the Pacific coast.

Your home town is totally off the tourist radar, but you're also 30 minutes away from beaches, kayaking, sand dunes, and even penguins! It's the perfect mix of living in a local community and getting an authentic look at Peruvian life, while also having so many adventures at your back door.

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Weekend Trips From Pisco

Your weekends are going to be full of little day trips — head to the artsy city of Lima to wander the colorful streets and take surf lessons, lounge on the sandy beaches in the Paracas reserve, take a helicopter ride over 2,000 year old geoglyphs drawn in the sand, and go sandboarding at the Huacachina desert oasis.

The Ballestas Islands are one of the biggest pulls in the area. To give you an idea of what it's like ... think the Galapagos Islands. No seriously! This spot is actually known as "the poor man's Galapagos". These rocky islands right off the Peruvian coast are full of all kinds of wildlife, everything from dolphins and penguins to sea lions (and sooooo many birds). You'll definitely want to take a boat ride out here.

Check out this post for a list of weekend trips that you're going to love while you're living in Pisco.


Playa Roja, Paracas National Reserve, Peru


Ballestas Islands, Peru

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Nazca Lines, Peru


Huacachina, Peru


This is the heart of the experience! Volunteering in Peru means you'll get to help local kids learn English. And don't worry if you've never taught before — we have a teaching methodology that takes some practice but is easy to learn. We keep class sizes small (usually around 8 students per volunteer) so that you can spend invaluable one-on-one time with the kids. So many volunteers say that they came for the travel, but that their time with the kids ended up being the best part of the entire trip.

Throughout the semester, you'll spend about half a day volunteering during the week, Monday-Friday (up to 4 hours with the kids plus transportation, preparation, and cleanup time). And then you've always got Saturday and Sunday off for exploring!

Making A Difference

The ILP Program in Peru is Humanitarian. This means the kids in your English classes come from families who have very limited means. They wouldn't otherwise be able to afford extracurricular activities like this and your service is a free gift to them. In the long term, speaking English fluently is a skill that will serve them greatly later in life.


How It Works

You'll have around 9 days off from teaching that are spread throughout the semester allowing for vacations to other destinations. It can be a bit different from semester to semester but a lot of times that looks like a couple of 4-day trips and another that is a bit longer.

You and your ILP group are free to decide how you spend your vacation time! Want to explore the top of Machu Picchu before heading to the Sacred Valley? Down to go white water rafting outside of Arequipa? Peru is so diverse and provides all kinds of bucket list-worthy experiences.

The gist is that ILP isn't putting you on a tour bus and saying here's your adventure, all planned out. You get to create the experiences you want to have! We do have an approval process and some destinations or activities are subject to be off-limits so that we can help empower you to be a wise traveler. Once you're in-country your group will just submit tentative vacation plans to our Support Team, but for now you can start dreaming up where you want to go.

Exploring Peru

We think Machu Picchu is going to be a popular option. It's a World Wonder after all! A trip to Peru isn't complete without visiting some of the Incan ruins sprinkled throughout the country  (don't forget about Kueleap, the Machu Picchu of the north).

Then there's also Huaraz, "Peruvian Switzerland". Come visit this city set 10,000 feet above sea level, right in the Andes, with mountain views in every direction. Magical is just the first word that comes to mind with Huaraz!

You could spend a few days in the jungle too! Puerto Maldonado is your access to kayaking and ziplining through the Amazon.

If you love to hike, Peru is your perfect match. In the south, there is Colca Canyon which is often compared to the Grand Canyon (but even deeper). There are cascading turquoise pools in canyons, natural hot springs, white water rafting, snorkeling, kayaking, boat trips, helicopter rides over geoglyphs etched in the sand  ... the list goes on and on.


Maras Salt Mine, Sacred Valley, Peru

Jumping Over To Other Countries

You could easily spend all of your vacation time in Peru, but you're also free to country hop as well. ILP volunteers who are living in Mexico, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica have vacationed in Peru during their semesters, and you're able to do the same. You don't have to be jealous that other volunteers get to go volcano boarding in Nicaragua ... make it happen!

Being based in Peru puts you in a prime spot to visit new destinations that ILP volunteers haven't been to quite yet. We fully expect that we'll keep discovering new gems over time, but here are just a few spots that look so rad right off the bat:

Patagonia — This is an expansive area that spans the southern edges of Argentina and Chile. Catch a flight down to Puerto Montt, Chile and you're off to the races! Come for glaciers, world-class hiking, and views for days. This article is just the start of what's possible in Patagonia.

Punta Arenas, Chile — Head down to the southern tip of South America (and the gateway to Antarctica!). Explore the colorful city and sail through the Strait of Magellan to Isla Magdalena where a colony of cutie penguins are waiting for you.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador — You do have the Ballestas Islands right outside your home in Pisco which gives you a small taste of these more famous islands. But if you're hungry for more, Ecuador is just a flight (or two) to the north.

Buenos Aires + Iguazu Falls, Argentina — Explore the capital city before heading over to these thundering falls. Iguazu Falls beats out both Niagra and Victoria, making it the largest system of falls in the world. And another fun fact ... ILP's program director has been allllll over the world and he says this might just be one of his favorite places. It's that cool. Iguazu Falls sits right on the border of Argentina and Brazil, so you can actually hop over to the Brazil side for another view (and so you can say you've been to Brazil!).  


Glaciar Perito Moreno, Argentina in Patagonia

Isla Magdalena, Chile AdobeStock_354041847

Isla Magdalena, Chile

Iguazu Falls AdobeStock_551170830

Iguazu Falls, Argentina + Brazil

How To Apply


The first semester in Peru will be Spring 2024, departing around the end of February/early March!

Is there still room for me to apply for the first trip this Spring? Yes, we still have availability to volunteer with us this Spring, so if that semester works best, we encourage you to apply.

Hot tip though: We do have people who have already started their application for Spring 2024 and are working towards getting assigned to a location. If you haven't started your application and want the greatest chance of getting a spot in Peru, we'd recommend applying for Summer 2024, Fall 2024, or Spring 2025 instead.

I've already applied, can I add Peru to my list of country preferences? Yes, we can add it to your list of places you're interested in being assigned to! Just email your Rep or office@ilp.org and we can take a look at that. We will be following our normal policies to be fair in determining who qualifies to receive an assignment.

What semesters are open right now for Peru? We're currently accepting new applications to volunteer in Peru for Spring 2024, Summer 2024, Fall 2024, and Spring 2025! Apply today by starting your online application.

Head Teachers

Hey ILP alumni! We are currently accepting applications for Peru Head Teachers for all available semesters, Spring 2024-Spring 2025! The program fee for Head Teachers in this humanitarian location is $1,000, and you'll also receive a stipend to help with things like vacations and shopping throughout the semester.

Start your HT application here or submit this quick form to chat with the Head Teacher rep and get any questions answered.

Curious about what's involved with being a Head Teacher? Learn all about it here.


Volunteer In Peru!

We're accepting applications now to join a group of ILP volunteers for a semester abroad in Peru. Help children learn English, get an authentic taste of the culture for a few months, and explore some of the most famous travel destinations in the world. Click that button to learn more!

Discover Peru

Topics: South America

Hey friends!

We are ILP, a Utah-based non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We love travel so we're sharing all our tips for making the most of your time living abroad + seeing the world, and how to do it all on the tiniest budget.

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