START DATES

EVERY MONTH

PRICED FROM

$1725 + $249 REGISTRATION FEE

DURATION

6-12 WEEKS

MINIMUM AGE

18 YEARS OLD

REAL SOUTH AMERICA ENCOUNTER

PMGY’s Real South America Encounter takes to Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru. We seriously can’t think of a more sublime combination of mysterious, picturesque and charming countries to volunteer in, over a mind blowing 6-12 weeks. In South America, you will encounter countless views of the Sierra Madre and Andes mountains, wildlife species including leatherback sea turtles, 2-toed sloths and spider monkeys along with lasting tastes of the delicious Peruvian Ceviche or Costa Rican Dados de Queso! South America’s various climates and infinite sights will leave you wishing you never had to leave.

 

Your first stop will be in beautiful Costa Rica which has been an explorer’s dream for decades. In the ‘world’s happiest country’ you will be sure to feel those cheek muscles becoming sore from the infinite amount of smiles you receive and give! Its landscape is diverse with crystal blue waters, dense rainforest and over 60 volcanoes waiting for you to explore. Be sure to get comfortable with a bit of close interaction because each person you greet will be up for a kiss on the cheek. You will no doubt remember the blissful memories of Costa Rica after your time visiting this amazing country.

 

Combine adventure travel with community volunteering as well as ticking off all the ‘must-do’s’ on Costa Rica’s list. You will spend your first-week learning or enhancing the beautiful Spanish language with the remainder of your time in Costa Rica volunteering in either a childcare setting or teaching English to children of all ages. While Costa Rica has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, the use of English isn’t as often as one would think. Many of the local people are still unable to communicate properly in English and with your time interacting with them, we are sure they will improve!

 

Your next stop is Ecuador. Get ready for another adventure because your next 2-4 weeks will be spent in the mesmerising city of Quito. Considered the “middle of the world,” Quito, Ecuador, offers travellers a unique opportunity to walk the equatorial line and immerse themselves in amazing cultures while reaching staggering heights. The capital’s historic district, considered the largest and best preserved in South America, was declared a World Heritage site. Across the city, you’ll find spots such as La Compañía de Jesús, the Baroque masterpiece of America and La Plaza Grande, the centre of Quito’s historic achievements, which narrates the history of the city. From this well-cultured city, you will find yourself in the prime location to visit the Galapagos Islands to witness unique wildlife, Mindo for a bit of rafting, Salinas if you like surf or Otavalo home to one of the most colourful markets in the Andes.

 

Your volunteering choices are very varied. Contribute to the lives of children with learning difficulties; teach English to help children reach their full potential within an indigenous setting; gain practical medical experience and insight on elective programmes; provide encouragement and compassion to children whom suffered from domestic violence and abandonment.

 

Your last stop will be Peru – the home of Machu Picchu, the empire of the Incans. The ancient Inca ruins are considered to be some of the most beautiful and mysterious sites in the world and you won’t just encounter visiting this glorious city; they are all over Peru! The real gem of your time in this country will be the people. Peruvians are an interesting bunch of extremely polite, hardworking, peaceful and cultured. Be sure to ask of their Quechua roots, they may even teach you a phrase or two! Be ready for bright colours, warm smiles, stone streets, snow-capped mountains, unexplained Nazca symbols, temple ruins and meals that will leave your taste buds pleased.

 

You will spend time in the heart of Peru, meeting breath-taking views and delectable cuisine as well as make a positive difference volunteering at local projects. PMGY’s development work in Cusco runs throughout the year and you will have a choice at teaching indigenous children the English language, enhance your medical knowledge by being advise by clinical nurses & physicians and provide insight to the world at the feet of the less fortunate in the childcare programmes provided for the working street children, domestically abused and abandoned.

 

You can choose any standard volunteering programme during the online application process but please be advised they are subject to availability and there may be an additional cost associated with some project options.

SPANISH REQUIREMENTS

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.

 

All PMGY volunteers in Costa Rica will participate on the Language Immersion Programme for the first week of their experience. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons and a number of different social activities. The aim of this week it to try and improve your level of Spanish before you start volunteering in week 2.

 

PMGY also 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.

 

Once you are in-country then you are also able to organise additional Spanish lessons directly with our local team.

VOLUNTEER PROJECTS

COSTA RICA CHILDCARE

Despite the high levels of education and standard of living in Costa Rica, profound poverty still affects families of low social status. It is hard to believe, but some individuals live on less than $1.50 a day! While education is free and mandatory over 280,000 children do not attend school because families depend on them to generate income. The government involvement in the country has heightened in the last decade, which has resulted in children either neglected, abandoned or forced out of their homes to be placed in Social Welfare Housing.

 

Much of the assistance for Social Welfare Housing stems from organisations or religious associations from the local area. The local church will raise funds and hosts events to provide activities and engagement for the children under the care of the governmental systems. The purpose of this is to establish an awareness within the community and engage the churches to give them a role and responsibility in the lives of these children. Activities for those in the system include self-awareness, women’s healthcare & puberty assistance, counselling, education assistance and more. Due to the interaction of the church there is a great influence of Christianity and volunteers will encounter this on a consistent basis.

 

The hope of these institutions is that the home is a bridge to gap the time from their original home to their new home. The foster care system is very strong in aiding to the needs of the children and helping them cope with the lifestyle they came from. In many cases children have been victims abuse. The children are provided with stimulating activities, education, nutrition, healthy home-environment, weekly evaluations with a psychologist and community engagement.

 

While this reality is hard to face, these housing facilities are a much better outcome than the life of child prostitution, drug abuse, gang violence and crime awaiting them on the streets. The mission of PMGY Costa Rica is to provide assistance for the care givers and offer companionship for the children within these settings. To ensure our volunteers are equipped the childcare programme will include 1 week of language classes to start your project!

 

On the other end of the spectrum, many parents whom can find work will start early in the morning and work well into the evening. Coronado has a series of nurseries for young children to attend where they are provided meals, education and a place to rest. Volunteers are especially needed in these locations as the ratio of caregivers to children is 1:25 at times. The children are very cute and full of energy so get ready for craft time, meals and lots of singing!

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – MATERNO EDUCATIVO LOS NINOS PRIMERO

 

Materno Educativo Los Ninos Primero is located just outside central Coronado. Playing host to around 40 children each day, volunteers play a key role in supporting the more limited local support team.

 

Ages of the children range from as young as 2 month up to around 6 years. The project is open from 6am to 6pm although the volunteer schedule usually runs from around 7.30am to 12.30pm. Volunteers are welcome to stay as long as they wish at the project should they want to continue into the afternoon session.

 

The morning schedule sees more children in attendance and more activities and class based learning. In the afternoons when there are lower numbers of children, the day care centre tends to adopt a more relaxed approach with more play and recreation time.

 

The project itself is very well resourced and maintained. Volunteers are encouraged to be as creative and proactive as possible to engage with all the children and plan activities. The children are generally from the poorer areas of the local community even though the centre is well resourced so your physical support at the project can certainly go a long way.

 

Due to the education and support at the project volunteers are requested to have intermediate Spanish on this project. The project staff will generally only tend to speak in Spanish with very limited English.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – GOTITAS DE SABIDURIA

 

Gotitas de Sabiduria is in the main hub of Coronado. This nursery is about a 30-minute walk from the accommodation, which takes you right through the centre of town! The project cares for up to 30 children from 7am to 7pm Monday to Friday providing them meals, music & art activities and minor education in grammar. The mornings is when the project premises is busiest and when volunteer support is more appreciated.

 

The project is available for a mix of ages from caring for new-borns up to children aged 12 years. There are 6 local staff members based at the project that you will be working alongside.

 

The teachers believe that no two students have exactly the same skill set or learning style. The classrooms are full of activity and learning time to cater to many different children and their learning styles. Volunteer interaction enhances this opportunity with small group activities or one-on-one learning. Teachers will utilise volunteers by preparing small lessons in areas such as colours, English alphabet, songs and active learning including games and crafts. Examples of crafts may be ‘Letter of the Week’ allowing with finger-painting, making paper-puppets to learn about animals, using objects to demonstrate basic English words. We ask that volunteer use their imagination and get involved in the lesson planning for the children!

 

If you like working with babies there are 5-10 at the project each day. The caregivers are always in need of assistance in areas such as cleaning, changing, feeding, soothing and playing. These little ones need a lot of love and attention to thrive and grow each day. Volunteers helping out in this area will be essential as 1 caregiver managing many infants can be very challenging and the extra pair of arms means one more person to sooth the little one and enhance their sensory interaction.

 

Volunteers will assist the teachers with activities, assist with meal time and nap time, play with the children and teach them English with songs and games. The children will generally only be responsive to instructions in Spanish, but some of the staff have basic, but limited English to converse in.

COSTA RICA ENGLISH TEACHING

In the beautiful city of Coronado the communities are rapidly developing and due to this classrooms are exceeding manageable numbers. Teachers are overseeing classrooms of as many as 30 students, which is providing for much needed assistance. For over a century education has been free for all citizens and this has very much paid off! The literacy rate of Costa Rica is 95% and most students will graduate secondary school with some form of specialised training.

 

The belief behind free education is the empowering future that comes as a result. The government believes that providing a solid education will then provide the country with future scientists, businessmen and government leaders to advance with the times and have similar beliefs. The mission of the Costa Rican school system is, “To create a well-educated populace that will one day improve their national (and even global) lot.” Costa Rica is a community based society and the belief of their students isn’t to build individual success, but to create a foundation for the success of humanity.

 

In 1869 Costa Rica was the first country in Central America to make education free for all citizens. Much of the funding was founded after the military was disbanded in the late 1950s and poured into the education system. Since the early 70s more than 30% of the country’s budget was invested into the education. So much so that while in the country you will find there to be more teachers than policemen!

 

Primary education is mandatory for children 6 to 13 years old lasting 6 years in total followed by a voluntary Secondary education lasting five years. Secondary education will be separated into 2 parts. The first three years will provide students with general education including maths, science and grammar. The final two years are for specialised training such as computer science, media & technology, clinical assistance and childcare training.

 

The public and private school systems are similar as the curriculum is enforced and determined by the Ministry of Education. The major difference between the two will be that extra classes are offered to follow that of the US preparing their students to travel abroad for university education. Courses can be taught in multiple languages to ensure that when graduation comes the students receive accreditations equivalent to that of the US diploma or the International Baccalaureate Diploma. The cost of private education is very high and only those from high-income families are able to receive such programmes.

 

Social classes are a major factor in the social system of Costa Rica. Costa Ricans feel that their high education sets them apart from those of less fortune and due to this there has been great focus on expansion of primary and secondary education. Families born into the lower classes will almost always remain in this class, but in certain cases due to free education and family sacrifice children can be placed into private education or English classes that progress them into further levels of education. This is where free assistance within the public school system can really provide a fighting chance for those of lower classes.

 

PMGY Costa Rica is happy to provide assistance and lessons for the teachers of Coronado. The best part about the programmes in Costa Rica is that each volunteer programme starts out with 1 week of Spanish classes to ensure you are able to apply yourself with the children and teachers! This especially helps during English lessons. Many teachers have studied with foreign educators, but do so in a University level meaning that even their English was developed at an older level. Volunteers have the chance to start educating the students as young as 6 years old in the public-school system just a five-minute walk from the Volunteer House.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – CRESTON EDUCATION CENTRE

 

The Colegio Cooperativo de Educación Integral De Coronado (also known as Creston) is a nursery, primary and secondary education centre for children aged 3 – 18 years. The school’s focus is largely on family and cultural infusions within the Costa Rican curriculum. The school day starts around 7:30am and ends mid-afternoon. The school offers students classes in Spanish, History, Biology, Maths and Reading. English is a class that very much needs that assistance of volunteers for activities, lessons and engagement.

 

Volunteers can plan to join the programme from 8am to 2pm assisting the teachers, engagement in physical education, helping with homework and preparing lessons for English classes. Class sizes are 20-30 students meaning that volunteer assistance is greatly appreciated! If you have creative ideas whether working in a nursery, primary or secondary education PMGY Costa Rica would love to have you! There are no skills or experience required to join this programme as long as you are a hard-working and proactive volunteer.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – THE SCHOOL INSTITUTE OF INTEGRAL EDUCATION

 

Instituto de Educación Integral y Hogar San Agustín was founded in 1983 by the psychologist and educator Otto Silesky, as an alternative centre for the attention of the particularities of adolescent students. Since its foundation, the Institute focused on the incorporation of digital technologies as a tool to address diversity within an inclusion perspective, which has allowed young people to develop according to their potential.

 

The educational proposal of the Institute of Integral Education is focused on the attention of individuals, prioritizing their needs, interests and particular characteristics. It not only focuses on content teaching but also on the development of strategies to learn, making the most of individual capacities and available resources. The school has a program of hydroponics, pastry, cooking class, craft, carpentry and other workshops that complement the education of students.

 

The San Agustín Home works in tandem with the project in giving education, attention and protection to 15 male adolescents at social risk and without parents. The programme is all about learning according to the rhythm of the individual and promoting their inclusion and social integration taking into account emotional, social and cognitive aspects.

 

This project environment can be a more challenging environment than others, but equally far more rewarding and involved than other projects. Volunteer tasks will include coordinating activities with the teachers, running language classes, supporting with administration, helping in different workshops and assisting students with their homework.

 

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.

ECUADOR CHILDCARE

Ecuador is home to over 200,000 neglected children due to abandonment, death and alcoholism. Many children are forced into homes and life on the streets due to dysfunctional settings or abuse within their own families.

 

A major reason for neglected children is the cultural acceptance of child marriage resulting an increased rate of births to mothers 10-14 years of age. The lower aged mothers result in a decreased level of familiarity on proper health and nutrition for infants. In indigenous population, over 50% of children have a high level of Chronic malnutrition resulting in removal from their homes due to neglect.

 

Along with forms of neglect, there is the prevalence of abuse at high levels in countries of Latin America. Major areas of abuse are domestic violence and corporal punishment to women and children in the rural/indigenous communities. Children in children’s homes across the nation are subjects to many forms of abuse, but the most prominent is that of physical conduct by a male counterpart within the home.

 

While these actions have been termed ‘illegal’ in the new constitution of Ecuador, the use of this punishment stills carries on within the family culture. Violence towards women is one of the highest among the population with 7 out of 10 being victims in their life.

 

We work with one children’s home and a number of day care centres across Quito to provide project support within the Quito community. Volunteers could be placed at either of these settings when signing up to the childcare programme.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – ORFANTO SAN VICENTE DE PAUL

 

Orfanato San Vicente de Paul is a religious institution founded in the late 1800s to provide quality living for young children. The home serves as a protective destination for those that have been abandoned or mistreated. The rate of adoption in Ecuador is low, but possible, so this location is a temporary home for children.

 

Working with children is one of most fulfilling jobs. Volunteers at the children’s home help with the daily chores like cleaning, helping to feed the children, singing them songs, teaching them about hygiene and other important skills, playing with children in a recreational setting outdoors is also a big part of the job due to the limited time the caregivers have to do such an activity. The volunteer will have the chance to interact with the kids by organizing games, manual activities and other things to keep them busy. Taking the initiative and applying creativity is an important skill to have in this kind of work.

 

The work schedule is flexible and will be set between you and the local staff at the project. Thus volunteers will have the chance to make the most of their time. Please keep in mind that the centre’s resources are limited. It is important you know that you may have to face adverse situations. Please be respectful and responsible in your work, keep in mind you are a role model for these children! This volunteer project aims to instil in children important values such as care, respect and love for learning.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – ALEJO SANS DAY CARE CENTRE

 

Alejo Sans Day Care Centre is a community project founded in 2003. The origins behind the project is too provide a safe fun learning environment for young children who previously would spend time out at the markets with their working mothers in the sizzling heat with no structure or wellbeing.

 

Beginning as a small project with only one small room, the project has expanded too five large classroom formats home too 100 children aged from 1 to 3 years. The project runs across the day, but volunteers will usually join in the morning time for a 4 hour period before the children take their afternoon nap.

 

At the project volunteers will teach about hygiene, read stories, lead arts and crafts activities, play music, sing songs and help the local staff with snacks and breakfast time. There is usually 1 or 2 local staff members in each classroom for volunteer support.

ECUADOR ENGLISH TEACHING

Based on Global view Ecuador has a very good school system which requires all school aged children to attend classes until they achieve a basic level of education.

 

The public school system has a high level of enrolled children reflecting the government requirements are met, but, unfortunately, the level of participation in ages 15+ has decreased over the years in rural communities. Education is provided by the government for primary and secondary public students, but families are facing significant additional costs for extra classes and transportation. Due to this many aren’t able to continue to higher education or have the ability to speak English properly.

 

The private-school system tends to have extended student involvement, which then provides the necessary requirements for higher education levels such as university or training courses. Many of these institutions are run by churches requiring courses in religion along with maths, science, Spanish and at times other languages. There is an increasing number of private and international schools that offer courses in English, but the spaces on are limited.

 

In Ecuador, the government and local organisations have improved the quality of education not only for the general public, but also for special needs students across the nation. The areas of focus are for those that suffer from intellectual, physical, visual and hearing disabilities. Due to the changes in 2006, there are programmes from pre-primary to professional studies for over 30,000 students with special needs.

 

The PMGY English Teaching Volunteer Programme in Ecuador enables volunteers to teach English in two different environments based on interest. One is a typical classroom setting called Federico Gauss Secondary School with cultural influences of indigenous beliefs. This is the most common and structured placement volunteers typically participate on and feel most useful on when working at a teaching project.

 

The other project is more niche within a school for the blind and deaf. Those with skills in sign language and experience in working with children with such special needs will be very useful in supporting the local project staff at this location. Both teaching project settings offer a unique experience for volunteers!

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – THE FEDERICO GAUSS SECONDARY SCHOOL

 

The Federico Gauss Secondary School is a local secondary school that teaches young adults with some slight behavioural issues or misconduct in the public or private school setting. The school is a private institution that applies indigenous beliefs alongside an artistic curriculum. The classrooms are in group settings of 8-24 students based on their ability (ages 12-18). Courses can include general maths, science and English, while arts are very important including computer science, media and history. The teaching programme lasts from 8am to 12pm, but there are many opportunities to join in the afternoon for tutoring as the school day finishes typically at 2pm.

 

The project’s top priority is to improve the level of English of future generations of Quito since many of the people take English from primary, but with a basic curriculum including only minimal vocabulary and limited verbal skills. Most primary schools are understaffed leaving children without a proper understanding of the material to move forward in their education.

 

Volunteers in this project work with the teachers during the class schedule, help to prepare classes, help teachers with marking, tutor the children and play with them during class breaks. There is a sports yard at the school where volunteers can help with physical education activities. Those with experience in media or computer science may have opportunities to educate and assist the students with their film assignments by instructing interviews, broadcasting or equipment used while recording. If volunteers want to provide assistance with software including office, video design or simple lessons about the use of a computer, the school is always in need! The children love to expand their knowledge of the arts in any area.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – THE INSTITUTO MARIANA DE JESUS

 

The Instituto Mariana de Jesus is a school for special needs students. Classes are specialized for blind and deaf children to provide assistance in computer science, language skills, sign language, reading, occupational skills, training for family members and other general education.

 

Students that are deaf or blind will engage in activities to further enhance their other senses so that they can then express themselves in the appropriate way to caregivers. Volunteers with experience in sign-language are of great need in the school, but this is not a requirement. Activities that the deaf children are involved in are story strips, jigsaw puzzles and visual diaries. Children that are blind are encouraged with activities such as texture matching, braille and the use of technology for those with vision impairment. All of these activities require assistance.

 

The families of the children in this institution at times find the tasks very difficult and require instruction or assistance while visiting the school. Activities that require volunteer assistance are primarily sensory activities and volunteer input is greatly valued! For those with sensory knowledge the teachers are always looking for new and creative ideas to engage the children. There is no bad idea and for that we ask volunteers to create activity plans for the classroom as well as for parents to do in a home setting.

 

The daily routine is essential for many of the children within this institution and your assistance in the school is greatly needed by both the teachers and parents. Volunteers will be involved in the classroom from 8am to 12pm with groups of 1-4 children based on their level of need. The tasks may include one-on-one assistance for classroom projects, educating children in general education such as maths, science and English or preparing lessons.

 

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.

ECUADOR MEDICAL

In the late 1990s, Ecuador suffered from an extremely weak government with one of the worst financial systems in Latin America. The healthcare provided was that of the middle ages with costs that were never to be met by the monthly salary of $210.00 per citizen. The system was failing and with unemployment at over 10% of the population and 20% at poverty level, people were faced with little to no solution.

 

In 2000 Rafael Correa took office and in the first years, although hit with crisis after crisis, established one of the strongest healthcare systems of the continent. At the start, there were so few hospitals and medical care providers that patients were receiving the level of care one would have in an extremely rural clinic in the major city of Quito. Due to these measures, Correa invested over $2,000 million into the healthcare budget and commissioned 18 new hospitals in major cities along with 250 healthcare centres and health clinics in rural villages nationwide.

 

Since these changes, locals describe all care to be equal across the country, whether they are visiting a rural village clinic or a major hospital in Quito. The care will be nearly the same quality with only a difference in the availability of specialists in the small facilities.

 

Changes to the healthcare system are also reflected by the levels of coverage. The system is broken down into four parts; private, public, social care and no coverage. Those with private care are the working class; this care is provided under a purchased insurance plan. In addition to the private system, there is the Social Care system, which is similar to the Social Security system of the United States. This system applies to citizens that have applied portions of their income for a duration of time to the government care plan, which allows for a coverage in healthcare. The public system is free to everyone who has been denied care; in most cases, this is for those with a terminal illness, over the age of 60, under the age of 10 and impoverished.

 

PMGY Volunteers are going to apply their time in a public hospital in Quito. The project is at Hospital Pablo Arturo Suarez; one of the few care centres offering free healthcare for the people in and around the capital. This is the second biggest public hospital in Quito. The hospital provides volunteers with the opportunity to join on 8 different wards including internal medicine (speciality departments), paediatrics, gynaecology, occupational therapy, trauma, out-patient and surgery consult department.

 

The hospital is very happy to have university students and medical volunteers, but they take the position quite seriously. Volunteers on this project are not required to have any medical education, but advised to have some form of experience whether in a community care setting or clinical volunteering hours. The project does accept school leavers with no experience looking too enter the medical field, but such participants should be prepared with questions, learning objectives and a positive attitude to gain what they can from the programme.

 

The minimum time in any department will be 2 weeks and the ward will be assigned based on your level of Spanish. The recommended time for this medical project is 4+ weeks to properly apply yourself in the listed departments. When assigned to a department, on the first day you will meet and be introduced to the head of that department.

 

Medical participants are advised to note that all of the staff at the hospital typically only speak in Spanish and have little to no English. So volunteers will need to have a good level of Spanish to convey efficiently with the hospital staff otherwise they will incur a high language barrier and thus a frustrating learning experience.

 

Volunteers will join the programme Monday – Friday. The project will begin at 7:30am each day to ensure you get a busy morning. The average time on the project will be 5 hours finishing in the early afternoon or time of requested completion. An example of a day on the paediatric ward could be as follows:

 

7:30am – 8:30am Report to paediatric ward. Observe inpatient rounds with a nurse for medication, consultation and viewing
9am – 9:30am Observe injections for children in need of updated vaccine charting
9:30am – 10:30am Assist care provider by engaging children in games or play while they provide necessary treatment for external wounds, infections or therapy due to disabilities.
10:30am – 11am Break time
11am – 12pm Shadow doctor during rounds providing consultation and admission to the hospital
12pm – 12:30pm Assist care providers with counsel and care planning with family for patient discharge plan

 

While volunteering in Ecuador you may encounter illnesses such as acute respiratory infection, diarrhetic diseases, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, depression, malnutrition, physical abuse and altitude sickness. As this is a facility for those with low-income or unemployment the severity of illness will vary. This hospital provides care to those within the city and also the surrounding rural developments.

 

As a medical volunteer, you may encounter indigenous people that rely on holistic methods of care. The belief of the Incan people is to be one with Mother Earth and live a balanced life. The use of western medications or treatments doesn’t meet that of their traditional belief system. At times you may encounter those that have received many holistic treatments and due to the need of antibiotics or other medications, they are brought to the hospital in a severe state. The hospital system in general is centred around prescriptions of western medications for treatments.

 

Please be aware that care provisions may not meet the autonomy or standards of your home country. In South America volunteers may encounter situations where locals have been victims of domestic violence and/or other forms of physical assault. We ask that those on this programme keep an open mind and prepare for different experiences than they may encounter within their medical studies at home.

 

Volunteers are advised to bring with them 2 or 3 ID photos for their hospital ID they will then receive on their first day. This will allow more openings for participants in terms of greater department availability and entry openings. Volunteers in general will need to register sign in and sign out at the hospital department each day they attend.

 

Your level of involvement at the project is dictated by medical experience, duration of programme and willingness to get involved. The medical staff are accountable for you whilst you’re under their supervision, so it is completely up to them if you are permitted and want to get involved in hands-on procedures. Whilst previous PMGY volunteers have been given the chance to administer IV injections, dress wounds etc, we can never guarantee or promote hands-on involvement for participants regardless of their medical experience or background.

 

Generally speaking those with little or no medical experience assume a largely observational role. If you are studying medically related degree, then you should have more opportunity to undertake some more basic hands-on involvement. However, to reiterate we can never guarantee or endorse hands-on experience should you choose to get hands-on, as the decision ultimately lies with the medical staff.

PERU CHILDCARE

The majestic city of the Incas, while tourist based and thriving, is a city of the poor who come in from hungry villages hoping to sell their crafts, clothes and even pose for photos in traditional dress just to make enough to eat. Each year in the city of Cusco millions of tourist visit to explore the Incan culture and venture to Machu Picchu. Although there is such high tourism and a thriving economy more than half of the population still lives in poverty. Due to the inability to make enough money to support their families tourist will encounter child beggars at all hours of day and night. Among the poverty, the ageless majesty of the Incan empire radiates from the streets of this historic city. As you walk the cobble stone streets and witness the small girl posing with her Llama or the man pushing a cart of cheese to the nearby market, you can’t help but notice their features and recognise they are all direct descendants of the exceptional rulers of the Andes.

 

In this indigenous culture many children are subject to troubling home environments due to low income, addiction, violence and neglect. We work with local organisations to provide assistance to children with great need. The projects range from kindergartens and day care centres to supporting children with a range of physical and mental disabilities.

 

The kindergarten programmes and those for working children are essential in restoring families and providing necessary assistance to ensure children are not abandoned. By volunteering on these projects you are contributing so that children can be fed, educated and guided in becoming a good citizen to their community and interact in sports or crafts as appropriate to their age.

 

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.

 

Though lower class families receive some minor assistance from the government, in many situations they require their children to leave school and take to the streets for work. Due to this reality, at no cost, local groups including police, language schools, government institutions and local NGOs have teamed up to give food, shelter, entertainment and at times clothing for the young ones.

 

In many cases working children or those in the kindergarten will spend hours in the afternoon until late into the night following their mother as she trots through the plaza selling jewellery or food off a cart. It isn’t uncommon to go into a shop and find a little ones sleeping in the back or encounter a child on the lap of his grandmother as she roasts corn in an alleyway on the way home from a night out. With each volunteer there is a donation made direct to these projects and with that donation is more potential for these projects to enhance the experience for these children whether it be through providing additional resources or meals they otherwise could not afford.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – THE PRONOEI PROJECT

 

The Pronoei project is a non-formal kindergarten for low-income families to provide care and education for those that cannot afford it. This organization is funded by the Ministry of Education of Peru. The programme is run by a member of the community, also known as a mother, to maintain the centre working as a teacher. The project is open for 4 hours of the day and the cost is as little as $5 per month.

 

The children are 3 to 5 years old in one combined class. The working hours for this project are 9am to 12:30 pm assisting the ‘mother’ with different tasks including lesson planning, playing with the children, organising workshops for the network of teachers to improve care of children in this programme across Cusco and assisting in areas such as nutrition by preparing meals and hygiene like brushing teeth, washing hands and bathing. This programme provides volunteers with the ability to create their own day on the project getting involved in whichever areas they find interest with the children.

 

The project is generally home to around 30 children with just one community teacher usually leading the programme and providing the support mechanism for the children. The facilities are not only overcrowded and manic, but very small, under-resourced and condensed so volunteer support is very much appreciated!

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – THE ESCUELA ESPECIAL SAN JUAN DE DIOS

 

The Escuela Especial San Juan de dios is a school centre for children 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! 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 8am to 1pm, but at times there are occupational training courses for the older children from 1pm to 6pm.

 

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 groups during their period of volunteering or they can stay within one group.

 

At Escuela Especial San Juan de dios 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.

 

For our childcare and teaching community projects we generally recommend where possible a minimum 4 week commitment from volunteers so both the volunteer and project can maximise their experience. We still have project availability for 2 and 3 week placement options where the placement benefits from volunteer support, but projects are usually limited to kindergartens for childcare and the afterschool project for the English teaching for shorter term volunteers.

PERU DOG SHELTER

As in many Latin American countries, Peru is home to a large number of stray dogs. The sad reality is that many of these dogs are homeless and thus subject to illness, hunger and even abuse. The stray dog overpopulation is a growing problem in Peru as free-roaming dogs (these are dogs with owners that are often left to their own devices) roam freely throughout the day mating with the homeless strays and increasing the number of strays on the streets of Peru.

 

Cusco, the location of our all our community projects in Peru, is one of the biggest hotspots of stray dogs across the whole of Peru. A tourist hotspot, authorities in Cusco typically have a pessimistic outlook that the stray dogs bring illness and can be aggressive to the tourist population that brings a lot to the city. They have traditionally adopted a more brutal approach to managing the strays dog population through culling mechanisms. Previously there had been no centralised government programme in Peru to control the stray dog overpopulation so that the management process of controlling stray dog numbers was often left up to each local administration divisions.

 

Naturally, many disagreed with the authorities tough approach line and protests were a regular occurrence in Cusco’s main square. November 2015 represented huge progress for animal welfare workers across Peru as the Peruvian Congress approved the Animal Protection and Welfare Law. This law classifies animals as sentient beings and punishes those found guilty of animal cruelty with three to five years in prison.

 

These days, dog lovers within the Cusco community take more humane approaches to save Peru’s street dogs. Examples of this include mobile clinics, educational outreach campaigns in local schools and setting up dog shelters. PMGY have teamed up with a dog shelter in Cusco that takes care of dogs that have been rescued from the streets. The shelter is home to approximately 125 dogs that receive food and care on a daily basis. There are two staff members that work at the shelter on a daily basis who will be the local support for volunteers when at the project.

 

Our dog shelter project allows volunteers to experience their love of animals during their time in Peru. Working at the centre of the project, your daily tasks will make a positive contribution to the care and wellbeing these rescued dogs receive. Here is a selection of some of the main things you can expect to get involved in during the week:

 

– Assisting the local staff with the care of the animals
– Feeding the dogs
– Playing and enrichment activities with select dogs
– Cleaning the shelter
– Helping with general maintenance
– Local support campaigns within Cusco
– Assisting with marketing and communications for the dog shelter association to help fundraising opportunities
– Showing off your creative side to dynamically raise awareness about animal issues in Cusco.
– For those involved in veterinary work or have relevant experience, depending on availability it may be possible to assist in the rehabilitation of dogs with severe trauma

 

Dog shelters across Peru typically receive little to no government funding or assistance. Therefore volunteer support and contributions are a big help to the project that otherwise can receive limited help. Not only will your time and physical efforts at the project go a long way, but included within the programme fees is a donation that goes directly to the project that further supports the general upkeep of the day to day costs the project incurs.

 

So if you have a love for dogs and a willingness to get a little bit dirty, then this project is definitely for you! We have availability from 1 week upwards on the project and you will volunteer typically across the morning periods Monday to Friday. Older clothing for the project is recommended as are shoes that you do not mind getting dirty!

PERU ENGLISH TEACHING

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.

 

We have teamed up with local primary and secondary schools to ensure that children are given more opportunity to learn English at an early stage along with care for the local educators. Traditionally children in Peru don’t begin to learn English until they are 12 years old when they enter secondary school.

 

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. Volunteers will generally work as teacher assistants, but there may be times where they lead classroom activities.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – THE COLEGIO FRANCISCO SIRIVICHI

 

The Colegio Francisco Sirivichi is a primary school that 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, Colegio Francisco Sirivichi 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 8am to 1pm. The afternoon schedule is 1pm to 6pm.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – THE COLIBRI AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMME

 

The Colibri afterschool programme was created to help parents that have to work after the children are released from school. This project is an afterschool programme organised by the Police Department of Cusco. The mission of Colibri is to provide the children with a bright and promising future, by educating them and teaching them skills that will help them in the future, and encourage them to become more self- sufficient and independent.

 

The Police Department organizes recreational activities, such as painting, dancing, drawing, etc. for the children that join this programme. When the volunteers are present, they can organize these activities according to their skills. The children are also often victims of domestic violence (emotional and physical) or sexual abuse. Due to this, there is a high importance that the project has upbeat and patient volunteers! The project is especially rewarding for those that want to stay for longer periods of time as they can develop deep relationships with children.

 

The programme will engage volunteers with children 5 to 15 years old that either work in the street or have mothers whom work into the late evening. The project is from 2pm to 6pm on the weekdays. Numbers can range greatly at this project from 15 children one day to 45 children the next day.

 

The volunteers will organize and teach crafts, art, music or areas they have interest. The children will be taught English and assisted with homework along with being provided loads of motivation and support from volunteers.

 

With each volunteer there is a donation made direct to these projects and with that donation is more potential for these projects to enhance the experience for these children whether it be through providing additional resources or meals they otherwise could not afford.

 

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.

 

For our childcare and teaching community projects we generally recommend where possible a minimum 4 week commitment from volunteers so both the volunteer and project can maximise their experience. We still have project availability for 2 and 3 week placement options where the placement benefits from volunteer support, but projects are usually limited to kindergartens for childcare and the afterschool project for the English teaching for shorter term volunteers.

 

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.

PERU MEDICAL

Since the mid 1990’s there has been a specific focus on improving the available healthcare provisions across the Peru. This is a direct result to the death of over 9,000 from a Cholera outbreak; it was a devastating hit to the population and opened the eyes of many government officials. Following this epidemic, the government invested millions of dollars to ensure that there were care providers and facilities available to all areas of the country. One of the most impacting developments to the Peruvian Healthcare System was the construction of 15 hospitals nationwide. The government hoped the direct result of this would be that patient care numbers would improve by 40%! Over time, the government has created different forms of government based assistance and insurance options to ensure that citizens are able to further improve the system and receive necessary care.

 

In Peru the health system is split between two sectors, private and public. Like much of the western world there is an insurance system that determines the level and quality of care provided to citizens; the insurance is split between the Seguro Integral de Salud (SIS) who have no health insurance and the Peruvian Ministry of Health and EsSalud (EsSalud), which is coverage through employment for working families.

 

While volunteering on the medical project you will learn about the two insurance systems. The clinical settings provide care to those from all coverages as they have an ultimate focus of caring for all Peruvian citizens. The SIS aims to protect those from the most vulnerable populations and cares for about 18% of these groups who come from mostly rural and urban areas where poverty is greatest. This coverage also provides assistance to pregnant women and men over the age of 17 that suffer from extreme poverty.

 

The EsSalud is the coverage of the employed and is much like the US system in the sense it is contributed to by employers. Roughly 20% of the population, including the working class, retirees and their families fall under this form of insurance. These forms of insurance are maintained by the Ministry of Health (MINSA), which also provides alternative health services for most of the remaining population whom do not fall into these categories.

 

In Cusco, much of the medical care is provided within hospitals throughout the city with the active coverage of these two forms of insurance. MINSA provides financial support in many of the clinical settings, due to this local citizens are seen by medical professionals regardless of their coverage. What is expressed by many Peruvians is that whether they have or do not have insurance from the national healthcare system they are forced to wait for extended periods to receive care because of the lacking resources, funding and medical professionals.

 

Due to this, many clinics are being managed locally or privately. The clinics will specialise in certain areas providing a faster process for general needs and appointment to specialists. This is where our medical volunteers can help immensely! In Clinics across Cusco citizens will line up as early as 5am to see a doctor or nurse and receive either direction to a specialist or be provided with general care.

 

As a volunteer, you can assist in both community health programmes and clinical settings. Usually the clinics are made up of a range of small departments from paediatrics and general practitioner to maternity and dentistry. Naturally given the relative small clinic setting, the departments are on the small scale compared to a big government hospital so volunteers should be willing to gain exposure to a range of departments.

 

Volunteers are advised to note there is a minimum of four weeks commitment to the medical programme. School leavers or those with no medical experience are not able to join this programme. Unfortunately there are no exceptions to these policies.

 

Some examples of the community health programmes and clinical settings we support are listed below. There is a volunteer contribution from the programme fees that goes direct to the financial support of the placement volunteers are assigned to.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – CLAS 7 CUARTONES

 

The primary health care centre in Cusco is Clas 7 Cuartones. We are happy to say that PMGY Medical volunteers are able to apply themselves in this clinic providing assistance to the nurses and doctors. This clinic offers free care for those that are unemployed in areas of general practice along with psychology, gynaecology, dentistry and laboratory. The clinic will care for 200+ patients on a daily basis.

 

This clinic will allow volunteers to observe and assist the doctors with general practices like taking vitals, sugar tests and documentation. Volunteers will report to the project from 8am to 12:30pm on weekdays in consultation, women’s health, minor surgery (stitches, wound dressing, etc), observation of medical staff, community projects and immunizations. If you are a long-term volunteer you can assist in the laboratory and ‘Nino Sano’ where the nurses record children’s weight, height and provide vaccinations. The clinic will proudly arrange community programmes if volunteers wish to donate and participate in health campaigns while on the project.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – THE 02 MEDICAL NETWORK

 

The 02 Medical Network is a private care provider. The clinic is made up of different health services including inpatient care, home support, air-medical transportation, critical hyperbaric treatment, trauma and medical home care. The majority of patients will be travellers who suffer from illness such as altitude sickness, motor-vehicle accidents, tropical-disease, dehydration, minor surgery and dental care.

 

Volunteers will join this clinic Monday to Friday from 7:30am to 12pm and in the afternoons from 4:40pm to 8:30pm depending on your interest and schedule. Activities during your volunteer hours will include assisting the doctor or nurse with care, laboratory analysis and if you speak an intermediate level of Spanish, translating to patients. All medical staff will speak a good level of English and provide volunteers with a great opportunity to learn in a variety of settings. In the O2 Medical Network, volunteers with a basic to intermediate level of Spanish can join the ambulance (based on availability) to transport patients back to the hospital. Please note that during the low season, November to April, the hospital will host a lower number of patients.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – CLINICA HOGAR SAN JUAN DE DIOS

 

Clinica Hogar San Juan de Dios is a private clinic that offers various services for children of low-income families. The clinic specializes in rehabilitation for disabled children by means of physiotherapy and provides long-term shelter for neglected and handicapped children. The clinic will provide volunteers opportunities to join in areas including trauma, rehabilitation, psychology and neurology. Patients will suffer from a physical handicap, down syndrome, autism or other minor mental illness.

 

Volunteers will join this project from 8:30am to 2pm and assist/observe with tasks including physiotherapy, clinical care, ultrasound, hydrotherapy and consolation. The level of experience you receive on this project will be determined by your level of education, interaction with staff and Spanish.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE – ESCUELA ESPECIAL SAN JUAN DE DIOS

 

This project is based at the primary school Escuela Especial San Juan de Dios. The primary school is one of four special education institutions located in Cusco. This project will provide children with mental and/or motor delay the opportunity to receive physiotherapy and assistance. The children will be ages 3 to 20 with the highest mental knowledge of 6th grade students (13 years).

 

Volunteers on this project will mostly interact with older children assisting in occupational workshops. The skills will provide the children with the ability to provide for themselves or assist with income for the family. There is only one physiotherapist in the school assisting 10-15 children a day. This project will require volunteers to be present from 8am to 2pm giving therapy to the children and assisting teachers with children that need one-on-one assistance.

 

Your level of involvement at the project is dictated by medical experience, duration of programme, Spanish language skills and willingness to get involved. The medical staff are accountable for you whilst you’re under their supervision, so it is completely up to them if you are permitted and want to get involved in hands-on procedures. Whilst previous PMGY volunteers have been given the chance to administer IV injections, dress wounds etc, we can never guarantee or promote hands-on involvement for participants regardless of their medical experience or background.

 

Generally speaking those with little or no medical experience assume a largely observational role. If you are studying medically related degree, then you should have more opportunity to undertake some more basic hands-on involvement. However, to reiterate we can never guarantee or endorse hands-on experience should you choose to get hands-on, as the decision ultimately lies with the medical staff.

ITINERARY

Please arrive Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose (SJO) on the selected Sunday start date.

 

The following itinerary is based on a standard 6-week Real South America Encounter (i.e. 2-weeks per destination). If you opt for the 9 or 12-week options then you will split your time equally across each of the 3 destinations. For example the 9-week option involves spending 3 weeks across the destinations and the 12-week option involves 4 weeks per destination. The itinerary will follow a similar format as below.

 

Day 1 (Sunday) – Arrival

 

Welcome to Costa Rica! You will be met at San Jose airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign. The journey to the accommodation will take around 45 minutes, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle in.

 

Volunteers are advised to note that the local team usually do not work on Sunday. As the accommodation is more designed for independent living, should volunteers need any food or supplies for the rest of the arrival day they are advised to withdraw or change a small amount of money at the airport and ask the pickup driver to stop at the supermarket on the drive back to the accommodation.

 

Day 2 (Monday) – Orientation

 

After a good first night rest in Coronado, it’s now time to begin your induction into life in Costa Rica. The start of your day will include a placement testing to identify what level your Spanish is. This is simply to ascertain what level of Spanish you are at so your classes can be tailored accordingly so there is no need to worry or stress on this in advance.

 

You will also learn about the Spanish school and your classes whether you have signed up or wish to do so while volunteering! There is a new student introduction and then you will meet the team and travel around Coronado.

 

Our local team will teach you about life in Costa Rica, the do’s and don’ts, the local culture and religion. Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and all the projects we support in the community. There are lots of activities like salsa dancing, cooking classes or even trips to nearby waterfalls for a low-cost! If you wish to get involved feel free to ask about the weekly schedules.

 

Following the introduction, in the afternoon our local coordinator will take you to see some important spots in Coronado, including the local supermarket, the gym & spa and restaurants as well as the ATMs and places change money.

 

Day 3-6 (Tuesday-Friday) – Language Immersion Week

 

While the time in class will be around 4 hours in the morning there are also activities to get involved in across some of the afternoons. It is very important that volunteers enjoy learning Spanish and exploring the culture of Costa Rica. Activities include salsa classes, Costa Rican fruit tasting, visits to museums, hiking in the Coronado cloud forest, trips to nearby volcanos or even a coffee tasting at the local Kaffa Cafe!

 

Such activities usually run a couple times each week and change on a weekly basis to keep the variety. Some of the projects may have small fees associated with them for logistics and materials and usually require a minimum number sign up to ensure they run. The best part of these activities is that you are interacting with your piers and other Spanish speaking locals.

 

Day 7-8 (Saturday-Sunday) – Weekend

 

Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend surfing by the beach, a mesmerizing visit to the cloudforest, some adventure activities in the jungles of Monteverde or Arenal or a more cultural experience locally – Costa Rica has it all. Why not check out our Something For The Weekend guide to find out what you can be getting up to in your free time! 

 

Day 9 (Monday) – Volunteering Begins

 

You will start your volunteer work on Monday morning. Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team are only a phone call away. You will see Costa Rica coordinators throughout the day at the Spanish School which is in the same compound of the Volunteer House. They are always happy to help. 

 

Day 10-14 (Tuesday-Saturday) The Following Week

 

You will volunteer from Monday to Friday. On average, you will spend around 4 to 5 hours per day at your volunteer placement. As time passes you will become more confident and involved within project life.

 

Saturday will either be a free day for you or a transit day depending on your flight schedule.

 

Day 15 (Sunday) Goodbye Costa Rica – Hello Ecuador!

 

Our in-country team will help you organise your transfer to Juan Santamaria International Airport for your flight to Ecuador. Please note this transfer is not included in your programme fees.

 

Welcome to Ecuador! You will be met at Quito airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign. The journey to the accommodation will take around 45 minutes, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle in. 

 

Volunteers are advised to note that the local team usually do not work on Sunday. As the accommodation is more designed for independent living, should volunteers need any food or supplies for the rest of the arrival day they are advised to withdraw or change a small amount of money at the airport and ask the pickup driver where they can find the supermarkets and food outlets. They are usually only a short walk from the accommodation.

 

Day 16 (Monday) Orientation

 

After a good first night rest in Quito, it’s now time to begin your induction into life in Ecuador. Our local team will teach you about life in Ecuador, the do’s and don’ts, the local culture and religion. Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and all the projects we support in the community. You will also learn about the Spanish school and your classes whether you have signed up or wish to do so while volunteering!

 

Following the introduction, our local coordinator will take you to see some important spots in Quito, including the local supermarket, a couple pubs and restaurants as well as the ATMs and places change money.

 

In the evening time you will meet with the programme director. Have your insurance and passport too hand as our local team are required to make copies of these. Here the director will provide you with a presentation on Ecuadorian Culture, emergency information and all the foundations you need to your programme. You will also learn about the afternoon and evening activities that take place on the programme.

 

Day 17-20 (Tuesday-Friday) Volunteering

 

You will start your volunteer work on Tuesday morning. Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team are only a phone call away. You will see Ecuador coordinators throughout the day at the Spanish School nearby the Volunteer Apartment and they are always happy to help.

 

On the Tuesday itself our local team will usually show you the routes on how to get to and from your project on public transport and also introduce you to the project staff who will be your main points of contact when at the project.

 

There are lots of weekly activities like salsa dancing, cooking classes or even Latin-inspired cocktail hour! If you wish to get involved feel free to ask about the weekly schedules.

 

Such activities usually run a few times each week after the project time has finished and can change on a weekly basis. Some of the projects may have small fees associated with them for logistics and materials and usually require a minimum number sign up to ensure they run. The best part of these activities is that you are interacting with your piers and other Spanish speaking locals.

 

Usually on the final Thursday of each month the local team will hold a meeting and check in with all the volunteers to see how everything is going on the volunteer placement and get feedback from your Ecuador experience as a whole.

 

Day 21-22 (Saturday & Sunday) Weekend

 

Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend by the beach, some adventure activities in the Amazon, a long weekend in the Galapagos Islands or a more cultural experience locally – Ecuador has it all. Why not check out our Something For The Weekend guide to find out what you can be getting up to in your free time!

 

Day 23-28 (Monday-Saturday) The Following Week

 

Your next week will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday to Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your passport, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you. 

 

Saturday will either be a free day for you or a transit day depending on your flight schedule.

 

Day 29 (Sunday) Goodbye Ecuador – Hello Peru!

 

Please note that the airport drop off back to Quito is included in your Programme Fee so we just ask that you speak to the coordinators at the Spanish school about your departure time.

 

Welcome to Peru! You will be met at Cusco airport by your homestay parent(s) who will be holding a name sign. The journey to the accommodation will take around 15 minutes, depending on traffic. You will have the rest of the day to relax and settle in.

 

Day 30 (Monday) Orientation

 

Your orientation will begin on Monday at the Spanish School which is also where our local teams offices are based.

 

Our local team will teach you about life in Peru, the do’s and don’ts, the local culture and religion. Your orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and all the projects we support in the community. You will also learn about the Spanish school along with details about classes if you have signed up or wish to do so while volunteering!

 

Every Thursday, there is a weekly social activity for volunteers to come together and enjoy. You can learn about these activities during the orientation and how to partake and such examples of evening activities are salsa dancing, cooking classes or even afternoons visiting nearby ancient ruins!

 

Following the introduction, our local coordinator will take you on a short walking tour of the city to see some important spots in Cusco, including the local market, a couple cafes and restaurants, as well as laundry services, ATMs and places to change money.

 

Day 31-34 (Tuesday-Friday) Volunteering Begins

 

You will start your volunteer work on the Tuesday with an induction to your placement. Our local team will meet you as per the time on your first week schedule to the project, introduce you to the project staff and explain the bus routes to get too and from the project from your homestay. You will be emailed your first week schedule from the local team around one week before you arrive into Peru.

 

Should you need anything whilst at the project, remember our local team are only a phone call away. You will see Peru coordinators throughout the day at the Spanish School and from time to time the volunteer coordinator will pop in to visit at projects. The team are always happy to help.

 

Don’t forget to sign up to the Thursday evening social activity open to all volunteers! Some activities may have small fees associated with them for logistics and materials and usually require a minimum number sign up to ensure they run. The best part of the weekly activity is that you are interacting with your piers and other Spanish speaking locals.

 

Day 35-36 (Saturday-Sunday) It’s The Weekend!

 

Whether you are looking for a relaxing weekend by the beach, some adventure activities visiting Rainbow Mountain, a long weekend trekking the Sacred Valley to Machu Picchu or a more cultural experience locally – Peru has it all. Why not check out our Something For The Weekend guide to find out what you can be getting up to in your free time! 

 

Day 37-41 (Monday-Friday) The Following Week

 

Your next week will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday to Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your passport, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you. 

 

Day 42 (Saturday) Your Last Day

 

Unfortunately, all good things come to an end. Saturday is the last day of your Real South America Encounter. If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is NOT included in your Programme Fee so we ask that you speak to your homestay family about your departure time.

 

* This itinerary is subject to change as a result of unforeseen circumstances.

CHOOSING A TRIP

What are the programme start dates?

The programme start dates are as follows –

 

1st September 2019
6th October 2019
3rd November 2019
1st December 2019
5th January 2020
2nd February 2020
1st March 2020
5th April 2020
3rd May 2020
7th June 2020
5th July 2020
2nd August 2020
6th September 2020
4th October 2020
1st November 2020
6th December 2020

What are the requirements to join?

In order to join the programme, you need to be at least 18 on the programme start date.
 
We welcome volunteers of all backgrounds, nationalities and religions. You must be able to provide us with a clean criminal background check prior to your programme start date. We are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions.
 
For our programmes in South 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.

 

You will greatly benefit from the programme if you have a minimum level of basic to intermediate Spanish. Language classes are available in all of our Latin American destinations as an addition to your programme to assist you in improving your language skills!
 
You should also 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.

What date should I arrive and leave?

You should arrive into Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose (SJO) on the selected Sunday start date. You will be met at the airport by one of our local staff or an appointed driver 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.

 

The programme ends on the Saturday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day.

Are there any age restrictions?

In order to join the programme, you need to be at least 18 on the programme start date.

 

Generally, the average age range of volunteers is 17-22 but this is by no means definitive.

 

There is no upper age limit. However, we encourage anyone who is slightly older to contact us in the first instance and we can advise if there is a more appropriate programme/destination for you.

When should I apply for the programme?

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.

 

It is also possible to change your start dates once you have already applied and had your space confirmed. However, please note this does carry an administration charge of $60 and is subject to availability.

 

You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual programme; this will guide you through our Online Application process.

Can I volunteer if I live outside of the UK?

We accept volunteers from all over the world. The majority of our participants are from the UK, US, Canada & Australia. However, we have hosted volunteers from countries such as Nigeria, Bermuda & Peru in the past.

Can I go with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?

You’re more than welcome to travel and volunteer with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and volunteer at the same project (please note the majority of our volunteer accommodation is on a single-sex basis).
 

Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.

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 International Team undergo an extensive routine when establishing the 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 verify 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 International 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.

 

When you join PMGY we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visa issues etc. Furthermore, our International Team are only ever a phone call away should you wish to discuss any aspect of your upcoming programme. When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive safety briefing during your orientation course by our local coordinators. We will go through everything from emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM card, something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. We will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.

 

All our local teams are experienced development professionals who have years of experience in hosting international volunteers. They are our representatives on the ground and will assist you 24/7 throughout your stay. Whether you need to call home, travel at the weekend or require urgent assistance – they are there to support you.

 

While we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each programme is as safe as possible.
 

When do I pay? Can I pay in instalments?

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY programme, you need to pay the Registration Fee ($249). The remaining Programme Fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.

 
You’re only required to pay your $249 Registration Fee once we can guarantee you a place on the programme unless you’re applying within 60 days of your programme start date in which case you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application.

 
Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.

 
Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

Can I use PMGY’s programmes 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.

 

While our team will do their best to complete any paperwork we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university or college. In the event that your university or college do not accept the paperwork submitted by PMGY then you will be unable to be refunded for your trip.

 

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 directly on hello@planmygapyear.com to schedule a meeting.

BEFORE YOU DEPART

Do you offer an online TEFL course?

For PMGY volunteers joining our teaching programmes the only real ‘qualifications’ you need are bags of energy, commitment and enthusiasm. If you’d like a chance to do some preparation work before you hit the classroom, we’ve got the perfect introductory course for teaching English abroad.

 

At only 60 hours and completed online, this course is hugely convenient because it can be done in your own time, at your own pace and you don’t even need to leave the house! You’ve got a whopping 75 days to complete the course, so there is no rush and you can fit it in when you can. An hour here and there certainly adds up over the course of the couple of months you have to complete it, so there really is no pressure.

 

Once completed you’ll not only have acquired some key skills for teaching English abroad but you’ll also gain an internationally accredited certificate. If you find that teaching really is your calling, this course can be built upon with more modules leading to a paid teaching position in the future.

 

As well as a core module in the ‘Principles of Teaching English’ which covers ‘Understanding language’, ‘Key English grammar points’ and ‘How to teach grammar in the classroom’ you will have a choice of one of three specialist modules. The ‘Survival teaching’ module is perfect for volunteers covering ‘Teaching large classes’, ‘Teaching with limited resources’, ‘Learner-based training’ and ‘Cultural awareness’.

 

The cost of the course is $150. If you’ve already signed up for one of our programmes and would like to enrol on the online TEFL course then please call us or email us.

Can I fundraise for my trip?

With PMGY the money our volunteers pay goes towards the structure you receive for your time with us overseas. The fundamentals of this structure include food, accommodation, airport pickups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.

 

We do our best to keep our programme costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing on quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Therefore, a large number of PMGY volunteers decide to fundraise for their trip.

 

We recommend setting up an online fundraising page to allow friends and families to learn more about your trip and make donations. PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding.

 

This professional online fundraising service creates a personalised fundraising page for your PMGY trip, allowing you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.

Can I raise money for the projects?

The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415) that has been set up to help provide financial aid and assistance to the projects and countries we work with on an ongoing basis.

 

The objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty of people living in the communities we support by providing or assisting in the provision of education, training, healthcare projects and all the necessary support designed to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient.

 

The ultimate aim of the PMGY Foundation is to enable donations to be directed towards specific hand-picked projects in countries most in need. The project donations are determined by the charities trustees during our annual overseas visits.

 

If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page.

 

100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. Please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas.

How do I register for your online webinars?

On selected Tuesdays we hold our Pre-Departure Webinars. They are well worth attending, take only 45 minutes and will provide you with some invaluable advice on your upcoming trip.

 

There are three to choose from and it is well worth attending all of them:

 

Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.

 

Programme Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching programmes.

 

Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.

 

The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the world. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, good internet connection and a pair of headphones.

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If any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.

What about vaccinations and malaria tablets?

As we are not medical experts we cannot, unfortunately, tell you exactly what vaccinations you’ll need to obtain so it is vital you consult your local GP or travel clinic a few months before you intend to travel. Your local doctor/nurse will advise you as to what vaccinations and malaria prevention is needed for entry into your volunteer destination.

 

Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.

How do I arrange my flights?

You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you in arranging them. Through our close partnerships within the travel industry, we are able to offer flights at very competitive rates. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries; we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use.

 

For peace of mind, PMGY holds an ATOL License (11262) that allows us to offer flight-based packages that are financially protected by the Civil Aviation Authority in the unlikely event of our insolvency.

 

If you’d like to receive a flight quote from PMGY, you can submit an online enquiry by visiting the specific web-page of the programme you’re interested in joining, or by calling our office or dropping us an email.

 

When you apply for a PMGY programme we cannot guarantee your acceptance immediately. On receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the programme and to assess your suitability for the specific project.

 

Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your programme has been confirmed by us in writing. Once your programme has been confirmed you’re then free to book your flights either with PMGY or a through third-party travel agent.

Do you offer travel insurance?

It is mandatory that all PMGY volunteers hold travel insurance during the entirety of their time on our programme; this includes your travel to and from the host country. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong so you must adequately protect yourself.

 

PMGY have teamed up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy for our volunteers. The policy is specifically designed to ensure PMGY volunteers for all their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone up to the age of 65 and covers you throughout any PMGY destination and any onward travel you may arrange (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.

 

Please note that PMGY Travel Insurance is purchased in week-long blocks. Therefore, you should carefully identify how many days you’ll be away for, including the date you depart and return to your home country, to ensure you select the correct duration of travel insurance. For example, if you’re travelling for 29 days in total, you’ll need a 5-week policy, not a 4-week policy.

How do I obtain a background check?

To join any of our programmes you’ll need to provide us with a clean CRB or Police Check before you travel. We have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the volunteers we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. We are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.

 

If you hold a current CRB or Police Check then we can accept this providing it is issued no more than 18 months prior to your programme start date. Please scan and email us a copy of this document. If you do not have a CRB or Police Check then we will outline how to obtain this in your Volunteer Handbook. The CRB or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your programme start date.

 

If you don’t have a valid CRB check (also known as DBS or Police Check), then you will need to apply for one. UK volunteers need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). 
 
This costs £25 and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a CRB check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook you receive once you are signed up for the programme.

 

For international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.

When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?

All volunteers will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the programme. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we DO NOT send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.

 

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. You can contact us via email, telephone, Skype, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!

ON YOUR TRIP

Can I arrange a private room?

All of our accommodation options involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately we are unable to arrange private room options for our participants.

Can you cater for my dietary requirements?

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.

Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?

We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that affect project availability and project closures in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change that directly effects project availability and we ask our volunteers to be flexible and appreciative of this. This usually represents a unique experience for volunteers to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves and/or our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable.

What is the dress code at the projects?

Dress code varies from country to country. We ask that our volunteers adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. We will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack.
 
The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover your shoulders and thighs and for men to not take their shirts off. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our volunteers, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with.
 
It’s a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions but please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.

How much spending money will I need?

The amount of extra spending money you should take depends on where you travel to and how many travel activities you plan to undertake during your free time. If you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania, a scuba-diving course in Thailand or trekking in South Africa, then you should budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find $75-$150 per week a suitable amount.

Will I be able to travel whilst on the programme?

You’ll have plenty of opportunity to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time. All of our programmes have been designed so that you have weekends off. This gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures.
 
Furthermore, you’re going to meet so many new people during your time with PMGY that you’ll definitely meet some travel buddies along the way!
 
Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities within the relevant country either side of your volunteering placement. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to volunteer in. If you do plan to travel extensively please factor this into your flight itinerary, as we only encourage travel during weekends while you’re volunteering as you have made a commitment to the project.

ACCOMMODATION

COSTA RICA

Volunteer House

 

During your time with PMGY in Costa Rica you will live in our Volunteer Residence located in Coronado, a suburb of San Jose. You will find restaurants, convenience stores, cafés, pubs and ATMs all within walking distance. You’ll be living with other volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.

 

The accommodation is comfortable with free Wi-Fi. Each room has single beds with up to 3 people per room in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with cupboard space and bed linens. Bathrooms are shared, but have a hot shower and western style toilet.

 

The house has a communal area for volunteers to hang out. We encourage you to bring some small padlocks to store any valuables in your own bags, but there is a safe in each room for shared storage. There will also be fridge space available for volunteers to store any items they need to keep chilled in the kitchen. The Volunteer House has a laundry room on site to do all your own washing equipped with washers and dryers!

 

Volunteers are a short walk from the centre of Coronado meaning that restaurants, supermarkets, cafes and projects are close by! The house is in a compound with 24-hour security and a digital keypad to open and close the front gates. This is to ensure that volunteers are safe. Meals are not provided so there are fully equipped kitchens to prepare all of your food within the house. This accommodation setup offers volunteers the unique experience of living with lots of other volunteers as well as an independent environment in this Latin American country.

 

During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.

ECUADOR

Volunteer House

 

During your time with PMGY in Ecuador you will live in our Volunteer Apartment located in central Quito, the country’s capital. You will find restaurants, convenience stores, cafés, pubs and ATMs all within walking distance. You’ll be living with other volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.

 

The accommodation is comfortable with free Wi-Fi. Each room has single or bunk beds with up to 3 people per room in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with cupboard space and bed linens. Bathrooms are shared, but have a shower and western style toilet. 

 

The Volunteer Apartment has a communal area for volunteers to hang out. We encourage you to bring some small padlocks and/or store any valuables in your own bags. There will also be fridge space available for volunteers to store any items they need to keep chilled in the kitchen. The Volunteer House is a quick walk from laundry services (low cost of $1.50/kg).

 

Once a week there will be a communal cleaner who comes to the apartment and changes bed sheets, cleans the toilet and shower area. However, kitchen and communal areas as well as personal spaces are generally volunteers responsibility to keep clean on a daily basis and respect the environment they are living in.

 

Volunteers are housed within a hip area of Quito encompassed with restaurants, cafes, boutiques and pubs. The Apartment Block will have a security guard on-site to ensure that volunteers are safe. Meals are not provided in the programme so there are fully equipped kitchens to prepare all of your food. This accommodation setup offers volunteers the unique experience of living with lots of other volunteers as well as an independent environment in this Latin American country.

 

The majority of our projects are not within walking distance of our Volunteer House. The local team members will educate you on the bus routes for your journey to project each day.

 

During our busiest months (June to September) you may be placed at alternative accommodation. This could be a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.

PERU

Homestay

 

During your time in Peru you will live in our homestay(s). The accommodation is basic but comfortable. You’ll be living with local families whom will guide you in Cusco and help to improve your knowledge of the Spanish Language! The homestay families usually have very limited English.

 

The homestays are located just outside of central Cusco all within 30 minutes bus of your chosen project and usually walking distance from the local teams offices. 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 usually warm (although can be victim to power cuts) to ensure you keep warm in the chilly nights of Cusco! The house has Wi-Fi and a communal area for volunteers to hang out with their host families. There is also a kitchen with a refrigerator to store any items you need to keep chilled; just ask the host family for some fridge space out of respect in advance, The host families will prepare all meals across your time on the project with us (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.

 

Your host family location is usually linked to your project location for ease of logistics to get to and from the project. Should you have requirements to be in the same accommodation as another PMGY application then be sure to highlight this on the special requirements of your online application. 

MEALS

COSTA RICA

Meals are not provided with PMGY Costa Rica, but there is a food truck that comes to the compound Monday-Friday packed with sandwiches, local meals, Caribbean dishes and yummy desserts. The food truck ensures that even if you aren’t the chef fellow volunteers may be, you can still eat well and feel full while learning Spanish or helping the kids at project! Meals are going to cost around $6 and if you like something specific you can even ask for them to bring it the next day.

 

Some evenings the Spanish school will host a Cuisine Night to teach you how to prepare Costa Rican dishes. These are free to join and if you are feeling hungry just pay about $4 for the ingredients and your dinner will be some of the well-prepared food. Who needs to go to a restaurant when you can try your very own PMGY Costa Rica cuisine!

 

Local supermarkets are within walking distance. Average meal purchased outside will be $7.50 in a local restaurant. Foreign restaurants will be closer to $15. On the weekends, there is a local farmers market that volunteers love to visit just a few blocks from the Volunteer House. If everyone prepares meals together and chips in for meals please plan to spend around $40 per week on food.

ECUADOR

The Volunteer House will be equipped with a kitchen including all the appliances and items needed to prepare your three nutritious meals a day. The idea behind this is that with a communal setting volunteers spend much of their time interacting with each other while preparing and eating meals.

 

The Volunteer House is located in a great area. This hip spot has small food markets and large convenient stores for any items you may need. Whether you are preparing a frozen pizza or frying some fish and chips everything is in close proximity.

 

Volunteers tend to put their heads together and discuss certain nights they will cook together and then chip in to buy the food items. If you are up for some communal cooking, get involved! Usually on a weekly basis, the local team will host cuisine nights that you are able to attend and learn. If you want to eat the well prepared Ecuadorian meal just bring $3 to cover the costs of the ingredients! 

 

If you have any questions about the kitchen or where to buy items the team is always willing to point you in the right direction.

PERU

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). With notice, the local team can even precook a meal for you and you can venture to the local team school headquarters and warm the meal up if you wish for your lunch. 

 

Boiled and filtered water is also available at the homestay(s) for volunteers.

 

Most meals are traditional Peruvian dishes that can be carb heavy traditionally. 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. 

 

Here is an example of the meals you can expect:

* 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.

FEES INVOLVED

DURATION

PROGRAMME FEE

REGISTRATION FEE

TOTAL

6 weeks
$1725
$249
$1974
9 weeks
$2175
$249
$2424
12 weeks
$2625
$249
$2874

* These fees apply to each individual application and are displayed in USD.

 

 

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY programme you need to pay the Registration Fee ($249). The remaining Programme Fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.

 

You’re only required to pay your $249 Registration Fee once we can guarantee you a place on the programme, unless you’re applying within 60 days of your programme start date in which case you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. We will notify you by email that you have been successful in your application.

 

Any remaining payments must be made no less than 60 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.

 

Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.

VOLUNTEER IN SOUTH AMERICA REVIEWS

WHAT'S INCLUDED

PROGRAMME FEE

  • ONE WEEK OF SPANISH LESSONSYES
  • ACCOMMODATION YES
  • PERU MEALS (B, L & D) YES
  • AIRPORT PICK UPS (24 HOURS)YES
  • ECUADOR AIRPORT DROP OFF (24 HOURS)YES
  • IN-COUNTRY ORIENTATIONSYES
  • PMGY T-SHIRTYES
  • 24 HOUR IN-COUNTRY SUPPORT

    YES

REGISTRATION FEE

  • 24 HOUR UK-BASED EMERGENCY SUPPORT YES
  • DEDICATED PMGY TRAVEL MENTOR YES
  • UNLIMITED EMAIL & TELEPHONE SUPPORT YES
  • COMPREHENSIVE VOLUNTEER HANDBOOK YES
  • LIVE PRE-DEPARTURE WEBINARS YES
  • 100% FINANCIAL PROTECTIONYES
  • REGULAR PROGRAMME INSPECTION YES
  • INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATE OF COMPLETIONYES

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

  • ADDITIONAL SPANISH LESSONS (RECOMMENDED)NO
  • COSTA RICA MEALS (B, L & D) NO
  • ECUADOR MEALS (B, L & D) NO
  • TRANSPORT TO PROJECT ($1.50 PER DAY)NO
  • FLIGHTS ($750+)NO
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE ($25 PER WEEK)NO
  • RETURN AIRPORT TRANSFERS ($60)NO
  • VISAS ($0)NO
  • CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK (VARIES)NO

WEEKEND TRIP ADD-ONS

 

 

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