‘You’ve actually seen snow?’ – a question one of my Peruvian 2nd graders asked me just before I left to return to the UK this month. Sometimes it was easy to forget that my life back home was almost incomprehensible for these little Peruvian children…. and the truth is, now that I’m back in chilly England, life in Peru seems like an amazing dream.
I came to Peru to work on the Help English Programme, teaching English to children from Grades 1-6. But, although I hope that my hours of lesson-planning and teaching had some impact, I probably learnt way more in 2 months than my kids did…. and here’s a few of them.
- The importance of patience – English is tricky to learn, especially for these kids who only have 2 hours of English a week. But this meant whenever the class remembered specific words we had taught them it felt so amazing!
- The beauty of kindness – I will never forget the little acts of kindness I witnessed day after day. For example, little kids offering me their break-time snacks, a first-grader mending my watch and the mountain of letters and drawings I received. Oh and not to mention the huge amount of hugs received daily!! I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much.
- To go with the flow. Every day is different in the type of schools you volunteer in here. Classes can be cancelled last-minute for various reasons (sports olympiads, student councils, Perú football matches!) or you may turn up to only 4 members of your class actually there as we did once, meaning you have to be ready to be flexible all the time!
- Throw yourself into it head first – I arrived in Huanchaco and started teaching first thing the next morning as the main Spanish speaker! But, I wouldn’t have had it any other way! If you want to improve your Spanish, and if you’re willing to throw yourself into it, Otra Cosa will give you so many opportunities to do so.
And on top of all of this, I made amazing friends and came home having seen places I could never have imagined I would see… including a trip to Cusco, Machu Picchu and Rainbow Mountain and a long weekend hiking in Huaraz.
I’ll be back Huanchaco!
This blog was written by Isabelle Woodcock.