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Work, Volunteer and Study in Peru

By Jordyn Newton

Posted: 30th August 2016 09:02


International students and graduates looking for work in Peru are, unfortunately, likely to find their job-search rather a difficult one. The best opportunity for well-paid work here is English language teaching, but moderate to advanced Spanish-speaking skills are essential if you are seeking to obtain such work, particularly in prestigious schools or Universities. Without such skills, you will likely be limited to casual tutoring or work as a teaching assistant. Spanish-speakers with previous teaching experience or a TEFL qualification may also have the opportunity to work in high-paying International Schools.

More casual work in retail, bars, travel companies and hotels or hostels is highly competitive, and often only found by asking around, though websites such as OLX ,  ExpatPeru and ComputTrabajo do advertise a limited number of both non-specialist and specialist jobs. Temporary work experience is available through many volunteering companies, and it may be possible to secure a job with a company you have successfully interned for, though such companies are restricted in the number of foreign workers they can employ.

If you do manage to secure work in Peru, you must obtain an unlimited working visa known as an El Carné de Extranjeria (Foreign resident ID card) by paying a number of fees, attending multiple interviews, and presenting contractual proof of your employment, approved by your nearest Peruvian Consulate. The process can be long and confusing, so it is advisable to check with the consulate to ensure you know what is required of you. Peruvian officials you encounter later may not speak English, or may try to take financial advantage of you if they sense you don’t fully understand the process.


Being a developing country, Peru is a land of opportunity for any prospective volunteer. Companies such as Projects Abroad and Global Volunteer Network offer opportunities ranging from animal and childcare, to English teaching and sports coaching, to rainforest and community conservation. There are chances to build or renovate children’s homes, introduce community recycling schemes, assist Andean families with farming, or partake in archaeological digs and sexual health education through the Peruvian Social Reality programme. Projects Abroad offer graduates the chance to volunteer in professional areas, including midwifery and nutrition, and international students often have access to further volunteering schemes through their University.

Unchaperoned volunteers must be 18 or over to be accepted onto most programmes. It is not usually necessary for volunteers to be Spanish-speakers or to have particular qualifications or experience, but medical volunteers are usually required to have official training and at least an intermediate level of Spanish. Volunteer programmes vary in length, with some schemes lasting as little as two and as many as 24 weeks, and many offer reduced-rate Spanish lessons and pre-departure training in your chosen area, to help you to make the most of your experience. Most volunteers will lodge with a Peruvian host family for the duration of their programme, making this a fantastic way to truly immerse yourself in all aspects of Peruvian culture. Thankfully, no more than a tourist visa is required for volunteering, which is valid for 183 days and is quickly and easily obtained when you arrive at the Peruvian border.


An incredibly rich history and culture make Peru a fantastic place to study, and endless opportunities to explore can supplement the education you will receive at one of around 80 Peruvian Universities. However, non-Spanish-speaking students are very limited in the number and range of courses available to them, as most are conducted exclusively in Spanish. At most Universities, Spanish language and Peruvian culture courses are the only programmes conducted in English and tailored specifically to non-Spanish-speaking International students, whilst Spanish-speakers will have a broader choice of specialised subjects.

Some Peruvian Universities offer the chance to study for single semesters, the summer, or a single year rather than a full three to four year course. Most are located in and around Lima, and many are private, including Pontifica Universidad Católica del Perú , the best-ranking University in the country. International students can generally expect to pay relatively low tuition fees, and many Universities offer generous scholarship programmes and other financial help, though private Universities can charge steep fees simply to enrol.

To enrol in a long-term University course, you are required to apply for a student visa, which can be acquired by changing the status of your tourist visa once you arrive at the Peruvian border. Short-term students from the U.S. can obtain a three-month student-visa from their nearest Peruvian Consulate, and students of other nationalities, whose courses are less than 183 days in duration, can usually study in Peru on an ordinary tourist visa.

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