>It’s finals here at USC, and I’m waiting to hear back from Barnard College. I’ve wanted to attend this school since high school, and I’ve changed so much since the first time I applied so I hope that the third time’s the charm! Academic. Stress.
Also, my plans in Peru have changed. I had really invested in La Casa de Mayten – I sent Mayten two super enthusiastic emails with lots of information about myself – but I never heard a response from her, so I assume that I cannot volunteer in Chincha after all. The project sounds amazing, but alas, such is life. I did, however get accepted to be a Karikuy volunteer researcher for the Perupedia. However, I realized that my heart is not really into this project. I had a similar stint last summer where I researched and wrote for a guide to New York City called Inside New York. This summer, I want to truly challenge myself and give all my possible skills to people that need them a bit more. So, I turned to my beloved and trusty Couchsurfing website and contacted Juan in Cusco, Peru. Juan runs Peru 109, a volunteer organization based in multiple cities throughout Peru, featuring multiple projects. I would likely help out in the women’s shelter or teach English, plus Juan would put me up for free since that’s the whole nature of Couchsurfing. The most hilarious thing about this whole change of events is that Peru 109 is actually one of those organizations that I am set against; it creates volunteer opportunities, plus adds touristic side trips, for foreigners for a relatively high amount that I can’t afford. However, I don’t need to pay the fee because I approached Juan from Couchsurfing. This entire thing is leaving me shaking my head a little bit, but hey, I understand that people have to make a living and the most important thing for me is to be able to contribute to a meaningful project in Peru without paying a fee. Anyway, Juan is currently organizing details for me, but I am well aware that things may change once I actually arrive.
As for Paris, I have yet to find a family, but that is because I have only really just started trying. FUSAC is frustratingly only displaying ads from families who either want school-year au pairs, or part-time au pairs. I have therefore enlisted the help of my friend in Paris; Jason will put up ads for me and also screen ads at the American Church of Paris, which is the hub for anglophone au-pair opportunities.I also just have to trust that if I don’t find work before I arrive, then I will find work once I’m there.
All in all, I am incredibly optimistic about this summer, but I am trying hard not to have any expectations. The only thing that I know is that….. things will change.
I’ll leave you all with this wonderful book. I just purchased The Underground Guide to International Volunteering from Nerdy Nomad (a brave and inspiring independent volunteer!) and I must say that my travel/volunteer philosophy is exactly the same. Her book is well written, clear, and insightful. I actually am now inspired to write and publish my own book about my experiences – obviously in the future, after lots of more experiences around the world. Anyway, Nerdy Nomad is donating half of the book’s price to a disaster relief charity, so buy away! Read and get hungry to be an indievolunteer!