Our overall vision for the AASD experiential learning programs is that they are mutually beneficial while encompassing our five experiential learning values of Collective Intelligence, Relevance, Meaningful Exchange, Humility, and Critical Reflection. AASD offers responsible service-learning programs to adventurous learners that want to get involved with AASD community-led projects.
The AASD offers inclusive, responsible service-learning experiences that are for all ages and types of groups. We usually partner with program providers. We’ve hosted families, students from middle school to graduate school, adults, employees with paid volunteer time off, and private groups that want to learn and immerse themselves in a new culture while giving back.
We have built long-standing confianza (trust) with the campesino (farmer) communities that we have partnered with since 2010. Service projects are determined by the community depending on the needs, funding, and the time of year.
The AASD can cater itineraries to a single day, week, month or even longer. All logistics, such as transportation and lodging (homestays, hostels or hotels) can be arranged. We explore all possibilities to deliver a program that fits the objectives of our partners.
AASD’s ability to meld a structured experiential learning program with academic research and a meaningful service experience makes them one of the premier service-learning organizations in Peru. Buoyed by a strong community focused mission, the AASD is staffed by experts on both development work and education, enabling them to design and facilitate programs for students of all ages, experience levels, and interests. As a teacher and Global Affairs program director, I highly recommend this organization to anyone interested in a potential international learning experience.
It depends on how long the program will be and what type of activities and logistics will be included. In the past, we have planned anywhere from months to a couple of weeks in advance. Regardless, we are flexible to plan a program and coordinate logistics with shorter notice. Certain months of the year tend to fill up quickly, however, so it is important to be in contact with the Experiential Learning team as soon as possible.
The Experiential Learning team will be in direct communication with you to plan everything from pre-departure to program logistics. The Experiential Learning team is available via email or other previously determined forms of communication such as Whatsapp or video calls.
Yes, when needed we are happy to provide our own insured drivers. They operate vans that hold 15 passengers and are appropriate for some of the more winding roads we take to go up to the higher altitude communities. We also can arrange airport transfer to/from Cusco.
Whenever possible, we place our participants with local, vetted host families. These families all live within a ten minute walk of the office. Participants can have their own bedroom or share with another participant of the same gender. They will share a bathroom with the family and/or other students. We generally place 2-3 students per family. Families live in modest, but comfortable, homes with electricity, hot water and western-style bathrooms. Our families are welcoming and hospitable, with ample experience in hosting students. They are often highlighted as the best part of the experience. Breakfasts and dinners with the family are included in this option.
If staying with a host family is not an option, we work with a local hostel to accommodate student groups, with 2-4 students of the same gender in a room, and shared bathrooms. Breakfasts are included in this option.
If participants are looking for a more upscale experience, we have worked with various boutique hotels in the area.
Yes, most dietary restrictions (vegan, vegetarian, allergies) can be accommodated, though this may limit the diversity of meals. Food in Peru usually consists of various grains (often rice or corn), meat, potatoes, and vegetables. Our host families and cooks are trained to adapt dishes to fit different needs and we are in constant communication with them about any allergies.
Participant health and safety while in Peru is of the highest importance to the AASD. We have identified appropriate clinics in the area to assist our participants. We also have a detailed health and safety plan with policies and procedures that we can share on request.
Yes, all of our programs require our participants to have international medical insurance.
Our experiential learning team is fluent in English and Spanish. When needed, groups are also accompanied by staff that speak Spanish and Quechua.
We have a student handbook that addresses FAQs and gives an overview of our team and our projects. We are happy to provide relevant readings, videos, articles, etc. to enrich the experience. We are also available to present to classes virtually.
We match projects and communities with participants based on the program type, program policies, program length, and participant profile.
All participants will visit a Peruvian family’s organic farm, Ecohuella, which is also an AASD partner. Ecohuella acts as a field school for campesinos (farmers) to learn and share different methods of organic farming. Ecohuella is designated as an ideal initial service site and orientation space as it is located at a lower altitude than other communities, allowing participants to acclimate for a day or two before venturing to higher altitude communities.
Yes, we work with a local tour company that helps organize Machu Picchu, and we can also incorporate side-trips into the itinerary, such as visiting Maras salt flats, hiking up to Huchuy Qosqo, exploring Pisac’s artisan market, and more. Prices vary depending on time of year and group size.
We can discount some aspects of the budget, such as the facilitation fee.
We’ve hosted participants from ages 7 to 70.
We have accommodated a wide range of group sizes, from one individual to more than 40.
Most agricultural tasks stay consistent regardless of the time of year: Weeding, planting, bed preparation, seed sorting, transplanting, greenhouse maintenance and compost preparation are some examples.
Past projects include soccer stadium construction (participants helped level the field), retaining wall construction (participants helped dig the perimeter), and farmer school construction (participants helped lay the foundation). At times the community-led projects aren’t appropriate for the ages and skills of participants; for example, road maintenance. In these cases, we allocate program fees and fundraising to those projects and participants help out on other tasks, which tend to be agricultural, in that same community.
Yes! That is extremely important. We have a newsletter, we often post updates on social media, and we can send out any information needed.