Eligibility requirement: 1 year of undergraduate completed

Language requirements: Intermediate Spanish

Associated career paths: Special Education Teacher, Speech Therapist, Behavioral Therapist, Psychologist, Educational Psychologist, Occupational Therapist, Learning Mentor/Tutor, Family Support Worker, Youth/Social Worker

Minimum duration: 4 weeks

Internship details

Special Education interns play an important role in supplementing the education and development of disabled students in Peru. By assisting local teachers at a specialist school, interns help to provide dedicated support and care for students, some of whom require close attention, helping with their needs and encouraging a fun learning environment.

Cusco has a number of special education primary schools, dedicated to helping disabled students overcome their challenges and giving them access to education and developmental opportunities. Many students have high dependency, so Special Education interns help teachers at these schools to provide the level of care that helps students to flourish.

Interns act as assistant teachers during lessons, providing individual assistance and working with students on learning tasks. You can help to organize classes, create learning materials and activities and provide support to the teacher wherever it’s needed.

Interns can also help around the school with recreational activities and games, fostering social, behavioral and physical development. A common goal in these games is to help students have fun, and interns are encouraged to use your creativity and initiative in this regard.

The school also has a range of specialists that come and work with students, and interns can assist specialists where it’s required. This can include helping with therapy, medical treatments, language specialists and nutritionists.

Interns should understand that working with students with special needs can be demanding. Experience in a special education environment is not required, but a flexible, patient attitude and willingness to help out will help you to handle the requirements of your internship. Interns are encouraged to ask questions, and to always look for things you can help out with when other tasks have been completed. This approach will help you to become more integrated within their placement. An open mind and commitment to learning is essential.

Schools operate Monday to Friday, from 8.30am to 11.30am and 3pm to 5.30pm. This internship is closed during school holidays in January and February, and from July 26 - August 15.

Special Education interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
  • Helping disabled students one-on-one
  • Preparing lessons and educational activities
  • Assisting local teachers in lessons
  • Assisting medical and behavioral specialists
  • General care of disabled students
  • Taking part in fun activities
Professional development opportunities:
  • Learn how to interact and stimulate students with a range of disabilities
  • Get experience developing educational materials and activities for disabled students
  • Practice and develop Spanish language proficiency within a professional setting
  • Experience how dedicated special education schools operate
  • Gain practical skills and boost your employability, with guidance from Intern Abroad HQ’s Experiential Learning Curriculum to support your learning and cultural intelligence.
Typical schedule:
  • Monday - Friday, 5 hours per day
Internship highlights:
  • Build relationships with students with disabilities as you foster a fun learning environment
  • Learn from local teachers about the requirements of special education
  • Experience Cusco, one of the world’s most popular tourism cities
  • Polish your Spanish language skills
Types of host organizations:
  • Special education schools
“I encourage future interns to approach this program with an open mind, to be flexible and be willing to adapt to the teacher’s methods using the few resources they process to provide the best learning opportunities for their students. I would also advise interns to inquire about the specific needs of each student in order to know what approaches, methods and tools work best with them. Overall, I was inspired by the children. They are curious, caring, full of life, and love to learn. I would highly recommend this internship!.” - Isabella Jamieson, Canada

Intern review: Natalie Reese

"This was one of the best experiences of my life and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. To anyone considering, just do it! It was a last second decision for me and it was the best decision I could’ve made. I interned with a group of kids after school and absolutely loved planning activities and games for them. The kids are absolutely darling, and I miss the time I spent with them and the lady I worked with every day. I also learned so much about the Spanish culture and language (the kids loved helping), and the memories I have will stay with me forever."

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Program fees

Internship Duration Program Fee (USD)
2 weeks $545
3 weeks $680
4 weeks $815
5 weeks $950
6 weeks $1085
8 weeks $1355
10 weeks $1625
12 weeks $1895
16 weeks $2435
20 weeks $2975
24 weeks $3515

Please note: The medical internship programs (Physician’s Assistant, Dentistry, Midwifery, Psychology and Physiotherapy) have an extra surcharge of US$15 per week, for extra supervision, materials and logistics involved. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you when you apply.

  • To convert these prices to your local currency visit the XE currency converter.
  • All Intern Abroad programs attract a Registration Fee of US$299 in addition to the Program Fee.
  • All payments attract a 5% transaction fee to cover international banking fees and currency charges. International wire transfer payments attract a minimum fee of US$75.
  • * Terms and Conditions do apply

What extra costs will I have?

  • Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program.
  • Language lessons.
  • Souvenirs + tourism/leisure activities during free time.
  • Personal spending money to cover basic expenses such as drinks, snacks, laundry, and public transportation. Interns generally find US$50 per week to be sufficient.

Registration fee

What it covers
  • Dedicated intern support
  • Personalized internship abroad plan
  • International internship reference
  • Experiential learning curriculum
  • Affordable internship fees
  • Flexible booking options

Program fee

What it covers
  • International internship placement
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Airport pick-up
  • Program orientation
  • Accommodation
  • In-country guidance for social and tourism activities

Keen to get started?

Taking the first step is easy! Our team is here to provide friendly assistance, from your initial research and planning phases, right through until your internship completion. To get started, submit an application. It is free to apply and takes just 5 minutes.

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Arrival and Orientation

Programs begin on every Monday of each month and participants may choose to spend a minimum of 2 weeks, up to a maximum of 24 week. All participants fly into the Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) in order to be picked up and transported to the accommodation, unless alternative arrangements for an overland arrival have been made. Orientation is given by our local hosts at their offices in Cusco every Monday and covers important details concerning introductions, support, culture, customs, safety, rules and expectations, things to see and do, and more. Regular meetings are also held on Mondays, in order to provide long-term participants additional support.

Accommodation

All program participants are hosted in various homestay accommodations, which are usually located approximately 20 minutes walk to the central office (which is located just off the Plaza De Armas). In some cases, accommodation may be located closer to the internship placement than the central office for convenience. If so, then the central office may be about 20 minutes away via public bus. There are 2 - 5 bedrooms in most homestays and everyone has their own bedroom (unless special requests are made in advance to share). Host families typically have their own bathrooms and there is a separate bathroom which is shared amongst the program guests. Living is comfortable, however it’s important to note that the infrastructure in Cusco is different from other developed cities. Water is cut-off intermittently at various times during the day. Most of the time, the water is running early in the morning, in the afternoons and evenings. It’s advised to shower in the morning and early evening (shower pressure can be low, and the water is typically warm but not steaming hot). On occasion, the water can be cut-off for longer periods of time (but with a fair warning). There is usually 24-hour electricity but from time to time the power can be cut-off without warning. It is endeavoured to provide WiFi in the home-stay accommodation, but the signal may not always be strong and from time to time, may go down.

Meals

Internships in Cusco include three meals per day, served at the homestay. A typical Peruvian breakfast is provided and consists of bread, spreads, juice, coffee or tea, and fruit. Lunch is generally the biggest meal of the day, and often consists of a soup and a main dish Dinner commonly consists of meat (often chicken), soups, pastas, starches and vegetables. Please be sure to let us know of any specific dietary requirements that you have in advance, so that we may ensure your hosts are aware and make recommendations accordingly.

Activities and tourism

Spanish lessons

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for all of the Peru internship programs, however basic Spanish skills are required. This is in order to encourage maximum engagement and enjoyment of the learning experience. Basic Spanish skills (Level A2) includes the ability to exchange brief information with questions and answers, use and understand simple language in daily situations and cultural aspects.

We strongly recommend that all program participants take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to Intern Abroad HQ participants by our host organization. These Spanish lessons can be arranged directly with the local team once registered for the program (ask about online Skype lessons) or at the orientation in-country. Language lessons are tailored to each individual’s current level of Spanish and classes run from Monday through to Friday.

  • Online Spanish lessons (20 hours) US$280
  • Group Spanish lessons (20 hours) US$133
  • Individual Spanish lessons (20 hours) US$182
  • Individual Survival Spanish (10 hours) US$95
  • Medical, Business or Technical Individual Spanish lessons (15 hours) US$165

Weekends and travel

During the weekends, free time is available to relax, engage in tourism activities and explore other parts of Peru. The program is based in Cusco at an elevation of approximately 3,400 m (11,200 ft). As the historic capital of the Inca Empire and UNESCO World Heritage Site, there is a lot to see and do within the city center alone (not to mention all the excellent restaurants!) Spanish colonial buildings mix with pre-Columbian sites in this truely remarkable city. Buy a “Boleto Turístico del Cusco”, which covers admission to sixteen excellent attractions within the Cusco and Sacred Valley region (valid for 10 days). If you have an International Student I.D. Card, use this to secure discounts!

  • Machu Picchu: It’s rare to visit Cusco without planning a trip to Machu Picchu. A truly stunning creation, the 15th-century Inca citadel is the quintessential icon of Peru and the Incan empire. The town below Machu Picchu, “Machu Picchu pueblo” or “Aguas Calientes” may be used as an overnight base before and after visiting the archeological site - especially when journeying from Cusco via bus/train, which takes about 3 hours (one way). Make sure you book entrance tickets in advance (including for Huayna Picchu if you wish to access the other peak).

  • The Classic Inca Trail: Sanctuary authorities have imposed a limit on the number of people that are allowed to hike the Inca Trail at any given time. Therefore, these excursions book out months in advance so it’s important to plan ahead by booking through a licensed guide or tour agency if you want to arrive to Machu Picchu by foot - especially during the high season, which is from May to September. Allow four days walking to arrive at Machu Picchu via the classic Inca Trail.

  • Inca Jungle Trek: This adventurous route to Machu Picchu includes walking, biking and sometimes even some rafting. From Cusco, the route leads into the Sacred Valley, from where you bike to Santa Maria, then walk to from Santa Maria to Santa Teresa, before arriving to the village of Machu Picchu (Aguas Calientes). After visiting Machu Picchu on the fourth day, the return to Cusco is via train. This option is not recommended during the months of January, February and March, due to unfavorable weather conditions (rainy season).

  • Salkantay Trek: This is considered an Inca trail alternative - it is more physically demanding but arguably offers more picturesque scenery, including waterfalls, plantations, mountains and jungle. The trek reaches a height of 4,650 m (15,255 ft) on its first two days, passing over snowy mountaintops. However, during the third and fourth day of the trek, you pass through jungle conditions in more tropical climates. On the fifth day, trekkers reach Machu Picchu.

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Country profile

Capital Lima
Population 29.99 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Peruvian Nuevo Sol (PEN)
Time zone UTC-05:00

Weather and climate: Peru, unlike other equatorial countries, does not have an exclusively tropical climate; the influence of the Andes and the Humboldt Current causes great climatic diversity within the country. In the mountainous region, rain is frequent during summer and temperatures and humidity diminish with altitude up to the frozen peaks of the Andes. The Jungle is characterized by heavy rainfal​l​ and high temperatures, with the exception of its southernmost part, which has cold winters and seasonal rainfall.