I had the time of my life with HOOP. Even though I spent five months with HOOP, I wish I could have stayed longer.
After high school, I wanted to go abroad and work voluntarily. I researched lots of organizations, and when I found out about HOOP, I liked their program immediately and it seemed to be exactly what I wanted to do. I liked that it combines volunteering and teaching English with meeting new people and travelling on the weekends. Furthermore, HOOP doesn’t charge you high fees and I know that the money they get is used to continue the program and the work in Flora Tristan.
I think HOOP has done a lot for this community. It’s not just English classes that they offer so that the children can improve their English outside of school, and homework help so that the kids really understand their school subjects. HOOP works to brings the community together. HOOP teaches about nutrition, health, education, finances and many other topics, and offers free health/dental check-ups to the community. It’s great to see the children coming to school with a big smile and enjoying their time there.
Arequipa is my favorite city to live in. It’s such a beautiful city. It’s sunny and warm every day, the people there are super nice, the food is the best and, most of all, really cheap. There are always lots of things to do – like sightseeing, going out, different weekend activities and so on. I lived in the center so everything was in walking distance which was something I really enjoyed (since I am from a small town where you always need a car).
My favorite “moment” (or day :D) with HOOP was the Christmas party. Spending a day with all the children was so much fun. The children enjoyed all the games we played with them and you could see how happy they were. And all the volunteers had as much as fun as the kids. And during the day my students started making plans to kidnap me so that I would be able to stay longer!
Another favorite moment was when my kids asked me to teach them some words in languages other than English, so I held a German-Portuguese-French class teaching them some words of every language (well, mainly German). We had lots of fun and after some weeks I got so surprised when they told me “Danke” instead of “Thank you”.
I have many good memories of the time I spent with all the volunteers. One time the owners of the volunteer hostel made ceviche – a Peruvian speciality – for all of us and we had an awesome dinner. At the weekends we often took trips together to Colca Canyon, Puno, Lake Titicaca, Ica and the beach.
I loved teaching my class and spending time with all the kids in Flora Tristan as well as doing so many things with all the volunteers – travelling, going out, cooking together and so on. All that made my stay perfect. HOOP is an amazing organization and everyone should volunteer here!