Field report

I can only recommend Latin America. It is an incredibly interesting continent, with so many natural wonders and cultural impressions. My trip opened up a whole new world and I know that I will definitely be back.
September 2022 - November 2022
Participant Matilda sits on a tree trunk in the jungle
Matilda's 8-month adventure began in Peru and then continued in Costa Rica and Guatemala. She decided to not only travel during her time abroad, but to help animals in the process. She started her long journey with the Wildlife Shelter Program near Cusco, Peru, to volunteer there for three months. In Costa Rica, she spent another three months at a wildlife sanctuary and then traveled to the Eco Farm in Guatemala for two months.


My preparation time

To be honest, I didn't do much preparation at all. The usual shopping, of course, like clothes, but also medication and vaccinations. The preparation seminars, information sheets, etc. from WanderWorld made it even easier, of course. I always knew that I wanted to travel and combine it with volunteering, I was drawn to nature and animals. That's why I was mainly very excited about the time. I had absolutely no expectations of my time and I think that was the best thing. I let everything come to me and it worked out perfectly.

The first days

My first few days were very exciting and beautiful. I arrived in Cusco and got a little altitude sick at the beginning, so I strolled around the city, sat in the sun and let all the new impressions sink in. Of course, you're a bit more to yourself at first, because you have to get to know other people first. But it's much quicker and easier than you often think and I had to absorb and process everything new first anyway. I really appreciated the work right from the start and was given a very warm welcome. I can still remember my first tour of the site and was simply fascinated by the atmosphere and beauty.

My free time in Cusco

For me, Cusco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. There is so much to see and do. I went to Spanish lessons in Cusco and got to know a lot of my friends there. We went out to eat, played soccer and volleyball, I started taking salsa lessons, strolled through the city and went shopping, we explored the markets, visited the surrounding Mayan ruins, went for walks, went to bars and clubs, watched the full moon and played werewolf, saw lots of sunsets and so much more. The weekends were filled with excursions, going out and drinking coffee. We went on a 5-day hike to Machu Picchu and hiked in and out of one of the deepest canyons in the world. I was able to experience glaciers, lakes, mountains and incredible nature and culture and share this with very good friends, as the city is always full of people who also want to experience adventure.

My experience with culture

I find the cultural influence that you can feel there so impressive. Women and men still walk around in traditional dress and live very close to nature, especially just outside the city. Two good friends of mine lived with a host family and after just a few visits, I was welcomed as warmly as a family member and invited over as if we had known each other forever. Apart from the traditions and proximity to Mayan culture and nature, which I found so beautiful, there is a very relaxed atmosphere in Latin America. There is dancing, music and people are very friendly and open. All of this creates a vibe that would do Germany a world of good and that I will definitely miss.

What I was able to give my project

I was in the project for a longer period of time and really put my heart and soul into helping and also took on some of the work of guiding visitors. The other workers don't finish at 1 pm like the volunteers, but stay the whole day, 6 days a week and unfortunately earn hardly any money compared to European salaries. When I had to say goodbye, I realized that everyone was very grateful for the help and that meant a lot to me.

My favorite place

You would probably expect the answer to be "Machu Picchu" or something similar, but as banal as it may sound, I always think back to my way to the apartment. Every time I walked home through Cusco in the evening and saw the mountains and the sunset, I often realized again where I was and even after 3 months I just had to start smiling.

Why I love Latin America

I can only recommend Latin America. It is an incredibly interesting continent, with so many natural wonders and cultural impressions. My trip opened up a whole new world and I know that I will definitely come back to see many more countries. Every country there, no matter how small and unknown, has so much to offer, is so different, beautiful and exciting. Just as I fell in love with this continent, so did everyone I met while traveling. What I will miss most is a certain lightness, the people and the attitude to life that embodies enjoyment and fun.

How the trip changed me

I have been able to broaden my horizons on various levels. I learned a lot about myself, but also about other people. Impressions that I would never have been able to experience in Germany have had a huge impact on me. As I said, a new world has opened up to me and I have also learned a lot about other cultures, the environment and ways of life. I am also grateful for certain standards that are often considered so "normal" at home and have changed my view of the world once again. I think such experiences would do a lot of people in Europe good and leave you with a much better outlook on life.

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