My daily routine in Cusco is very busy! I have Spanish classes every weekday for two hours, but the exact time of my class changes every week. This week my class is from 8 am to 10 am. That means I wake up around 6:45 am, eat a quick breakfast, and then ride the bus into the city. The bus ride is around 20 minutes and by now I am accustomed to it. In Spanish class, I mostly practice conversing with my professor since most of my prior Spanish education has centered around reading and writing. After class, I have three hours in the city to explore before I have to go volunteer. During this time, I normally visit a museum, get lunch, or go to a cafe and catch up on some work. While I do have internet access with the host family I am staying with, it can be a bit slow, so sometimes it is helpful to go somewhere with a stronger connection.
After my free time in the city, I walk to the bus stop around 1 pm and take the bus to my volunteer location. Casa Mantay is located in a neighborhood called San Jerónimo, and it is about a 40 minute bus ride from the city center. This is the same time that a lot of children get out of school, so the bus is typically very full and I have to stand for most of it. I volunteer at Casa Mantay from 2 pm to 6 pm every weekday, and during this time I help with the 3- and 4-year-olds’ after school program. This involves helping them with a little homework, playing on the playground, and assisting their teacher in any way she needs. At 6 pm, I leave Casa Mantay and walk to a bus station to go home.
When I arrive back at my host family’s home, we eat a traditional Peruvian dinner together that normally consists of rice, potatoes, and some kind of meat. After dinner, we sit around the table discussing many topics in Spanish. On the weekends I remain busy by booking various tours around the region. Last weekend I visited Lake Titicaca, and the weekend before that I did a city tour and a tour of the Sacred Valley. This is a pretty busy schedule, but I feel like I am making the most of my five weeks in Cusco!