"I spent one month in Tomepampa as a teacher's assistant in English classes with Volunteers Peru. As soon as I got to Arequipa I felt welcome and everything was taken care of by lovely Eva and Marita.
In Tomepampa I stayed in Casa Primavera which felt like being at home. I had my own cozy room with bathroom and access to the shared kitchen. Besides from Carmela who makes you wonderful lunches, her sons Hector and Miguel also live in the house. They were always up for things like guiding me in the area, going fishing or watching movies and I really enjoyed having them around. The village of Tomepampa is kind of small but there are plenty of small shops where you can buy the most necessary things.
The school is located just a minute's walk away from the house and is divided into two parts: the primary and the secondary. I spent more or less all the time in secondary as that's where they learn English. The two English teachers are really different, Maribel has a pretty good level of English and does a lot of teaching in front of the class, while Julissa struggles quite often with the language and has more discussions with the class (often in Spanish though).
When I was with Maribel she usually did the teaching but asked me for help with pronunciation practices with the class. Also, when the class were working in smaller groups or by themselves I helped the students out when they asked for it and occasionally I checked homework or tasks they'd done during class. Most of the time I was just sitting around and some of the one block classes I didn't do anything at all, which was kind of boring.
Luckily the classes with Julissa was the opposite. I was constantly asked to help either her or the students with pretty much anything. Sometimes Julissa held the class while I was writing things she said on the board and at other times I more or less held the class. As I mentioned earlier she does struggle with the language, which means she has to look up things in her dictionary so often that she just carries it around all the time. Also when she writes things on the board she spells it wrong quite often so of course it's not the optimal situation for the students. On the other hand she is really sweet and really cares about the students and most importantly she makes every effort to get better.
Four days a week I had an extra hour of English in the afternoon with the kids who are doing an exchange with England. The four hours added to the already five hours of English in school and rather long days was a bit excessive, there wasn't really any time for the students to study in between.
When you're not in school you should go explore the surroundings. The Cotahuasi canyon is something else and there's no way you'll be able to see it all unless you stay for a couple of months. I did at least one trip every weekend and I think my top two was visiting the small lake outside Cotahuasi (which is really easy to visit) and hiking the mountain above Cahuana (which is not easy at all). The hike up to Cauhana is definitely more spectacular if you take the steps from Alca but it's probably easier to walk the switchbacks from Luicho.
If you're still thinking of going, stop and just go! You won't regret it. I'm definitely going back one day. "