One thing common among almost all GSW Project Managers is that when they first saw the job description, it struck them as “too good to be true.”
This was certainly the case with me, as I combed my university’s career database during the fall of my senior year. I planned to take a gap year before going to medical school and wanted to spend that year doing meaningful service, preferably with women or girls and preferably in a Spanish-speaking country. When I stumbled upon the GSW Project Manager listing, I could not believe that such a perfect position existed. I could live in Cusco for a year and empower young girls through athletics, what more could I want!
Being a GSW Project Manager has proven so much more fulfilling than I could have imagined. Our Chicas Dinamicas are a fun, enthusiastic, and kind group of girls who keep our work hours full of laughter and joy. Not only do we teach the girls how to serve a volleyball or properly kick a soccer ball, but also promote the ideals of leadership and self-esteem. We strive to empower our students and motivate them to grow mentally and physically. Every day they are so excited to take over the court and show their school or their neighborhood that girls have just as much of a right to play as boys do.
GSW provides a rare opportunity to have significant autonomy in a position right out of college. Danielle and I get to design our classes, choose activities that we find most interesting or effective, and make changes that we feel will improve the program. It was a nerve-wracking but exhilarating feeling to enter a foreign country with a foreign language and be asked to take total charge of a program. Luckily GirlSportWorks has 15 years of experience in Cusco and we always have the support of our co-directors Carrie and Sarah, whose guidance has proven invaluable over the past 5 months. With their help and the help of our predecessors Kyla and Rachel, we have been able to take ownership of the program and are excited to implement improvements in the coming year.
In addition to the job in and of itself being perfect, the setting could not be more choice. Cusco is one of the most unique and beautiful cities I have ever visited. It is surrounded by the Sacred Valley, home to numerous hikes and fascinating Incan ruins. I feel blessed every time I walked through the Plaza de Armas and take in the stunning Andean peaks that appear on all sides.
I feel even more blessed every time I walk into our neighborhood mercado San Blas for my 5 soles (approximately $1.50) lunch, which includes a soup, main dish, and a drink. The food in Cusco is delicious and cheap and includes options perfect for vegetarians or die-hard meat-eaters like me. Danielle and I spend more time than we would like to admit eating in our favorite haunts around the center, making us close friends with many of the local servers and restaurant owners. We quickly found ourselves integrated into the daily rhythm of life in San Blas, which includes Peruvians as well as an eclectic mix of foreigners from all over the world. Living in Cusco has allowed us to make friends from Germany, the UK, China, Bolivia, Argentina, and Venezuela, just to name a few countries. We spend Tuesdays playing board games with our expat game night group, and Wednesday nights playing (read: dominating) trivia at a local bar. Three nights a week I teach hip hop classes at a dance studio, and Danielle practices with a local women’s soccer team. On the weekends we often venture into the Sacred Valley to go on hikes or bike rides, or to spend our hard-earned soles on one-of-a-kind artwork form an artisanal market.
If you want to immerse yourself in the rich and beautiful culture of Peru, empower young girls through athletics, and have the best year of your life, you have come to the right place. Make sure to apply by the January 11 application deadline! Guidance on how to apply can be found here. If you have any further questions, please contact me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.