Learn about the world by living in it!
Since 1965, AMIGOS youth have been creating positive change across the Americas. Today, our programs empower students ages 13–22 to engage with their community and their world.
We do this in several ways:
- Designing programs to meet youth where they are. We offer Summer Programs for middle school and high school students and Gap Year Programs for high school graduates.
- Engaging year-round with our host communities and partner organizations throughout the U.S. and Latin America. We ensure that AMIGOS students take part in the daily life of their host community as well as service projects that are community-led.
- Running the Social Impact Accelerator, a free, virtual program for AMIGOS alumni to connect with changemakers throughout the Americas while they design and implement a service project in their own community.
- Providing opportunities to grow and lead. We encourage AMIGOS alumni to continue their career development by joining our project staff, getting involved with a local chapter board, applying to our Young Alumni Council, and more.
- Investing in Latin American youth through fully-sponsored program participation, project staff placements, and support for families.
- Go beyond travel and live like a local
- Make real friendships that last a lifetime
- Volunteer on a sustainable service project
- Improve your Spanish through authentic cultural immersion
- Explore the country with other volunteers on excursions to must-see spots
- Earn service hours
- Gain confidence and leadership skills that prepare you for college and beyond!
- Earn two college credits from certain programs
AMIGOS programs provide a unique opportunity to experience a new culture as a local, not a tourist. Volunteers report increased fluency in Spanish after going through our program. Activities go far beyond the classroom — you’ll lead activities in Spanish, learn local slang, and increase your confidence with real-world practice. You will not believe how fast your Spanish improves when you use it in conversation everyday!
Gap Program volunteers will take Spanish classes through Amauta Spanish School in Cuenca.
AMIGOS works with trusted local partner organizations to identify communities that are passionate and committed to working with our volunteers on community service projects. It has been our experience that a service project is sustainable only when the community owns it and participates in the effort. You will collaborate on a service project with volunteers your own age as well as community members.
AMIGOS is the industry leader in health and safety management. Our staff is prepared to help you with any situation that may arise. Each volunteer receives a personalized emergency plan, as well as support from local staff teams and a professional 24-hour On-Call Safety Team of travel specialists, doctors, and mental health specialists. AMIGOS also has an established network of vetted medical clinics and hospitals throughout the region.
Volunteers must meet the general health criteria for participation in AMIGOS programs and receive all the required immunizations. Learn more about our health and safety system here and read COVID-19 information here.
Prepare for AMIGOS through guided training in topics like:
- Multicultural understanding;
- Health and safety;
- Community development;
- Travel safety;
- Leadership; and
- Team building.
Upon arrival in the field, you’ll start country-specific training with your group of fellow volunteers. During your time abroad, you’ll meet regularly with an AMIGOS staff member who serves as your mentor. Finally, at the end of your service, come together again as a group to participate in debriefing — putting what you learned in context, preparing to go home, and going on fun excursions around the country.
Don’t miss out on must-see spots in your host country! You’ll travel as a group to experience unique destinations your host country has to offer, like volcanoes, ancient ruins, national parks, and historical sites. You’ll get to see these places from the distinct perspective of someone who has lived in that country and learned about the culture firsthand. Plus, you’ll bond with their fellow volunteers and have fun!
Gap Program volunteers will get to visit sites around the region, like national parks, beaches, waterfalls, hot springs, and volcanoes!
Each day brings new and unique opportunities! Find the best local spot in your new city, learn traditional dances, make new friends with people in your community, practice your Spanish, hike in national parks, and more!
The things you will learn and experience, the relationships you will build, and the joy and love you will feel are irreplaceable and will remain with you through the rest of your life.