COVID-19 and the AMIGOS Gap Program

We understand that you may be wondering how the COVID-19 pandemic may impact your gap year plans. AMIGOS launched a spring 2021 Gap Program in Costa Rica in which students live together on a nature reserve in a “bubble” model.

Our traditional Gap Program in Ecuador and Uruguay has been suspended through spring 2021. We understand that the global situation changes daily and may impact our programming so we want to provide you with information to support in your gap year planning. We have staff and alumni here to help consult with you about your choices.

New programs coming soon – stay tuned!

Apply now for a Gap Program!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is the spring 2021 Costa Rica Gap Program definitely going to run?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international travel and border regulations which are beyond our control, it is difficult to say anything is definite. That said, we have every intention to run this program, and we are very excited to do so!

As of November 1, 2020, all U.S. citizens will be able to enter Costa Rica on flights departing from the United States. Because these regulations are subject to change in short time frames, we are waiting until January 15, 2021 to begin collecting program fee payment and paperwork for the Gap Program in Costa Rica. Running the Gap Program in Costa Rica is dependent on the status of U.S. citizen entry into Costa Rica and other travel and health regulations. On January 15th, our team will email you informing you of the program status. Keep in mind this means that after January 15th, the turnaround time on paperwork and payment will be quick.

If AMIGOS cancels programs, will we get our deposit and/or program fee refunded?

AMIGOS will not bill families for the program fee until January 15, 2020. If AMIGOS suspends gap programs, you will have the option to defer to a later program start date or receive a refund of your deposit. This refund will include all monies paid except the $50 application fee.

If AMIGOS cancels my program and I was fundraising, what will happen to my donations?

Donors who contributed to your fundraising effort may be given the option to convert their donation to be used for the AMIGOS Annual Fund or to have their donation refunded. Additionally, if you opt to defer, you can hold over your donations for your program fee.

What if I decide after enrolling that don’t want to participate in AMIGOS because of the COVID-19 pandemic?

We understand that many factors are considered when you choose AMIGOS, and that circumstances may require you to cancel your participation in AMIGOS. Our $425 program deposit is fully refundable if requested within 30 days of payment. Additionally, partial refunds are available for payments made towards the program fee. The amount of the refund is calculated based on administrative and fixed costs incurred through the date of cancellation. If you are unable to join AMIGOS due to a documented health concern, you can also choose to hold over funds for use in the next program year. The complete finance policy can be found in the Welcome Packet which was sent via email upon acceptance.

Students who were enrolled for spring 2021 programs in Ecuador and Uruguay may transfer to the Gap Program in Costa Rica or defer their program start to fall 2021.

Is AMIGOS exploring other options for programming?

Yes! In addition to the Gap Program in Costa Rica, we are exploring options for a gap year in the United States as well as running more sessions of the virtual Civic Action Gap Semester.

Fill out this form to receive more information about our Gap Program and be notified of any new programs.

When will AMIGOS return to Uruguay or Ecuador?

We have suspended spring 2021 programs in Ecuador and Uruguay due to health concerns. Our traditional programs involve homestays with local families and in-person internships at partner agencies, which are not feasible at this time. We are monitoring the situation and will return to those countries when it makes sense from a programmatic and health and safety standpoint.

What happens if I am in Latin America and the situation becomes unsafe due to the spread of COVID-19?

AMIGOS reserves the right to suspend or relocate a running project for any reason. In the event that a project must be suspended, we will make every effort to relocate the volunteers to a comparable project. If relocation is not possible, volunteers will return home early. In this case, refunds will be available less any costs incurred up to that point in the program and less any costs required in order for the volunteer to return safely home.

What happens if I test positive for COVID-19 before departing for Costa Rica?

All students on our Gap Program in Costa Rica must send AMIGOS a negative COVID-19 test 72 hours prior to departure. This is part of Costa Rica’s entry policies. If a student tests positive for COVID-19 within 72 hours of departure, they cannot participate in the program. Instead, they can elect to transfer their participation to an AMIGOS program with a later start date. The student will need to produce a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of any AMIGOS program start date. If they are still unable to produce a negative test or prefer not to attend another AMIGOS program, they can receive a partial refund. No late starts on programs are permitted.

If AMIGOS makes changes to programming, how will that impact our program fee?

If AMIGOS decides to run shorter programs, we will adjust the program fee rate to reflect the pricing of the new shorter program.

If you have questions, please reach out to Krista Boscoe at [email protected].