Take action this fall! Explore social change across the Americas, make an impact through a civic volunteership, engage with your community, and earn college credit.

Join virtually from anywhere in the world.

About the Program

Explore critical issues through college-level course curriculum and a volunteership placement with a community organization. Dig into leadership and cultural humility by examining your role in social change and community action. Learn how to step up at a time when collaboration and civic engagement are more important than ever.


What to Expect

  • Cohorts of 10–13 students
  • 12-week session
  • 18–24 hours per week
  • Small group collaboration and discussion


What You’ll GET

  • Internships for Social Change course taught by Tufts University faculty
  • 3 units of college credit (12-week session only)
  • One-on-one career mentorship
  • Volunteership placement – plus training!
  • Cross-cultural connection
  • Spanish or English language classes tailored to your level


What You’ll Need

  • Internet access and a way to video chat
  • Age: 17–22
  • English fluency
  • Enthusiasm for civic action and community engagement
  • Interest in Latin America and the Spanish language
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Partnering for Impact


Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University

The only university-wide college of its kind, Tisch College studies and promotes the civic and political engagement of young people at Tufts University, in our communities, and in our democracy.

Amigos de las Américas

Amigos de las Americas (AMIGOS) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1965 that provides youth leadership, cultural exchange, and immersive service experiences in the U.S. and Latin America.

Experience Summary


Session Dates

September 14–December 11, 2020


How to Apply

The application deadline has passed.


Fees and Financial Assistance

Need-based financial assistance is available!


What’s Included

-Full Tufts University course – CVS 99: Internships for Social Change
-Earn 3 units of course credit from Tufts University
-10-week volunteership placement, including training
-Engage design thinking to develop and complete a civic engagement project
-Earn up to 80 service hours
-Connection to a mentor to discuss your career interests
-Spanish or English language instruction (three hours per week)
-Llama Lounge meetups to connect with other students
-Virtual tours of AMIGOS partner agencies across Latin America

Volunteership Placements

Example Schedule

This is intended to provide an example only of what to expect from the Civic Action Gap Semester. Information below is tentative and subject to change.

Week 1: Introduction: Racial Justice & Social Change

Meet the other members of your cohort and get to know them through fun activities.

Consider how cultural humility, personal leadership, and community and civic engagement inform your volunteership and project.

Explore racial justice and social change and how these topics will be incorporated into the program.


Week 2: Racial Justice & Social Change

Hear from California’s Chief Service Officer, Josh Fryday, on the importance of civic action through volunteering.

Participate in training focused on racial justice and equity.

Find out what to expect from your volunteership.

Learn about the civic engagement project and how you will be engaging with your local community to execute an innovative local initiative.


Weeks 3–12 (12-week) or Weeks 3–6 (6-week)

Every two weeks we will be exploring, researching, and learning about a critical social issue that impacts both the U.S. and different countries in Central America and Ecuador. We’ll hear from Tufts faculty, guest speakers, and partner agencies as we analyze the roots of each problem and discuss different ways to create social change. In particular, we’ll approach each issue from a racial justice standpoint, highlighting racial disparities and the oppressive way in which race structures our society. Every week will also include the Tufts course or guided reflections, personal leadership activities, and civic engagement project work.

Spanish classes, meetups in the llama lounge, language café, 1:1 mentorship, and the volunteership round out the program.

Week 3 & 4: Public Health

Delve into the topic of racism in the health care system and how it has impacted COVID-19 responses in the US and in your own community.

Learn about the COVID-19 response in 3 different countries in Central America (Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua).


Week 5 & 6: Youth Political Participation

Explore the role of youth in U.S. politics.

Learn about the youth-led Nicaraguan political movement and how it has impacted politics.


Week 7 & 8: Food Security

Explore the ways in which communities in Latin America have utilized alternative commerce mechanisms in the wake of COVID-19 food and money shortages.

Learn about the politics of essential work and food justice in the U.S. and identify ways it has manifested in your community.


Week 9 & 10: Environment

Investigate the impact that mining and illegal fishing has on the indigenous populations of Ecuador and the protected nature reserves and wildlife.

Learn about environmental justice in the U.S.


Week 11 & 12: Education

Compare and contrast how COVID-19 has impacted education in the U.S. and Central America.

Explore increasing inequality in education due to access to virtual spaces and adequate technology.

Find out more in the video below:


What makes this experience unique?

Course Curriculum

Faculty from Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life lead modules on topics like civic engagement, cultural humility, and leadership. College credit is available.


Career Mentors

We match students with a career mentor. Throughout the semester, students connect with their mentor to delve into their personal leadership style, explore career paths, and more!



The volunteership is an opportunity to safely plug in to an organization working in areas such as public health, food security, and civic engagement in the era of COVID-19.


Language Training

Join the weekly Language Café, an engaging time for real conversation in Spanish, English, and Spanglish. Formal language instruction is also included! Students will be assigned to small groups based on their level.


Racial Equity and Justice Education

Lean into important work on racial equity and justice across the Americas through coursework led by Tufts University faculty. Complement this curriculum with workshops from leaders taking action in their communities.


Cultural Exchange

Dive into your own culture and learn to understand cultural bias, the role of language in culture, and global citizenship. Explore the work of NGOs across the Americas through virtual agency tours.


Join an online info session!


Program Pillars


Explore your sense of purpose and start to establish your personal goals and values through introspection and inquiry.

Cultural Humility

Gain understanding of how structural racism has impacted societies and the roles that communities can take to lead systemic change.

Community and Civic Engagement

Increase self-efficacy to combat social issues and structural racism in new and innovative ways. Learn how to engage in civic action initiatives you’re passionate about – locally, nationally, and globally.

Length Training
Ages Application
Fall 2020 12 weeks

Online orientation and training

September 14 – December 11, 2020

17–22 The deadline for this session has passed.


Need-based financial assistance is available!

  • Fall 2020
  • Length
    12 weeks
  • Training Dates

    Online orientation and training

  • In-Country Dates

    September 14 – December 11, 2020

  • Ages
  • Application Deadline
    The deadline for this session has passed.
  • Price


    Need-based financial assistance is available!

Featured Speakers

Ambassador Arnold Chacon is a career member of the United States Foreign Service currently serving as the Senior Vice President at the National Defense University. He has held senior leadership positions at the State Department, including Chief of Mission in Guatemala and Chief Human Capital Officer.

Prior to his service in Guatemala, he served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Spain. His other diplomatic assignments include postings to U.S. Missions in Honduras, Mexico, Chile, Italy, Peru, Ecuador, and the United Nations.

Cecilia Garcia Ruiz is a Mexican feminist and human rights advocate with over a decade of combined experience working in the civil society sector, the public sector, and as an independent consultant to advance gender equality. As Regional EM2030 Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean, she works with girls and women’s rights organizations in the region to strengthen their data-driven advocacy skills to advance gender equality and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Cecilia holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Gender, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.

Josh Fryday is California’s Chief Service Officer, leading the organization California Volunteers. Before this role, Josh was the mayor and city council member of Novato, CA. In his professional capacity, Josh served as President of Golden State Opportunity, working to provide financial security to low-income working people throughout California. Prior to that, he served as Chief Operating Officer (COO) for NextGen Climate, a leading national organization focused on climate change and clean energy.

Grace Alderson, MPH, is an Operations Chief in the COVID-19 pandemic response in Santa Clara County, California. Pre-COVID-19, Grace was a Senior Community Health Planner, specializing in developing grassroots initiatives dedicated to health equity and increasing access to healthcare. Over the past 10 years, Grace has worked on community health programming across the U.S. and throughout Mexico, Guatemala, Uruguay, Spain, Kenya, and China. Grace is an AMIGOS alumna (Volunteer in Mexico ’03, Paraguay ’04, Project Supervisor in Costa Rica ’06 and Associate Project Director in Nicaragua in ’07.)

Scott Horsley is NPR’s Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.

Horsley spent a decade on the White House beat, covering both the Trump and Obama administrations. Before that, he was a San Diego-based business reporter for NPR, covering fast food, gasoline prices, and the California electricity crunch of 2000. He also reported from the Pentagon during the early phases of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Horsley earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and an MBA from San Diego State University. He is an AMIGOS alumnus (’83, ’84) and currently lives in Washington, D.C.


Do I have to be enrolled in college to participate?

No, you do not have to be enrolled in college or planning to go to college to join. The Civic Action Gap Semester is open to any student ages 17-22, regardless of college plans. You should have an interest in civic engagement and a commitment to your community.

Do I have to be a Tufts University student to join?

No, you do not have to be a Tufts University student to join.

Do we get to choose our volunteership placement?

You will have some choice in your placement, but we will take into account the needs of the partner agency and your skills and interests before placing you.

Instead of being matched to a placement, students can also submit their own volunteership proposals with organizations within their communities or networks.

How do I get college-level course credit?

Any student who completes the 12-week experience will receive 3 units of college credit from Tufts University (the equivalent of one course).

When do I need to be available?

You should plan to be online between 12 and 3 PM ET Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and you should make sure to have some free time on Tuesdays and Thursdays to meet with your mentor, complete required program work, participate in Spanish classes and other optional program activities, and work for your volunteership. Your exact volunteership schedule will depend on the agency’s needs and your availability, but all placements require 6–8 hours of work each week.

What is the language requirement?

Students should be proficient in the English language as the curriculum will be delivered in English. Each student will join a Spanish or English language class for formal language instruction.

Can I apply for financial assistance?

Yes! We are excited to offer sliding scale fee with four tiers ranging from $250 to $8,475 based on a student’s financial situation. We encourage you to apply as early as possible, as our ability to offer lower fee packages is limited. Note on your application that you are applying for financial assistance. You will need to submit your most recent 1040 tax form or another form of income verification. Applicants will be notified of their financial assistance package when they are accepted to the Civic Action Gap Semester, before paying a deposit. If you are unable to participate due to financial reasons, the $50 application fee is refundable. Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions about financial assistance. Click here for more information about fees and financial assistance.


If these FAQs don’t answer your questions, we’d be happy to chat. Click here to set up a call.

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Want more info?

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“The things you will learn and experience and the relationships you will build will remain with you through the rest of your life.”

—Emma, AMIGOS Gap Volunteer

Program Requirements
  • Internet access and a way to video chat
  • Age: 17–22
  • English fluency
  • Enthusiasm for civic action and community engagement
  • Interest in Latin America and the Spanish language

Get Social With Us!

"Voting is so much bigger than one election, one party, or one candidate... When we all vote, in all elections, we get the kind of responsive leadership that speaks for our families and our communities."⠀
- Michelle Obama⠀

Today is National Voter Registration Day in the U.S.⠀

Register today at Vote.gov to prepare for these key dates:⠀

Election day is Nov. 3⠀

Registration deadlines:⠀
By mail: Postmarked by Oct. 5⠀
In person: Oct. 5⠀
Absentee ballot deadlines request: Oct. 23⠀
Return by mail: Postmarked by Nov. 3⠀

Early voting:⠀
Oct. 13 - Oct. 30, but dates and hours may vary based on where you live

Want to learn about the Community Impact Project from one of our volunteers? Two-time alumna @saylor.reinders will be joining our Info Session tomorrow night at 5pm CST to share about her time spent in a virtual community and creating a service project this summer!⠀

You can read more about her Community Impact Project experience (and register for the Info Session!) at the link in the bio.⠀

#onlinelearning #learningonline #onlinelearningplatform #online_learning #education #covid19 #stayhome #learning #staysafe #virtuallearning #handsonlearning #edtech #learnbydoing #remotelearning #distancelearning #educationaltechnology #learningexperience #learnonline #remotelearning2020 #volunteering #volunteerism #socialimpact #socialgood #volunteerwork #somosamigos

We came together the past five weeks in new ways through the Adelante Festival. We celebrated, we connected, and we made an impact for AMIGOS!⠀

At our Adelante Benefit, approximately 350 alumni, parents, and supporters tuned in for the live event. Our community embraced the spirit of the evening with paloma cocktails and festive attire! During our Auction, there was immense fun and creativity. With more than 70 items to be won, bidders donated over $31,000!⠀

Together, we raised nearly $135,000 for AMIGOS and strengthened our community in the process. Thank you for your support!⠀
We want more students in these programs, and your donations to support our programs and youth across the Americas makes that happen.

One of our Community Impact Project volunteers- Blessing from Pérez Zeledón, San José, Costa Rica (@bless_you27)- shares about her experience building community on a virtual platform and the speaking English regularly with native speakers! ⠀

Learn more about her CIP adventures on our blog, La Carta. Link in the bio!

The AMIGOS Community Impact Project for Fall 2020 is here!⠀

Young people ages 14-19 can join an eight-week online initiative to connect with other students, design positive service projects, and support your community during the COVID-19 pandemic.⠀

Application deadline is October 5th, so make sure you apply today! Learn more here at the link in our bio.⠀
#onlinelearning #learningonline #onlinelearningplatform #online_learning #education #covid19 #stayhome #learning #staysafe #virtuallearning #handsonlearning #edtech #learnbydoing #remotelearning #distancelearning #educationaltechnology #learningexperience #learnonline #remotelearning2020 #volunteering #volunteerism #socialimpact #socialgood #volunteerwork #somosamigos

The AMIGOS Fall 2020 Community Impact Project is an eight-week online initiative is for young people committed to sharing responsibility for our global community.⠀

This innovative program enables students to channel their energy into working with other young leaders across the U.S. and Latin America. They'll create projects that address our most pressing issues during this global crisis while building a supportive network of young people committed to creating positive change.⠀

The best part? Participants can join virtually from anywhere in the world! Learn more at the link in our bio.⠀
#onlinelearning #learningonline #onlinelearningplatform #online_learning #education #covid19 #stayhome #learning #staysafe #virtuallearning #handsonlearning #edtech #learnbydoing #remotelearning #distancelearning #educationaltechnology #learningexperience #learnonline #remotelearning2020 #volunteering #volunteerism #socialimpact #socialgood #volunteerwork #somosamigos

Make an impact this fall, no matter where you live, with the Community Impact Project! Join an online info session to learn more on Wednesdays at 5 PM or Sundays at 6 PM Central.⠀

RSVP for your free spot at the link in our bio!⠀

#onlinelearning #learningonline #onlinelearningplatform #online_learning #education #covid19 #stayhome #learning #staysafe #virtuallearning #handsonlearning #edtech #learnbydoing #remotelearning #distancelearning #educationaltechnology #learningexperience #learnonline #remotelearning2020 #volunteering #volunteerism #socialimpact #socialgood #volunteerwork #somosamigos

We are so excited for the first day of our Civic Action Gap Semester, a collaboration with the @tuftsuniversity @tischcollege! We can't wait to see all of the meaningful work they'll accomplish as they connect across borders during the next 12 weeks.⠀

Here's a glimpse into our students diving into the Program Pillars today.

Still deciding?

See more projects like this one!