High in the Andes mountains, immerse yourself in the life of rural Ecuador. During your time in community, you might learn to harvest potatoes alongside your host dad or help your host sister milk the family's cows. Throughout the summer, build your business savvy and community development skills by working alongside local students to design and implement a project. You may help develop programs for a community radio station, work on a re-forestation project, or help out at a seed bank. 

Apply now!
Length Training
Dates
In-Country
Dates
Ages Application
Deadline
Price
Session A 4 Weeks

Online training on COVID-19, health and safety, mental health, travel, and AMIGOS history before departure. Leadership and orientation training take place in-country.

June 6–July 3, 2023

15–19 Financial Assistance and Local Chapter Deadline: January 17, 2023

Final Deadline: April 18, 2023

$4,675 – Local Chapter (Find out more about joining AMIGOS through a local chapter here)

$6,175 – National Chapter

Fees include all in-country expenses.

Financial assistance is available! Click here for more information.

Session B 4 Weeks

Online training on COVID-19, health and safety, mental health, travel, and AMIGOS history before departure. Leadership and orientation training take place in-country.

July 11–August 7, 2023

15–19 Financial Assistance and Local Chapter Deadline: January 17, 2023

Final Deadline: May 9, 2023

$4,675 – Local Chapter (Find out more about joining AMIGOS through a local chapter here)

$6,175 – National Chapter

Fees include all in-country expenses.

Financial assistance is available! Click here for more information.

  • Session A
  • Length
    4 Weeks
  • Training Dates

    Online training on COVID-19, health and safety, mental health, travel, and AMIGOS history before departure. Leadership and orientation training take place in-country.

  • In-Country Dates

    June 6–July 3, 2023

  • Ages
    15–19
  • Application Deadline
    Financial Assistance and Local Chapter Deadline: January 17, 2023

    Final Deadline: April 18, 2023
  • Price

    $4,675 – Local Chapter (Find out more about joining AMIGOS through a local chapter here)

    $6,175 – National Chapter

    Fees include all in-country expenses.

    Financial assistance is available! Click here for more information.

  • Session B
  • Length
    4 Weeks
  • Training Dates

    Online training on COVID-19, health and safety, mental health, travel, and AMIGOS history before departure. Leadership and orientation training take place in-country.

  • In-Country Dates

    July 11–August 7, 2023

  • Ages
    15–19
  • Application Deadline
    Financial Assistance and Local Chapter Deadline: January 17, 2023

    Final Deadline: May 9, 2023
  • Price

    $4,675 – Local Chapter (Find out more about joining AMIGOS through a local chapter here)

    $6,175 – National Chapter

    Fees include all in-country expenses.

    Financial assistance is available! Click here for more information.

About the Project

CLIMATE

Cool and dry. The terrain is mountainous. Daytime temperatures can be warmer in the sun but drop lower at night.

SLANG

achachai = how cold!

FOOD

Potatoes, cuy (guinea pig), mote (Andean corn, which in Cuenca is served with pork fat or a type of egg salad)

TERRAIN

High altitude in the Andes mountains

CITIZENS

Ecuatorianos, Cuencanos

SERVICE HOURS

Earn 48 service hours

EXAMPLE VOLUNTEER PROJECTS
  • Organize a community food drive 
  • Purchase and plant seeds to expand a local farm 
  • Host a workshop on nutrition for local kids 
  • Support a collective of female agricultural workers 
  • Assist with community tourism initiatives  
Find out more about our programs

Join an online info session!

RSVP HERE

What You'll Do

COMMUNITY-DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT

Work alongside local groups to support a variety of projects identified by the municipal governments of the rural communities where volunteers will be placed. You may help amplify the work and paja toquilla products of an artisan cooperative; help recover old cultural traditions; learn about and document ancestral medicine techniques; or support community tourism programs.  

 

Partner AgencY

AMIGOS will work alongside the Gobiernos Autónomos Descentralizados (GADs) of the rural communities where volunteers will be placed along with the Consejo Cantonal de Cuenca to support initiatives related to rural tourism, community development, and economic empowerment.  

 

Example Activities

  • Enjoy quality time with your host family 
  • Play games with your host siblings 
  • Hike in Cajas National Park and see one of the park’s over 275 lakes 
  • Earn 48 service hours volunteering on community development projects 
  • Join in on a game of Ecuavolley, an Ecuadorian version of volleyball 
  • Visit a local museum or participate in a cultural event offered by your community 

A Day in the Life

DAYS 1–4* 

  • Wake up and have breakfast in small groups 
  • Begin briefing and orientation 
  • Morning: Rotating schedule of activities including Spanish classes; orientation; explore topics like youth empowerment, natural resources, and sustainability in action; and volunteering activities. 
  • Lunch outside 
  • Afternoon: Rotating schedule of activities including Spanish classes, briefing, etc. in small groups 
  • Free time to explore the grounds 
  • Dinner in small groups 
  • After Dinner: free time, fun group activities 

*Approximate 

DAY 5 THROUGH END OF PROJECT 

  • Meet your host family and settle in to your host community 
  • Wake up and have breakfast and coffee with your host family 
  • Meet up with local students and your AMIGOS volunteer partners to plan your service project 
  • Have lunch with your host family 
  • Volunteer on your service project, attend community meetings, get to know your local community 
  • Dinner with your host family 
  • Relax with your host family, play games, listen to music 
  • Meet up with the rest of the AMIGOS group for your last few days in Ecuador – go on an excursion and reflect on your experience before traveling home 

Program Pillars

Ethical Service

Learn how to create ethical service initiatives by working with–not for–a community, engaging local organizations and partners, and evaluating the impact of your work. AMIGOS works with trusted local partners that are passionate and committed to working with our volunteers on community service projects.

Cultural Humility

Cultural humility is a process of both self-reflection about your own culture as well as learning about other cultures. You will examine your own beliefs and cultural identity and gain an understanding of how structural racism has impacted societies and the roles that communities can take to lead systemic change.

Leadership

Learn, grow, and discover your leadership potential! Explore your sense of purpose and start to establish your personal goals and values through introspection and inquiry.

Apply Now

Click here

Why Choose AMIGOS?

Have an Adventure

Travel off the beaten path and to must-see spots in Ecuador! Live like a local, not a tourist, with a host family in your host community. You’ll get to see these places from the distinct perspective of someone who has spent time in that country and learned about the culture firsthand. Plus, you’ll bond with volunteers and community members and have fun!

Travel with Trust

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. A Health and Wellness Coordinator is on staff with the group throughout the duration of their stay. AMIGOS also has an established network of vetted medical clinics and hospitals throughout the region.

Practice Spanish

AMIGOS programs provide a unique opportunity to experience a new culture. Volunteers report increased fluency in Spanish after completing 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 every day!

AMIGOS helped me find my voice and my purpose in life. AMIGOS isn’t just a summer volunteering program, it is a path that leads you to appreciate other peoples and cultures, a journey that develops you as a leader, an adventure that makes you realize that you are more capable than you think.

—Eli, Volunteer in Ecuador

Program Requirements
  • Have taken 2+ years of Spanish or the equivalent
  • Meet the health criteria for AMIGOS participation and follow the mental health procedures if necessary.
  • Receive required immunizations and medications
  • Be age 15–19 on the project start date
Apply Now

Field Notes

Michael’s Reflection on the Rural Homestay

Archive, Azuay, Ecuador


Read More
Starting Micro-Projects in Cuenca

Archive, Azuay, Ecuador


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Arrival in Rural Communities

Archive, Azuay, Ecuador


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high five for an awesome workshop day!! ...

Workshop time | Tiempo de talleres ...

Host family Sunday ❤️ ...

Today Gap Year volunteers celebrated Killa Raymi at Cajas National Park. This celebration is the day when the elements that govern life, which are water, fire, earth and air are recharged with energy and when someone do the rituals they purify themselves 🌎🌬🔥💦 ...

Recordemos un momento súper especial para Gap Year! | Let’s remember a special moment for Gap Year! ...

Meet the team 🙌🏻

Devin is our Programs Coordinator for Ecuador🇪🇨. She provides budget, planning, and policy oversight for all AMIGOS programs in Ecuador including Gap and Summer.

She is a proud Mainer🦞 who spent 9 years in Washington, DC🇺🇸 studying Spanish/Latin American Studies at American University and working as a contractor at the U.S. Department of State. In Ecuador, Devin has taught English; coordinated study abroad programs; and trained, supervised, and mentored volunteer English teachers. She has worked on AMIGOS' Youth Ambassadors and Health & Safety teams and is thrilled to be working in-person with the team in Cuenca!

Devin is passionate about international education programs; facilitating impactful and thought-provoking workshops for youth and young adults; and working in the space of cross-cultural exchange.

Top of the bucket list: travel to the Patagonia region in Argentina and Chile 🌎
...

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