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, work with local students to grow their microenterprise, earning 215 service hours. You'll have the opportunity to travel with your community counterparts and AMIGOS partners to entrepreneurship workshops, build your business savvy, and develop a sustainable microenterprise. Work together on your business pitch and plan a project budget, then defend your business in a competition to win extra funding!

About the Region

Climate

Mountainous. Daytime temperatures range from 45°F to 65°F and often drop below freezing at night.

Slang

Achachai = how cold!

Food

Potatoes, cuy (guinea pig)

Terrain

High altitude in the Andes mountains

Crops

Potatoes, Andean tubers, quinoa, Andean corn, barley, and onions.

Citizens

Ecuatorianos, Riobambeños

Example Volunteer Projects
  • Building a cuy farm
  • Production and sale of artisan goods like bracelets, hats, sweaters, or jewelry
  • Community banking or microlending projects
  • Hair salon
Example Day

Morning: Wake up early to milk the cows, prepare breakfast, and help with other chores. Get together with AMIGOS partners to plan day camps for kids or work on your community service project. Go to lunch.

Afternoon: Lead activities for kids and then work in the fields to plant and harvest crops alongside your host family. Go on a hike and take in the spectacular views of the Andean highlands or start a game of soccer in the community center.

Evening: Eat dinner, chat with your host family, practice some Kichwa (an Andean indigenous language), and play games with your host siblings. Go to bed and get ready for another day!

Project Features

AMIGOS volunteers increase their language ability through immersion that goes beyond what can be achieved in a classroom. They improve their fluency, learn local slang, and increase their confidence with real-world practice.
Living with a host family is central to the AMIGOS experience. All host families volunteer to open their homes to young people from another culture. Volunteers and host families build long-lasting relationships and often stay in touch after the project has closed.
While in country, AMIGOS volunteers work on a community-led service project where you'll earn 215 service hours. Every service project is unique, but each channels young people's ideas to create positive change.
The opportunity for independence and self direction makes AMIGOS unique. Participants shape their time in country according to their passions. the possibilities are endless - what each volunteer takes out of their experience is up to them!
Every Amigo is mentored by a member of our project leadership team through regular check-ins and personalized feedback. This allows volunteers to experience the independence that sets our programs apart, with the support of a passionate facilitator.
Volunteers build their leadership and community development skills through hands-on training. Not only is AMIGOS training fun and engaging, it gives them the necessary tools for success in the field and beyond.
  • National Chapter
  • Length
    6 weeks
  • Training Dates
    Group Pre-departure Training:
    June 21–25
  • In-Country Dates
    June 25–August 6
  • Ages
    15–22
  • Price
    $6,350 (includes international airfare)
Want to go to Ecuador?

Start your application today!

APPLY NOW
AMIGOS absolutely changed my life. Through the challenging experiences I faced as a volunteer and project staff member I proved to myself what I am capable of accomplishing and now when I face an obstacle I have concrete examples to look back on and prove to myself that I am capable of accomplishing whatever I set my mind to.
2013 Summer Program Volunteer
Program Requirements
  • Meet the health criteria for AMIGOS participation and follow the mental health procedures if necessary
  • Receive required immunizations and medications
  • Be age 15–22 on the project start date (June 25)
  • Have two years of Spanish study or the equivalent

Chimborazo Project EXAMPLE Itinerary

*This is an example itinerary based on last year’s project. Dates, activities, and topics may be subject to change.

June 25 – Arrive in Ecuador! Project staff meet you at the airport and the group travels to the briefing site, in Guamote.

June 26 – 29 – Briefing. Project staff lead a country-specific orientation to AMIGOS and the Chimborazo Project.

June 30 – Head to community and meet your host family. Week 1 of day camps for kids, fun sessions for local youth that focus on specific topics. An example topic is “Getting to know my community.”

July 7 – Week 2 of day camps. Example activity: Place a chicken bone in soda for a week. Look at the bone at the end of the week and reflect on how sugar affects the teeth. Afterwards, kids brush their teeth as a group.  

July 13 – 14 – Youth Encuentro – Capacity-building workshops held for local students.

July 15 – Week 3 of day camps. Example activity: Each kid writes their name vertically on a piece of paper. Other kids write an adjective that starts with each letter of their name to describe them.

July 21 – Week 4 of day camps. Example activity: Kids take volunteers on tour of their community, kids draw their homes and write 3 things that they like about their community then share with group .

Weekend of July 20 – 21 – Midterm. Supervisors organize a time to relax with all the Chimborazo volunteers and the project staff.

July 27 – 28 – Youth Encuentro

July 28 – Week 5 of day camps: Critical Thinking. Project-wide despedida (goodbye party) will be held this weekend.

August 3–6 – Come together with the rest of the group for debriefing: a workshop to process your experiences with everyone else on your project and prepare to return home. Debriefing is also a chance to see the Chimborazo Volcano for a truly amazing hike!

August 6 – Fly home!