Learn and practice sustainable organic farming techniques at local farms and gaining 270 service hours while splitting your time between the city of Cuenca and rural Ecuador! This is the only summer program that involves both urban and rural homestays and formal language education.

Example Itinerary

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

Day 1

Volunteers arrive. Project staff meet them at the airport and the group starts to get oriented in Cuenca.

Week 1

Briefing. Project staff lead all volunteers in a country-specific orientation to AMIGOS and the Cuenca Project. Meet all other students on your project and spend a few days getting to know each other, learning about Ecuador, and doing fun activities. After briefing, project staff bring volunteers to their host communities to meet their host families.

Weeks 1–4

Meet your host family and get oriented to the city of Cuenca. You’ll be taking Spanish classes for half the day and volunteering for the other half.

Weeks 5–7

Travel to a rural community outside of Cuenca where you’ll meet your second host family. During this time, you’ll be working on a community service project alongside local residents.

Week 8

Spend the last few days of your experience evaluating your project with other volunteers and our partner agencies. Then, you’ll come together with the other volunteers on your project to participate in debriefing, a time to reflect on your summer. You’ll also get to go on an excursion with other volunteers.

August 11

Fly home!

About the Region

Climate

Cuenca is more mild than the rural highlands. When the sun is out, expect pleasant days (short sleeves!) but you’ll need a jacket when the sun goes down.

Slang

achachai = how cold!

Food

Potatoes, cuy (guinea pig), choclo con queso (corn with fresh cheese)

Terrain

Mountainous. Prepare for high altitude.

What makes this project different?

You’ll spend part of your time in Cuenca and part of it in rural Ecuador. With your group of fellow AMIGOS, you’ll volunteer with organizations that focus on food security, sustainable agriculture, and other international development causes pertaining to organic farming. You will also be attending Spanish classes to boost your language skills.

This project involves a high degree of independence, which will lead to boosted confidence and improved leadership skills. Experiencing daily life in a foreign city will build up your travel know-how. You’ll collaborate with other students in your program to plan and develop a service project related to agriculture and food security. This will be implemented and evaluated by your team as well.

Example Volunteer Projects
  • Organizing a community food drive
  • Purchasing and planting seeds to expand a local farm
  • Hosting a workshop for kids about nutrition
Cuenca, Ecuador

Why Choose AMIGOS?

Learn Spanish

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!

Make an Impact

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, earning up to 270 service hours.

Gain a New (Host) Family

You’ll get to do way more than just travel — you’ll live with a host family, sharing in their day-to-day life. Become part of your host community, making friends with and working alongside community members. Share holidays, celebrations, and everyday life in a way you can only experience through authentic cultural immersion. AMIGOS volunteers and their host families build long-lasting relationships and often stay in touch after their project ends. All of our host families are vetted and trained before volunteers arrive.

Have an Adventure

Travel to 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!

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. AMIGOS also has an established network of vetted medical clinics and hospitals throughout the region.

Training for AMIGOS and Beyond

Prepare for AMIGOS through guided training in topics like: multicultural understanding, health and safety, community development; travel safety, Spanish, 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.

Want to volunteer abroad?

Start your application today!

APPLY NOW
Length Training
Dates
In-Country
Dates
Ages Application
Deadline
Price
Local Chapter 8 weeks

Find a chapter near you for a local training calendar!

June 16–August 11

17–22 December 9, 2019

$4,250 + group fundraising

National Chapter 8 weeks

Group pre-departure training: June 12–16

June 16–August 11

17–22 April 7, 2020

$5,750

  • Local Chapter
  • Length
    8 weeks
  • Training Dates

    Find a chapter near you for a local training calendar!

  • In-Country Dates

    June 16–August 11

  • Ages
    17–22
  • Application Deadline
    December 9, 2019
  • Price

    $4,250 + group fundraising

  • National Chapter
  • Length
    8 weeks
  • Training Dates

    Group pre-departure training: June 12–16

  • In-Country Dates

    June 16–August 11

  • Ages
    17–22
  • Application Deadline
    April 7, 2020
  • Price

    $5,750

Partner Agency

AMIGOS is such a unique and rewarding experience and a perfect way to look beyond yourself, humble yourself, and learn that the world is more than what we think it is.

—Melanie, AMIGOS 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 17–22 on the project start date
  • Have taken 2 years of Spanish or the equivalent
APPLY NOW

Read about the Cuenca Project

Michael’s Reflection on the Rural Homestay

Cuenca, Ecuador


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Starting Micro-Projects in Cuenca

Cuenca, Ecuador


Read More
Arrival in Rural Communities

Cuenca, Ecuador


Read More

Wish you were still in Latin America with AMIGOS? Now’s your chance to sign up for a second summer!

But don’t wait too long… Our projects are already filling up!
The priority deadline is November 4th so make sure you’ve saved your spot by applying today at apply.amigosinternational.org
Summer is waiting. We’ll see you there 😎
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Voluntario Michael trabajando con su comunidad en su microproyecto con el Museo de Chobshi - Volunteer Michael working with his community on their micro project with the Chobshi Museum ...

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