Learn and practice sustainable organic farming techniques at local farms and gaining 275 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.

About the Region


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.


Achachai = how cold!


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


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 expanding a local farm
  • Hosting a workshop on nutrition for kids

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, earning 275 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
    8 weeks
  • Training Dates
    Group Pre-departure Training:
    June 14–18
  • In-Country Dates
    [FULL] June 18–August 10
  • Ages
  • Price
    $6,350 (includes international airfare)
This project is full.

Get on the waitlist

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 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 18)
  • Have two years of Spanish study or the equivalent

CUENCA Project EXAMPLE Itinerary

*This is an example itinerary only. Activities and dates may be subject to change.

Day 1 – Arrive in Ecuador! Project staff meet you at the airport and the group travels together to get started with briefing.

Week 1 – Briefing. Project staff lead a country-specific orientation to AMIGOS and the Cuenca Project. Meet your host family. Start getting to know your neighborhood in Cuenca.

Week 2–4 – Take Spanish classes and volunteer as a group with organizations that focus on food security and sustainable agriculture.

Week 4/5 – Meet your host family in rural Ecuador. Explore the area and take in the differences between the city of Cuenca and the rural highlands.

Week 5–7 – Get first-hand experience with local food production while you get accustomed to daily life in rural Ecuador.

Week 8 – Debriefing: come back together with everyone on your project to reflect on the experience before you head home.

Last day – Fly home!



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