How does the popularity of superfoods impact resources, water, and food sovereignty in Andean communities? Travel to the highlands of Ecuador to explore food security and justice in rural indigenous farming communities. Meet local leaders, food producers, and youth making an impact on food systems in the region.

This project is full. See open programs!

Length Training
Dates
In-Country
Dates
Ages Application
Deadline
Price
Session A [FULL] 3 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 15–July 5

15–22 This project is full. See open programs!

$5,675

If you deferred your participation from a 2020 program, your fee may be lower. Please contact Krista Boscoe at [email protected] for pricing and application details.

Session B [Full] 3 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 13–Aug 2 [Full]

15–22 This session is full. See open programs!

$5,675

If you deferred your participation from a 2020 program, your fee may be lower. Please contact Krista Boscoe at [email protected] for pricing and application details.

  • Session A [FULL]
  • Length
    3 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 15–July 5

  • Ages
    15–22
  • Application Deadline
    This project is full. See open programs!
  • Price

    $5,675

    If you deferred your participation from a 2020 program, your fee may be lower. Please contact Krista Boscoe at [email protected] for pricing and application details.

  • Session B [Full]
  • Length
    3 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 13–Aug 2 [Full]

  • Ages
    15–22
  • Application Deadline
    This session is full. See open programs!
  • Price

    $5,675

    If you deferred your participation from a 2020 program, your fee may be lower. Please contact Krista Boscoe at [email protected] for pricing and application details.

About the Project

Climate

Cool and dry. The terrain is mountainous. You’ll definitely need a jacket at night!

Slang

achachai = how cold!

Food

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

Terrain

High altitude in the Andes mountains

Crops

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

Citizens

Ecuatorianos

Cosmovisión

Learn about the way indigenous Andean cultures understand the world.

Cajas National Park, Azuay, Ecuador

Andean Culture

Cañar and Azuay Provinces

Through visits to farms, communities, and national parks, experience Ecuadorian agricultural practices and the connection between rural and urban areas via food production. Understand the impact of agriculture on indigenous communities, ancestral cultures, and traditional medicine. Hear from community members and learn about cosmovisión, the way in which the indigenous culture understands the world.

 

Partner Agencies

Support local organizations that work with youth and the environment. Earn 40 service hours while volunteering.

 

Example Activities

  • Volunteer with a group of organic family farms
  • Hike to sacred indigenous sites and learn about Andean agroecology, food, medicine, and spirituality
  • Meet llamas at Cajas National Park
  • Explore the historic center of Cuenca
  • Take part in a pampa mesa, or communal meal

A Day in the Life

Days 1–6 (Quarantine Period)

  • Wake up and have breakfast in small groups
  • Morning: Rotating schedule of activities, including Spanish classes, orientation, explore topics like indigenous history and Andean culture
  • Lunch outside
  • Afternoon: Rotating schedule of activities—Spanish classes, briefing, etc. in small groups
  • Free time to explore the grounds
  • Dinner in small groups
  • After Dinner: free time, fun group activities

 

Day 7–End of Project

  • Wake up and eat breakfast as a group
  • Morning: volunteer on a community service project, take part in fun intercultural and leadership activities
  • Lunch outside
  • Afternoon: travel to Incan ruins, attend a cooking class, and volunteer on an organic farm. Meet local community members and take part in fun activities led by the group!
  • Dinner
  • After Dinner: fun group bonding, free time to relax

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.

This project is full.

See open projects

Click Here

Why Choose AMIGOS?

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!

Have an Adventure

Travel to must-see spots in your host country! You’ll travel as a group to experience unique destinations like volcanoes, ancient ruins, national parks, and historical sites. 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 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. 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.

Find out more about AMIGOS programs

Join an online info session!

RSVP HERE

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
  • 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
  • Have taken 2 years of Spanish or the equivalent
Apply Now

Field Notes

Preparing For Volunteer Arrival In La Sierra

La Sierra, Ecuador


Read More
La Sierra: Meet Your Project Staff

La Sierra, Ecuador


Read More

Meet Lauren, the Project Director on the Nueva Segovia y Leon, Nicaragua project this summer!

"My name is Lauren and I am the Project Director for the summer 2021 program in Nicaragua. I am originally from Boston, but I earned my B.A. in Spanish at the College of Charleston in South Carolina. I really enjoy working with young adults, as well as exposing myself to new cultures. As such, I am looking forward to a meaningful and exciting summer in Nicaragua with all of our volunteers.

¡Hola! Me llamo Lauren, y soy la Directora del Proyecto en Nicaragua este verano. Soy de Boston, y hice mi bachillerato en Español en el College of Charleston. Además de viajar, me gusta mucho apoyar a adultos jóvenes a desarrollar sus capacidades y compartir mi pasión por viajar. Espero poder pasar un verano significativo con todos los voluntarios."
...

Today, our staff are observing Juneteenth as a paid holiday. Juneteenth commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States and was long overdue for federal recognition as a national holiday. AMIGOS believes honoring this holiday is one small step towards creating a more just and equitable society for everyone. We encourage everyone to spend this time in reflection, education, and action in service of racial justice. Below, we have included a link to resources to celebrate, understand the history, and recognize the importance of commemorating this holiday.

Sam Collins, co-chair of the Juneteenth Legacy Project says: "Juneteenth celebrates the evolution of our country to a more perfect union. We were not perfect in 1528, 1619, 1776, 1865 — or even today in 2021. But hopefully by studying this history and expanding the narrative to tell a more complete story of what happened, we will get a truer sense of our American history."

Additional resources are outlined at the link in our bio.

Image: Juneteenth Flag designed by activist Ben Haith in 1997
...

Looking for a gap program? Applications are open for our Gap Program in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Colorado!

Emma, an AMIGOS Gap Program volunteer, says, "The things you will learn and experience, the relationships you will build, and the joy and love you will feel are irreplaceable and will remain with you through the rest of your life."

Explore our programs at the link in our bio!
...

Updates from the field! Volunteers arrived in Nicaragua and Costa Rica last week, on the @amigosnuevasegovia and @amigoslossantos_cr projects.

In Los Santos, volunteers have enjoyed morning hikes and card games during the day.

Stay tuned for more updates!
...

Saludos desde Costa Rica!

Our staff teams on our Montanas y Mar and Costa Atlantica projects are so excited to greet volunteers, who will arrive tomorrow for @amigosmontanasymar and June 29 for @amigosmonteverde!

Check out this short video introduction to the projects — can you guess the animal that our volunteers will support wildlife protection efforts for? (Hint: they nest on the beaches!)
...

Curious about how to find the right gap program for you?

First, make sure the programs you're researching are accredited by the Gap Year Association (ours are accredited too!) After that, consider these five factors when choosing a gap program:

1. Consider the Program Outcomes
2. Consider Your Interests
3. Consider the Time Frame
4. Consider the Destination
5. Consider the Program Theme

Read more about each of these reasons, and explore AMIGOS Gap Programs, at the link in our bio!
...

Today is your LAST chance to complete our alumni engagement survey!

Every day, our alumni fulfill our vision of a world where all people are lifelong leaders sharing responsibility for our global community. Your feedback will help us develop an alumni engagement program that complements our work and brings alumni like you together in the ways that you desire.

Link in bio!

¡Hoy es su última oportunidad de completar nuestra encuesta de participación de ex alumnos!
Cada día, nuestros alumnos cumplen nuestra visión de un mundo en el que todas las personas sean líderes de por vida que comparten la responsabilidad de nuestra comunidad global. Sus respuestas nos ayudarán a desarrollar un programa de participación de ex alumnos, que complementa nuestro trabajo y reúne a ex alumnos como usted de la manera que desee.

¡El enlace a la encuesta está en nuestra bio!
...

In June, we recognize the origins and history of Pride Month. AMIGOS believes in the power and wisdom of queer voices, and we invite you to follow @them, @pride, @mpjinstitute, @glaad, and @queerty and check out the articles in our bio to learn more. ...

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