Ready for the adventure of a lifetime? Live with a host family, become part of a new community, intern with a local organization, and become a cuencano!

Example Itinerary

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

End of August

Gap students arrive in Ecuador. AMIGOS staff meet them at the airport and the group travels together to begin briefing.

First week in country

Briefing. Staff lead all gap volunteers in a country-specific orientation to AMIGOS, Cuenca, and Ecuador. After briefing, gap volunteers meet their host families and get oriented in their new home and city.


Spanish classes in the morning and Spanish activities in the afternoon. The first workshop takes place around the middle of the month.


Begin internship. Attend Spanish classes for half a day and intern the rest of the day. First group excursion to Cajas National Park and another group workshop.


Internship and Spanish classes. Third workshop takes place this month. Shared group Thanksgiving dinner.


Excursion to the Amazon region. Winter break begins.


Welcome Spring Semester students. Workshop 4 takes place. Resume your internship.


Continue internship. Workshop #5.


Continue work at internship. Holiday for Carnaval. Group excursion to the Ecuadorian coast. Workshop #6.


Continue internship. Group excursion to Andean highlands.


Final workshop. Wrap up internship. Final excursion in and around Quito and debriefing.

About the Region

City of Cuenca

Cuenca is the capital city of the Azuay Province and is the 3rd largest city in Ecuador. This amazing southern Andean city is steeped in rich history and architecture. The Cuenca historic city center is even listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site! Over 700,000 people call Cuenca home. It has a lively culture – a thriving arts scene, plenty of restaurants, live music and dance, and a beautiful countryside to explore.


achachai = how cold!
chuta = an interjection similar to “darn!”
no más = go ahead


Ecuador is one of the most geographically and culturally diverse countries in the world. The country is divided into four distinct regions (Amazon jungle, coast, Andes Mountains, Galapagos Islands), each with a unique climate, history, culture, and environment. Ecuador recognizes 13 different languages, though the most wide-spoken languages are Spanish, Kichwa, and Shuar.


Mild and warm during the day and cool at night. Cuenca is one of the “cities of eternal spring.”

Example Service Projects
  • Develop a women’s empowerment workshop
  • Support a summer camp for kids with diabetes
  • Lead a reforestation initiative in a national park
Example Workshop Themes
  • International Development
  • Budgeting and project management
  • Community development
  • Working in a cross-cultural context
Example Day

Your day might look like this: coffee and breakfast with your host family before heading to your internship, sharing a typical lunch at home with host family, helping with English class in the afternoon, going to salsa or a local yoga studio in the evening.

Spanish School

You’ll attend classes tailored to your Spanish level at Amauta Spanish School. For the entire month of September, you’ll take intensive classes: 3 hours of language instruction in the mornings and dynamic activities such as cooking, salsa lessons, scavenger hunts, etc. in Spanish in the afternoons.

Cuenca, Ecuador

Why Choose AMIGOS?

Have an Adventure

Each day brings new and unique opportunities! Find the best local spot in your Cuenca neighborhood, learn traditional dances, make new friends with people in your community, practice your Spanish, hike in national parks, and more!

Learn About Yourself & Discover Your Interests

The best way to grow as a person is to journey beyond your comfort zone and experience new things. AMIGOS Gap Program alumni say they are more confident, better prepared for college, more focused, and more resilient.
From art and organic farming to business and global development, you’ll have the freedom to explore topics that interest you. You’ll also learn about Ecuadorian culture and history at monthly workshops. Get a glimpse into what it’s like working at the U.S. Embassy or as a Peace Corps Volunteer!

Gain Real-World Experience

Intern with a local partner agency to gain work experience and hone the skills necessary for the real world. AMIGOS matches you with an internship based on your interests and our partner agency needs, ensuring you get the most out of your experience.

Develop Useful Skills

Community organizing, speaking Spanish, managing projects, accounting and budgeting, public speaking…These are just a handful of the practical, resume-ready skills you’ll cultivate on a Gap Program with AMIGOS! Get a head start on your future by building these dynamic skills valued by modern employers.

Build Friendships Across Cultures

Connect with people around the world who you otherwise would never have met! Bond with your host family over meals, make friends at your internship, and spend time with your fellow Gap Program volunteers throughout your time abroad.

Go Beyond Travel

Do more than travel–live abroad! You’ll become part of a local community, making your time in Cuenca infinitely more rewarding. Immerse yourself in an authentic, one-of-a-kind experience far beyond anything else out there.

Ready for a gap year?

Start your application now!

Length Training
Ages Application
Academic Year 2020–2021 9 months

Train as a group with fellow volunteers upon arrival in Ecuador!

August 25, 2020–May 15, 2021

17–22 Early bird: March 12, 2020 ($500 discount) / Final deadline: July 1, 2020


College credit is available through the Gap Year Association for an additional $1,700 per semester.

Click here to learn more about funding and financial assistance.

  • Academic Year 2020–2021
  • Length
    9 months
  • Training Dates

    Train as a group with fellow volunteers upon arrival in Ecuador!

  • In-Country Dates

    August 25, 2020–May 15, 2021

  • Ages
  • Application Deadline
    Early bird: March 12, 2020 ($500 discount) / Final deadline: July 1, 2020
  • Price


    College credit is available through the Gap Year Association for an additional $1,700 per semester.

    Click here to learn more about funding and financial assistance.

Partner Agencies

Taking a gap year has been the most important and valuable decision I’ve ever made, and I wouldn’t change anything about it. This is an opportunity like no other.

—Emma, Gap 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 at the start of the project, and a high school graduate

Learn More about the Gap Program

Read blogs from amigos gap students here.


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