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!

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.

Ecuador

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.

Climate

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
Slang

achachai = how cold!

chuta = an interjection similar to “darn!”

no más = go ahead

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. You will then receive a minimum of one hour of private tutoring for the rest of the semester (October-December).

Why Choose AMIGOS?

Each day brings new and unique opportunities! Find the best local spot in your new city, learn traditional dances, make new friends with people in your community, practice your Spanish, hike in national parks, and more!
Intern with a local partner agency to gain real work experience and help you hone the skills necessary for the real world. AMIGOS matches you with an internship based on your interests and goals, ensuring you get the most out of your experience.
From art and organic farming to business management and global development, you’ll have the freedom to explore topics that interest you. You’ll also learn about contemporary Latin America at monthly workshops. Get a glimpse into what life would be like working at the U.S. Embassy or as a Peace Corps Volunteer!
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 an AMIGOS Gap Program! Get a head start on your future by building these dynamic skills valued by modern employers.
Live with a local host family for your entire stay and become a part of the community. Your host family will be an invaluable guide as you get to know your new home. Take full advantage of your time together, learning local recipes and hearing their perspectives.
The best way to grow as a person is to journey beyond your comfort zone and experience new things. AMIGOS Gap alumni say they are more confident, better prepared for college, more focused, and more resilient.
Connect with people around the world who you would otherwise never have met! Bond with your host family over meals, make friends at your internship, and spend time with your fellow gap volunteers throughout your time abroad.
Do more than travel — live abroad! You’ll become part of a local community, making your time infinitely more rewarding. Immerse yourself in an authentic, one-of-a-kind experience far beyond anything else out there.
  • Academic Year
    2019 - 2020
  • Length
    9 months
  • Training Dates
    Train in Houston with your fellow volunteers just before you leave for Ecuador!
  • In-Country Dates
    Aug 26, 2019–May 2020
  • Ages
    17–22
  • Price
    $26,900 (all-inclusive). College credit is available through the Gap Year Association for an additional $1,700 per semester.
Ready to start your application?

You'll embark on the adventure of a lifetime!

APPLY NOW
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
  • Graduated from high school (age 17–22)

Example Itinerary: 2019–20 ACADEMIC YEAR

*Dates subject to change.

August 26–31 – Pre-departure training in Houston and in-country briefing in Ecuador.

September – Daily: morning Spanish classes, afternoon Spanish activities. First group workshop takes place.

October – Internship begins. Second group workshop takes place. First excursion with your group. Begin planning your community service project.

November – Internship daily. Third group workshop takes place. Continue working on community service project. Thanksgiving dinner with your group.

December – Internship daily. Second group excursion.

December 21 – Gap semester participants depart. Gap Year students start winter vacation.

January 20 – 25 – Assist with training spring semester gap volunteers. Workshop with full year gap volunteers.

February – Continue internship. Workshop with all gap volunteers. Group excursion.

March – Group workshop. Group excursion. Continue internship.

April – Internship daily. Another group workshop takes place. Continue working on community service project. Semana Santa – spring break.

May – Internship daily. Group excursion. Despedidas and debriefing.

End of May – Fly home!