Get 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.

Fall Semester

First week in country

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

September

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

October

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.

November

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

December

Excursion to the Amazon region. Fall semester students return home.

Spring Semester

January

Arrive in Ecuador and begin briefing and training to prepare you for your semester abroad. Meet the gap volunteers who are enrolled in the full year program. Get to know your host family and your new neighborhood.

February

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

March

Begin working at your internship placement. Holiday for Carnaval. Group excursion to the Ecuadorian coast. Group workshop.

April

Continue internship. Group excursion to Andean highlands.

May

Final workshop. Wrap up internship. Final excursion in and around Quito and debriefing. Then, return home!

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.

Slang

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

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
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.

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.

Spend a semester abroad!

Start your application now

APPLY
Length Training
Dates
In-Country
Dates
Ages Application
Deadline
Price
Fall Semester 2019 4 months

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

August 25–December 19, 2019

17–22 March 5 (early bird - $500 discount) July 1 (final)

$13,950 (all-inclusive). College credit is available through the Gap Year Association for an additional $1,700 per semester.

Spring Semester 2020 4 months

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

January–May, 2020

17–22 November 4, 2019

$13,950 (all-inclusive). College credit is available through the Gap Year Association for an additional $1,700 per semester.

  • Fall Semester 2019
  • Length
    4 months
  • Training Dates

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

  • In-Country Dates

    August 25–December 19, 2019

  • Ages
    17–22
  • Application Deadline
    March 5 (early bird - $500 discount) July 1 (final)
  • Price

    $13,950 (all-inclusive). College credit is available through the Gap Year Association for an additional $1,700 per semester.

  • Spring Semester 2020
  • Length
    4 months
  • Training Dates

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

  • In-Country Dates

    January–May, 2020

  • Ages
    17–22
  • Application Deadline
    November 4, 2019
  • Price

    $13,950 (all-inclusive). College credit is available through the Gap Year Association for an additional $1,700 per semester.

Partner Agencies

AMIGOS has opened up my mind to a whole new world of ideas and possibilities that I never would have had access to had I not participated with the program.

—Mateo, AMIGOS 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
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