Explore the highlands around Cuenca, Ecuador, and dive deep into food security and justice in rural indigenous farming communities. Discover how Ecuadorian agriculture is based on ancestral cultures, specifically regarding the importance of superfoods and indigenous medicine. Meet local leaders, food producers, and youth making an impact on food systems in the region.

Length Training
Dates
In-Country
Dates
Ages Application
Deadline
Price
Gap Semester: Ecuador 8 weeks

Training in Cuenca upon arrival

Spring: February 15–April 12, 2022

17–22 December 15, 2021

Program fee TBD

Need-based financial assistance is available! Apply by November 15, 2021.

  • Gap Semester: Ecuador
  • Length
    8 weeks
  • Training Dates

    Training in Cuenca upon arrival

  • In-Country Dates

    Spring: February 15–April 12, 2022

  • Ages
    17–22
  • Application Deadline
    December 15, 2021
  • Price

    Program fee TBD

    Need-based financial assistance is available! Apply by November 15, 2021.

What to Expect

THE BASICS

  • Pod of 20 students, two spots reserved for students from Ecuador
  • 8-week session
  • Communal living in Cuenca, Ecuador
  • Robust health and safety protocols

 

What You’ll GET

  • Volunteer with small organic farms in the Cañar and Azuay provinces near Cuenca
  • Network with local officials and community organizations who promote sustainable agriculture, environmental protection, youth leadership, and indigenous rights
  • Excursions to national parks, Incan cultural sites, and Andean communities
  • Mentorship through coaching, supervision, and support
  • Spanish classes tailored to your level
  • Earn 120 service hours
  • College credit is available through the Gap Year Association and Portland State University for a fee of $1,700. Email Admissions at [email protected] for more information.

 

What You’ll Need

  • Age: 17–22 (high school graduate)
  • Interest in food security, indigenous rights, or community service
Start an Application

Apply Now

About the Program

8 WEEKS

Session Dates

February 15–April 12, 2022

 

How to Apply

Start your application here!

The deadline to apply is December 15, 2021.

 

Fees and Financial Assistance

Program fee TBD
Need-based financial assistance is available! Apply by November 15, 2021.

 

What’s Included

All expenses in Ecuador are covered, including:

-Accommodation, including excursions
-Three meals per day
-Private group transportation throughout the entire program
-Medical supplies like hand sanitizer, masks, and cleaning products
-Entrance fees at sites we visit
-24/7 On-Call Safety System

Questions?

Join an online info session!

RSVP Here

Cosmovisión in the Andean Highlands

Cosmovisión is the way in which the indigenous culture understands the world. The way agriculture and food production have developed in Ecuador are rooted in ancestral cultural systems and practices, which has important implications on food security today. In this program, we’ll meet food producers, local organizers, and young people making an impact on food justice and indigenous rights in their communities.

 

 

Ready to Apply?

Click here!

FAQ

What does it mean to live with a pod?

On this program, you’ll be living with a group of fellow gap volunteers from the U.S. and Ecuador. You’ll share responsibilities like cooking, cleaning, and planning activities. The pod will travel together on excursions and day trips. Certain health and safety precautions will be required when interacting with anyone outside the pod. This is for their health and safety as well as your own.

 

How is the program staffed and what is the ratio of staff to students?

The program will be led by a Project Director assisted by Project Coordinators and a Health & Wellness Coordinator. The number of students in the pod is 20 maximum, so the ratio will be close to 1 to 5.

 

What are some of the activities I might take part in?

Visit an organic farm drawing from ancestral Andean knowledge of agroecology, gastronomy, and traditional medicine
Hike to high peaks overlooking pristine lakes in Cajas National Park
Stroll through Cuenca’s historic center
Learn how to prepare land for planting on a local family farm
Take part in a traditional celebratory pampa mesa style meal
Explore Ingapirca, the largest-known Inca ruins in Ecuador
Ride horses in the Yunguilla Valley

 

Do I have to be enrolled in college to participate?

No, you do not need to be enrolled in college or planning on enrolling in college to join. This program is open to all students ages 17–22 who have graduated high school, regardless of college plans. You should have an interest in Spanish, food security, indigenous rights, or Latin American culture and a commitment to your community.

Explore All Programs

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“The things you will learn and experience and the relationships you will build will remain with you through the rest of your life.”

—Emma, AMIGOS Gap Volunteer

Program Requirements
  • Age: 17–22 and high school graduate
  • Interest in food security, indigenous rights, sustainable agriculture, or community service
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¡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."
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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:

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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!
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