Amigos de las Americas - Nicaragua Gap Year
100% Rating
(4 Reviews)

Amigos de las Americas - Nicaragua Gap Year

The AMIGOS Gap Year or Semester provides high school graduates up to the age of 25 with community development internships in Nicaragua. The program provides an opportunity for participants to develop leadership and problem solving skills at a critical moment before starting the next phase of life.

What does the AMIGOS Gap program look like?

Cultural Immersion through living with host families: Living with a host family is one of the most powerful aspects of the AMIGOS Gap Year. You will experience the incredible feeling of being welcomed as part of a new family and a new community.

Individually tailored Internships: AMIGOS provides individually tailored internships with some of the most effective development agencies in Latin America such as Plan International.

Exciting Excursions! Additional opportunities to learn about Nicaraguan culture and relax with other Gap participants. Adventure through rainforests or climb the famous Mombacho Volcano!

Locations
North America » Nicaragua
Program Tags
Adventure Travel
Hands-On Learning
Volunteer Abroad
Length
3-6 Months
6-12 Months
Accommodation
Host Family
Primary Language
Spanish
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
$12, 950/semester, $24,900 /year. The fees cover all in country housing, food, transportation as well as International Airfare and supplemental health insurance. The fee also covers professional in country staff support and seed funding for community projects. Excursions are covered as well as a 24 hr health and safety system. Financial assistance is available.

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Housing
    95%
  • Support
    98%
  • Fun
    83%
  • Value
    93%
  • Safety
    100%

Program Reviews (4)

Rosalinda
Female
20 years old
Phoenix, Arizona
Arizona State University

Experencia Inolvidable

10/10

I recently came back from AMIGOS this August. I was completely impacted by this program, in a good way. I have never felt so safe and at peace then I was with this program. I had this most amazing experience and would do it a thousand times more if I had the chance to. It really does help you find yourself and really makes you value your life back home.

How can this program be improved?

I believe it could be improved by making it more affordable or including a lot more scholarships

Default avatar
Lauren
Female
19 years old
Modesto, California

A beautiful and challenging experience

10/10

There are a lot of gap year travel volunteer programs out there, and I remember what it was like sifting through all of them to find the right fit for me. Therefore, I hope this review will be helpful in giving you an honest picture of what it is like volunteering with Amigos!

There were several reasons why I decided to go with Amigos over other programs:

1. I was looking for something that would allow me to be as independent as possible, because originally I had wanted to go backpacking on my own. Well, it didn't really go over so well with the mom and the worried grandparents, so I sought out a program that would allow me time to explore and decide my own schedule (I did not want the type of program where you constantly travel around with a group) while reassuring my family that I was still alive and well.

Amigos fulfilled these two areas! You are left to your own devices most of the time and can decide to spend your free time the way you want to. There is a 20 hour/week minimum for your internship work (it can be a lot more than that, depending upon your agency, how much time your project needs/you are willing to dedicate, and the agreement you set with your supervisor/how well you communicate your schedule). For me, I worked from 8am-12pm, walked home for lunch (my work was a 10 minute walk from home, which was really nice), and went back to work from 2pm-5pm. This comes out to about 35 hours/week, not counting the hours I spent working on some weekends, especially when my project began to heat up with extra events and workshops. However, it varies depending on your internship agency, with some requiring much less time than others.

Even so, I had a lot of free time in the evenings, on weekends, and on holidays/days when work was cancelled. This gave me the opportunity to come across an art school in my neighborhood, where I ended up spending almost all of my free time volunteering at because I loved it so much. I would help with an English class, learn how to paint, accompanied the rock band on the keyboard, learned to play piccolo, and most of all, made some incredible friends with all the teachers.

In addition, we were able to travel on our own, so long as we let our Amigos supervisors know the details. Day trips to the beach were fun and easy. You also have the option of longer trips, but there's a form you have to fill out detailing where you'll stay, contact info, etc. for safety.

You get together with the other volunteers and the Amigos supervisors for workshops about once a month, your supervisor meets with you about every two weeks to see how you are doing (there is paperwork to be filled out for these meetings, but it's nothing complicated, just questions about your needs being met and how your project is doing), and the group goes on two excursions per semester, each one being about 3 days long. Therefore, most of your time is spent living in your community on your own, with your host family and any other friends you make on your own. I thought this was fantastic - it was a good balance, not too much of volunteer program-y things, but just enough so that you had support. The excursions are really fun too, and a great way to see other parts of the country with the comfort of not having to plan the itinerary (the schedule usually wasn't too rigid though - our supervisor changed things up as we went and always asked what we wanted to do.)

2. This program is really great for improving your Spanish. Since you are working at a local non-profit agency, you are forced to learn how to communicate effectively with your coworkers in another language. Also, staying with a host family and living in a community allows you to form deeper relationships with locals, which is invaluable when it comes to becoming fluent in another language - the desire to express yourself, to crack jokes, and to simply communicate with your friends and family serves as an incredible motivator.

3. I wanted to stay in one place and get to know that place really well, to form close friends and feel the rhythm of day to day life.... versus seeing glamorous snapshots of a million different cities on a whirlwind tour or doing very short term volunteer work that feels more like an attraction and less like a long term relationship with the community you are working with.

The Amigos program stresses cultural immersion from the standpoint of living and working with the community. Part of their philosophy is that the volunteer should act as a catalyst for community initiative, the end goal being that the community can sustain and grow the project even when the volunteer is gone.

Overall, I would say that my experience living and volunteering in Nicaragua with Amigos was one of the best things I've ever done, and I can tell you with utmost honestly, those three months presented some of the most beautiful, challenging, and spontaneous moments in my life. I really had no idea what I was in for back when I first applied for this program and packed my bags to go to another country for three months, because the interesting thing about traveling is that you think you are preparing for the changes in environment, like new foods, strange sounds, different culture...when really, what changes is something you cannot prepare for - yourself. You learn things about yourself that you were never aware of before, usually through the difficulties you face, things such as how you react to stress, the ways in which you choose to spend your time, your self-awareness of your own cultural background, your tolerance for ambiguity, your adaptability, to name a few. And to me, this heightened sense of self-awareness, and the knowledge you gain about yourself, are some of the most valuable outcomes of an experience like this.

I think these are things you can gain from any kind of experience living abroad, whether it is with a volunteer program or not. However, what is different about doing this with Amigos is that you are given the the tools and the framework for integrating into the community, and unlike traveling on your own or with a group-tour type program, by being a part of this program, you already have a relationship with the community. The supervisors for Nicaragua, Mateo and Vanessa, both live in the communities they work in and know people that can help you with your project or local youth that you can hang out with. The family you are placed with has a relationship with Amigos, so there is an element of trust and understanding that is established from day one.

So if you're thinking about doing it....

DO IT!

It will be one of the biggest adventures of your life, and it will very likely be the catalyst that sparks something inside of you that you didn't know existed before....

I kept a detailed blog during my experience, so please check it out if you would like to see photos and read stories about our Amigos excursions, my experience living with my host family, my CBI (community based initiative) project focused upon fighting street harassment and promoting respect for women, and a surprising incident with an iguana.

thestinkygirltravels.blogspot.com

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Madison
Female
24 years old
Portland, OR

An Incredible Program with Amazing Leadership Opportunities

10/10

I am writing right now from Nicaragua and I can tell you these last few months have been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I am a AMIGOS Gap Year participate and live here with a host family and work during week days at my host agency. AMIGOS staff lives nearby and checks in weekly about how our work is going, how comfortable we are at in our homes, and our progress with our goals and projects. Through AMIGOS we receive funding and are encouraged to work along side community members to develop and plan sustainable projects that utilize resources and talent already in the communities. This program has helped me rise and meet challenges I never thought I could over come. I am continuously surprised by my own capabilities and how fast my spanish skills are improving. It has been amazing meeting new people and actually create a life here for myself. AMIGOS is more than a program of tourist activities and volunteering on a surface level, from this program and directly living and working with a host family and agency I have learned more spanish and more about the culture than I think I ever could have from a vacation or simply traveling through Nicaragua.

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Sam
Male
19 years old
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Highly recommend

10/10

I am currently in the AMIGOS Gap Year program and I would highly recommend the program. AMIGOS pairs you with a host agency in-country, where you have the opportunity to help with that agencies existing initiatives and receive funding for your own project from AMIGOS. Working with the host agency is challenging, but its also a great way to improve your project management skills as well as your Spanish. I live in Leon, Nicaragua, which is a beautiful city with tons of stuff going on all the time. The food takes some getting used to -- I was sick a lot in the first few weeks -- but once I became accustomed to having rice and beans all the time I started to enjoy eating Nica food. I've had no troubles with my host family, and they've been very friendly and helpful, especially during my illness. Overall, I would recommend the program to anyone who is looking for a challenging project in their gap year and wants to improve their Spanish.

About The Provider

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Established in 1965, AMIGOS is an industry leader providing international leadership experiences for youth. We provide high school and college-age volunteers with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the language and daily lives of a host community, bringing that community together to to determine, plan,

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