• Paraguay
    • Asunción
26 - 52 weeks
Program Tags
College Credit Conservation Cultural Immersion Hands-On Learning Internships Language Immersion Post-High School Social Justice Volunteer Abroad
Need-based funding, 529 Plan eligibility
Health & Safety

Program Details

Academic Year Fall Spring
Host Family
Primary Language
Age Min.


Starting Price
May 02, 2024
Jun 28, 2021
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About Program

The AMIGOS Gap Program in Paraguay focuses on three key components: Spanish language acquisition, authentic cultural immersion, and real-world skill building.

● We believe in providing young people a Gap experience the offers independence, immersion in the local community, and the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution with our partner organizations.
● Our program starts with a 2-week intensive Spanish language course to get you ready to live you life in Asuncion.
● You will move in with your host family after the first week and will stay with them for 13 weeks.
● AMIGOS will place you in a 12-week long internship at a local non-profit or school where you’ll be able to build real-world skills while making a positive impact.
● Enjoy group excursions to national parks, including a visit to Iguazú Falls, one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, and vist Itaipu Dam which is one of the 7 modern wonders of the world!

Video and Photos

Program Dates

Application Deadline
Program Dates

Program Reviews

4.75 Rating
based on 8 reviews
  • 5 rating 75%
  • 4 rating 25%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Housing 5
  • Support 4.65
  • Fun 4.65
  • Value 4.75
  • Safety 4.9
Showing 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amigos Gap 2021 covid edition!

I really love Amigos de las Americas… I was on the trial Gap semester trip and we experienced some kinks but I’m sure that the program will be improved! The people are wonderful and I went to Costa Rica, which is a beautiful place to forget about life in the States for a little bit. I learned a lot about the CR government and quality of life, and I made memories that I will never forget! The pod (covid safe - VERY safe!) system is hard at first but it’s easy to get used to :) I highly recommend!

What was your funniest moment?
This kid Jimmy fell on his face in the grass playing Mejenga (Costa Rican slang for pick-up soccer game)
50 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Greatt Gap Program

I participated in the Cuenca Gap semester from January-June 2019, and it was truly an amazing and transformative experience. I think the Amigos program did a great job of helping participants settle into their lives in Cuenca, by spending the first week in a hostel with fellow participants while getting used to the city, and then by spending the first month in intensive Spanish classes to prepare participants for their placements. My host family was incredibly loving and supportive, and I really felt like I became a part of their family and vice versa. I felt supported by Amigos staff in Cuenca, but not in an overly-stifling way. Every 2 weeks, we had check-ins with supervisors, just to make sure everything was going well, but they were always available if we needed them for anything. We also went on trips to different parts of Ecuador every month, including to the beach and to other cities, which was really amazing as well. All in all, I loved my time with Amigos and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a gap program that provides structure but is not overbearing. I think my favorite part was that supervisors really treated us like adults, and we were pretty much living independent lives in Cuenca while knowing that there was support available if we needed it.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
The one part of the Amigos program that I wasn't overly crazy about was coming in in the spring semester. I loved that there was the option to only go for a semester, but at the same time, it was weird coming in halfway through other people's program, when they had already formed bonds and were well-established in the city. I don't know that the year-long program would have been right for me, but I think knowing what I know now, I would switch my semesters and participate in the fall instead of the spring.
111 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Spring Gap Experience

My gap semester with Amigos was an incredible and formative experience. I think about Cuenca, my dear host family, and the lessons I learned there almost daily. Amigos did an excellent job finding a loving host family for me—they were wonderful and I hope to visit them someday. Although I did not imagine myself with the internship I had (I volunteered at a preschool in the city center), I now realize it taught powerful lessons in patience and self-advocacy. I also came to understand the great privilege it was to have any sort of job in a Latin American city. Most of my coworkers had been through extensive schooling and were in charge of these giant groups of kids day after day for years. I could get up and leave whenever I wanted!

The language classes were very thorough and streamlined (they don’t waste time teaching vocabulary or grammar tenses you will never need to know). The highly structured format of the language school field trips and monthly Amigos excursions are perfect for someone who has never traveled solo in a different language before. As someone who had previously done this, there were times when I felt we were being babysat. However, I came to appreciate the safety, included transportation, and insider access we had as a group.

I took advantage of the independent travel opportunities we had during the semester—and these trips were some of the highlights of my time in the country. It was during these smaller group trips that I really learned about myself and how I function in groups. All the while, we had the insured support of our supervisors who were just a few hours away (another thing I took for granted but now appreciate, looking back on all of the things that could have gone wrong).

The supervisors I had were great people with a plethora of knowledge and well-seasoned opinions of Cuenca. Though I did not require as much support as some of the other participants, I am again glad they had my back just in case.

Overall I recommend this program to open-minded, inexperienced travelers. While young adults from all walks of life can benefit from some way in this program, the open-minded, inexperienced travelers in my cohort enjoyed the program the most.

You’ll gain language skills, intercultural competency, and friends from all over the world (Ecuador, the US, and Europe!) Best of luck!

What was your funniest moment?
I lived with a family of five: two parents, three kids. The youngest of the kids (five years old) was the goofiest and chubbiest boy I have ever met. There were too many funny “Gabo moments” to just pick one. Some of my favorite include him barging into my room to read me stories early in the morning and watching action movies like Jurassic Park together.
108 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Challenging, but worth it!

My time in Cuenca was extremely difficult especially the first two months but it challenged me to grow in every aspect of my life! It gave me professional work experience, improved my Spanish, and allowed me to create friendships with Ecuadorians and participants. I appreciated that every participant got their own room in the host family home. It was a great mix of integration with a host family while respecting that participants need space. We were able to go on excursions to the Amazon, too! It was hard to get used to a new environment and family, but with time you really get to know everyone.

What would you improve about this program?
They have a 4 month and 8 month option. I did the 4 month option, but I felt like the first 4 months were still me getting adjusted to living in a new country. Those that stayed for longer definitely got more out of it since they were able to enjoy the second half with more of a sense of what was going on.
113 people found this review helpful.
Read my full story
Yes, I recommend this program

Experencia Inolvidable

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I believe it could be improved by making it more affordable or including a lot more scholarships
76 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A beautiful and challenging experience

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....


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.


79 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

An Incredible Program with Amazing Leadership Opportunities

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.

71 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Highly recommend

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.

60 people found this review helpful.

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