Amigos de las Americas
94% Rating
(105 Reviews)

Amigos de las Americas

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, and carry out a community-specific service project. AMIGOS offers summer programs for high school and college students as well as Gap programs for high school graduates.

Most Recent Program Reviews

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Rebekah
Female
17 years old
United States
Western Washington University

Amazing, Impactful Program

10/10

I was a volunteer on the 2016 Chimborazo, Ecuador project. It was the first year that AMIGOS had operated in Chimborazo, and regardless, I had an amazing experience.
Throughout the entire summer, I felt safe and supported by my project staff, who worked hard to ensure that us participants had positive experiences. Not only did I have a supportive team of project staff, but I also had an incredible host family who was willing to help me through any issues that may arise. I lived with them in a small community at about 12,500 feet, where a typical day consisted of working with my host family in the garden, playing games with local children and youth, walking to the local store or $0.10 ice cream, and working to plan a new community store.
Since my participation, I have become active with AMIGOS as a trainer because my experience was that impactful. I developed leadership skills, gained independence, improved my Spanish, and learned about myself. I would highly recommend an AMIGOS program to any high school or college student eager to learn more about a new culture and get out of their comfort zones. It is important to note, however, that AMIGOS is probably not a good match for young people looking for a touristy trip, as AMIGOS focuses much more on cultural immersion than anything else.

How can this program be improved?

Though I understand that a program like this costs a lot to run, I feel it would be beneficial for more scholarships to be offered. Currently, volunteers only represent a small portion of the diversity in the United States because the program is inaccessible to lower-income youth.

Jessica
Female

Impactful summers, leadership ladder

10/10

I was a participant in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2014. I knew very little Spanish when I arrived. Despite my language shortcomings, my host family remained patient with me. We learned to communicate through playing cards, doing magic tricks, and other fun bonding experiences. My Spanish improved over time and by the end of the summer I could even make jokes in Spanish!
I have worked with several volunteer abroad organizations, and Amigos by far has the best safety element. There is an on-call emergency response team available 24/7 a supervisor that spends 24 hours in your community every week and escorts you to the clinic when you're sick, a list of behavioral standards to abide by with your safety in mind (no riding motorcycles, or other dangerous behavior).
One thing that really makes Amigos stand out compared to other volunteer organizations, is the rigorous training that participants go through before departing for their summer. You build skills such as how to facilitate activities and how to hold community meetings, so that you can be useful in supporting the community once you arrive.
Amigos was my first time using my Spanish and my first time out of the U.S. Needless to say, I was scared. However, by being bold and getting out of my comfort zone, I realized that I am capable of doing anything. By intentionally pushing my personal boundaries to pursue relationships with people, I realized that they are neither as scary nor judgmental as I had worried. While they did chuckle at my alien accent, I learned to accept their reactions as opportunities to laugh at myself and as indicators for where I can work on self-improvement. In addition, I became more welcoming of others who differ from me. After being trusted to lead a development project in a foreign country in a foreign tongue, I really do feel like I can do anything.
In addition, the leadership ladder at Amigos is amazing. In 3 years, I have climbed the leadership ladder from participant, to volunteer trainer, to full-time trainer, and now this summer I will be a project supervisor. I look forward to continuing to climb this ladder, whether that be in the form of project director, on-call staff, or any of the other numerous opportunities Amigos provides for young people.

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Rachel Massey
Female
21 years old
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Bryn Mawr College

My First Experience Abroad

10/10

As a participant with Amigos, I spent two months in Paraguari, Paraguay. I a rural community of a little over 1,000 people, I learned about myself and the world outside of my normal. Along with a partner, I supported the community in constructing sixteen latrines and hosted camps about hygiene and environmental health with the school children. I lived with a family that taught me the true meaning of hospitality and grew in my ability to lean in to the moments of discomfort that come with learning a new culture. I gained confidence in my Spanish that has overflowed into my ability to grasp other languages as well. The immense stress on sustainability and community oriented growth has stuck with me to this day. In all honesty, I believe it has played a major role in my collegiate career and life goals. In a globalizing world, I cannot imagine a greater skill than cultural competence. And that is only one of which you will grow in doing this program!

How can this program be improved?

If anything, I would suggest preventative emotional awareness workshops. Not everyone goes through homesickness the same way and I know that I did not know how to process my irritability at the time. I was only sixteen and it was my first time abroad for so long. Luckily, I had a partner that was older and able to help me through it!

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Adriana
Female
20 years old
Washington, D.C.
Florida State University

My Summer in the Dominican Republic

10/10

My summer in the Dominican Republic was one of the most fruitful, inspiring, and rewarding experiences I have had in my life thus far. Amigos de las Americas is an incredible program that allows teenagers to have foreign experiences in the most important years of their life. This program was so crucial and important to my growth as a teenager into adulthood. I was able to learn about another culture by fully immersing myself in my community through food, customs, music, and sports. I made some of my best friends on this program, in both the Dominican Republic and spread out across the U.S. I will never forget the day my partner and I decided to hold a meeting during midday, right around the time it started to rain, and quickly learned that none of the community members would show up with the rain still pouring. I ate so much delicious food, learned how to dance bachata and merengue, and got my fair share of "outs" in baseball. This program was the best summer I have ever spent in my life.

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Rebecca
Female
28 years old
San Francisco
University of California- San Diego

Amigos de las Américas en Nicaragua

9/10

I signed up to be a project supervisor for this non-profit, Amigos de las Américas, in the summer of 2014. Before I knew it, I was boarding a plane and flying to a country I'd never been to- Nicaragua. As soon as I got there, I realized I had no way of reaching the project director, and I was the only staff member coming at an off time. Several Nicaraguans in the airport graciously offered me their phones to call my boss on his Nica phone, and everything went smoothly after that.

It's hard to describe in 200 words what this experience meant (and means) to me. I lived in a 2-bedroom house with 9 other people- it was cramped, but they were my family. We supported each other, we laughed, we cried- I don't think I've ever become so close to a group of people the way I did with this staff.

Nicaragua is known as "La Tierra de Lagos y Volcanes" and it definitely lived up to its name. But besides the great natural beauty of Nicaragua, I was blown away by the people. I felt like I really got to be a part of these rural communities- I was not just a visitor or a tourist, and I think that's what makes Amigos so unique. We don't come into these communities with our North American views and try to impose them on others. Rather, we come in with open minds, ready to engage in cross-cultural exchange. Of course, some of our "North-Americanness" inevitably peaks out over the summer, but it's about adjusting to a different lifestyle. I struggled to embrace the rural, laid-back lifestyle, but I also really learned from it.

How can this program be improved?

I wish Amigos would let staff leave the project site for a few days for major events. I really wanted to work for Amigos again this summer, but I cannot because my best friend's wedding is at the end of June, and all of the programs start end of May/beginning of June.

Program Listings

Panama

Amigos de las Americas
Participants support environmental projects and carry out health activities with AMIGOS partner agencies, the Ministerio de S...

Paraguay

Amigos de las Americas
AMIGOS participants live in the the departments of Paraguari and Misiones. Participants working with the Paraguayan Ministry...

Costa Rica

Amigos de las Americas
In Perez Zeledón, Costa Rica, participants spend alternating weeks in national parks doing trail maintenance and construction...

Ecuador

Amigos de las Americas
Participants in the Cotopaxi province engage in social enterprise and business leadership training alongside local youth in t...

Nicaragua

Amigos de las Americas
Matagalpa is in the cool, mountainous, coffee growing region of Nicaragua. Participants are assigned to support the work of t...

Dominican Republic

Amigos de las Americas
San Juan participants support campaigns to raise awareness about the rights of children. Our local partner agency, Plan Domin...

Nicaragua

Amigos de las Americas
The AMIGOS Gap Year or Semester provides high school graduates up to the age of 25 with community development internships in...

Mexico

Amigos de las Americas
In collaboration with organizations dedicated to promoting healthy food and nutrition for families in the area, we are excite...

Nicaragua

Amigos de las Americas
AMIGOS is excited to announce our new Discover AMIGOS Program for incoming freshmen and sophomores. Our staff in collaboratio...

Colombia

Amigos de las Americas
The AMIGOS Colombia program is unique by the fact that you can chose from two different track options and you will be enrolle...