Amigos de las Americas

Amigos de las Americas

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, Amigos de las Americas has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

About

Founded in 1965, AMIGOS is the safest, most authentic volunteer and immersion program in Latin America for young people ages 13 to 22. Volunteers get the opportunity to explore a new country, learn Spanish, bond with their host family, and make a positive impact by working on a community service project side by side with local peers and community partners. Our relationships with local and international organizations — built over 50 years — enable authentic engagements in communities across the region.

New virtual gap year program

AMIGOS & Tufts University just launched a new virtual gap year experience for fall 2020: the Civic Action Gap Semester! Explore social change across the Americas, make an impact through a civic volunteership, engage with your community, and earn college credit.
Founded
1965
Headquarters

1800 West Loop South
Suite 1325
Houston, TX 77027
United States

Upcoming Events

  1. Mon 13 July
    AMIGOS Gap Info Session

    Join us to learn more about our US-based Gap programming!

    Time:
    5:00 PM (PDT) - 6:00 PM (PDT)
  2. Mon 20 July
    AMIGOS Gap Info Session

    Join us to learn more about our US-based Gap programming!

    Time:
    5:00 PM (PDT) - 6:00 PM (PDT)
  3. Tue 11 August
    AMIGOS Gap Year Info Session

    Join us to find out more about AMIGOS Gap Year options, including our newest partnership with Tufts University: the virtual Civic Action Gap Semester!

    Time:
    3:00 PM (PDT) - 4:00 PM (PDT)

Reviews

Default avatar
Crystal
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had the privilege to serve as a Project Supervisor alongside the rest of the summer staff team and I would describe this opportunity as a once in a lifetime experience. I built the most amazing friendships with the members of my community, volunteers and of course my amazing staff team.

Not only are the members of the community very welcoming but the beauty of Costa Rica's nature is just fascinating. I was able to meet life long friends and build meaningful relationships. As for my incredible volunteers, I got to know them on personal level as I watched them blossom throughout this summer experience. I dedicated myself to providing them with all the support and resources that they needed to be successful leaders in their community, but ultimately they were all natural born leaders. Where they to built unbreakable bonds with their host families as well as learned a lot about themselves. Although I may be a bit challenging for some, I like to think of the quote "Nothing worth having comes easy".

As for the community members that I got to know, their humbleness and willingness to come together to provide an unforgettable experience for the volunteers is what I appreciated the most. They maintained the volunteers well being in mind and treated them just like family.

I had am amazing experience in Costa Rica as a Project Supervisor and I would recommend AMIGOS to anyone who is willing to adventure out of their comfort zone, build meaningful relationships, work on their leadership skills and explore Latin America.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would increase the amount of AMIGOS staff assigned to each project location because of the intense workload that needs to be fulfilled. Nonetheless, I would not trade my experience for anything in the world.
Default avatar
Eliza
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It is hard to fully summarize this summer in writing, but I will do my best! My time in Panama with Discover AMIGOS was one of the most incredible, life-changing experiences I have ever had. Immediately meeting the other AMIGOS I was on the trip with, I knew I had found my life-long friends. The way Discover completely immersed us in Panamanian culture has opened my eyes, and will stay with me forever. I got to take part in so many once-in-a-lifetime experiences, including living with a host family, and teaching English at a local school. Not only did this trip greatly improve my Spanish skills, it taught me leadership, teamwork, and open-mindedness! The memories I created during this trip will stay with me for the rest of my life, and will continue to impact my view on the world. I HIGHLY recommend you do the Discover AMIGOS program, or any of the other AMIGOS programs!! It will change your life!!!

What would you improve about this program?
Honestly, I would not change anything about this program!
Default avatar
Alisha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Participating in AMIGOS was one of the best decision I have ever made. The Azuero project truly pushed me to grow and develop in my interpersonal skills, language, and overall character. I lived in the Azuero region for 6 weeks the summer going into my senior year. AMIGOS is an amazing program in which I always felt safe and prepared for whatever was thrown my way. I got to make great relationships with my host family and others in my community as well as long-lasting friendships with my partners and the other AMIGOS volunteers. It is truly an experience that you cannot find anywhere else which throws you "out of your element", and changes your perspective on the world for the better. I highly recommend AMIGOS to anyone who is considering it!

Default avatar
Stella
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was a participant during the Cocle 6 week summer program in 2019. It's difficult to sum 6 weeks into one paragraph, but the thing I learned most from AMIGOS is how to approach challenge. I've always been a person that likes to solve challenges by myself or not ask for help; however, AMIGOS changed this–I was pushed to solve obstacles I had never contacted, big and small. I had the freedom to be myself while learning when I needed assistance and when I knew I could accomplish a task, a conversation etc. Now, as I am an incoming college first-year, this skill is evermore important. I feel confident making connections with professors and other students. I also feel comfortable asking questions and being vulnerable in my own skin–a skill I had never developed until AMIGOS.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't be afraid to be vulnerable. Whether it's talking to a new friend, asking questions, trying new foods, making silly faces, or dancing, getting out of your comfort zone is valuable in your AMIGOS experience and beyond. "When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable.” –Madeleine L'Engle
Default avatar
Emma
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My six weeks with AMIGOS in Palmares were some of the best six weeks of my life. I loved, loved, loved this program. Everyone I met was so kind. Ticos (Costa Ricans) are genuinely kind and caring people. Everyone in my community was so excited to meet us, to have us in our homes, to offer us a meal. The other volunteers on my project were genuinely unique and funny and accepting and I loved spending time with them. My supervisor was so supportive of me and my partner and encourage us to enjoy our time there to the fullest. The project director was so sweet, and Casa de la Juventud was such an integral part of my experience; they made a great partner agency. If you're on the fence about AMIGOS, do this program. I promise you you'll love it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Throw yourself into it. Be open. Try and make friends, meet new people, talk to anyone you can.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 16
Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Panama: Cocle
Panama
9.62 •21 reviews

Promote health, reforestation, and environmental protection by...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Costa Rica: Palmares
Costa Rica
9.44 •16 reviews

It's the best of both worlds! Become part of a new community and live...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Ecuador: Chimborazo
Ecuador
9.36 •14 reviews

High in the Andes mountains, immerse yourself in the life of rural...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Dominican Republic: Barahona
Dominican Republic
9.27 •11 reviews

Enjoy the vibrant summer culture of the Dominican Republic while...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Uruguay Gap Year
Uruguay
10 •4 reviews

Accredited by the Gap Year Association, our Gap Program provides...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Discover AMIGOS - Panama
Panama
10 •3 reviews

Discover AMIGOS is a two-week group volunteer experience for ages 13...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Ecuador Gap Year
Ecuador
9.33 •3 reviews

Spend your first month in intensive Spanish classes, including outings...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Panama: Azuero
Panama
10 •2 reviews

Explore the Azuero Peninsula while you promote health and...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Costa Rica: Perez Zeledon
Costa Rica
10 •1 review

Spend the first half of your time abroad getting to know your host...

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Finley Davis

Finley is a student at the University of Southern California studying Political Science and Journalism with a minor in Spanish. After graduating high school, she lived in Ecuador before finally returning to LA where she now lives with her fish.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose AMIGOS because I had done a program with them in Nicaragua when I was in high school. Their gap year program seemed like the next step up and I was able to have an internship while I was abroad.

Their program was also one of the more affordable ones I found and felt more authentic because of the host family experience. They also highlight that you learn grant writing through your internship which has been a marketable skill going forward.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

AMIGOS set participants up with an internship depending on their interests and previous work experience, a host family to stay with, Spanish classes, and excursions every couple of months. They also had about a week of training in Texas that served as an orientation.

If you wanted to leave the city and plan your own trip, you totally can, but you would need to organize that on your own! Otherwise, everything you needed was taken care of by AMIGOS.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would say stay for the entire year! The program is extremely challenging but you get the hang of it after a while! Those considering the semester option might not have enough time to assimilate and make the most of their time in Latin America. And take dance classes before you go, trust me on this one.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

An average day starts with waking up and eating breakfast with your host family, then walking to the bus stop and going into downtown where you would either go to Spanish classes or your internship. I usually met other participants for lunch or ate with my internship supervisors at their house.

After work, other participants and I would meet at a dance or yoga class. I always ate dinner with my host family and if it was on the weekend we would end the night at a discoteca!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was the notion that taking a gap year or semester was a waste of time. It was hard to watch my friends go straight to college when it felt like I was taking a break. But as it turns out, my time abroad was extremely valuable.

Apart from learning grant writing and perfecting my Spanish, many participants and myself also found a lot of clarity in terms of what we wanted to pursue when we returned to the US. I changed my major as soon as I got to USC, largely in part from my experience at my internship in Ecuador.

What's your favorite memory from your time abroad?

As an avid backpacker, I was able to spend time in the national parks around Ecuador hiking and exploring. I expected to find some strange plants and animals but no matter how many warnings you get, the first time you run into a llama is really something. Especially when they spit.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Lauren Hauser

Job Title
Managing Director of Regional Operations, Former Project Director: Yucatan, Mexico
Lauren has worked for AMIGOS since 2012 when she served as a program mentor for the exchange program in Paraguay. From there, she ran AMIGOS programs in Mexico and now works at the National Office where she gets to find the next cohort of amazing young leaders!

What is your favorite travel memory?

My favorite travel memory was being able to run AMIGOS Programs in the Yucatan, Mexico. I fell in love with the people, the culture, and working in the Mayan communities there. Opportunities like this remind me of how similar we are in our desires, hopes and dreams. Even though many of these families had very little, they actually had a lot in terms of love. Although it was a 'work' experience, it felt like much much more.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I love that AMIGOS is a leadership organization through and through and so you really get opportunities to take on new projects, learn new things and flex your leadership muscles. I really feel like through AMIGOS roles, I have had the opportunity to learn more about myself and in turn, become a better leader with others. More tangibly, project management! What a skill to take with you for the rest of your life.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

If I could go on an AMIGOS program I would have a hard time choosing! Personally, I would love to do the projects where there is a strong indigenous community presence. I get excited to learn new languages and experience cultures. Our Paraguay, Ecuador or Mexico projects really offer students the opportunities to not just learn and practice Spanish, but also other languages like Mayan, Guarani and Quechua. Our Ecuador program also has a specific focus on youth entrepreneurship and I think it would be really interesting to learn about micro-enterprises alongside Ecuadorian youth!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

I think what makes AMIGOS unique is our commitment to building young global leaders committed to service. What I appreciate is that we don't just do that with the students who pay to do our programs, but with youth locally who take part in our training program as well. Our Latin American youth are a key part of our work, as well as our host families. I am also very proud of our training program. We offer a 30 hour core curriculum that really prepares students to learn and grow in independent environments and I really believe that when we step outside our comfort zones, our opportunity to grow is nothing short of powerful!

Professional Associations