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

Reviews

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Jonathan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I LOVED this program. The amount I learned and the relationships I made with other volunteers in unexplainable and absolutely amazing. I loved every moment that I got to spend with my new friends. I hope that you will join this program and have just an amazing time as I did.
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What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Treasure every moment of this incredible journey. Enjoy :)
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Rashi
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went in the summer of 2019; I loved meeting new people from around the US and the world. It was hands down, one of the best experiences I've had in my life. Not only were we surrounded by amazing participants, but the staff was so supportive and encouraged us to get out of our comfort zones. My host family welcomed my Amigos partners and me with open arms and took us in as apart of their community. I loved learning more about Latinx culture, and I hope to participate in another Amigos program in the future.

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Carus
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I went on this trip summer 2019 and it was the best experience of my life. I meet so many cool people from a range of states and countries and I had the opportunity to live with a loving and welcoming host family. The amigos staff was very supportive in our growth and learning and anything else we needed. By living with a host family we were able to fully amerce ourselves in the culture which was one of my favorite parts. I couldn’t have had a better experience and I hope to do another Amigos program in the future.

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Frederic
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Our daughter did the CIP in the summer of 2020. The program was excellent - a great balance of skill development, connection with peers and mentors, and practical work connecting with local people in our community.
The work was challenging but well supported, and she developed great connections despite the current physical distancing requirements. She got Spanish language development, design thinking and project planning instruction and mentoring, and support for practicing new experiences like calling up business and community leaders and getting them interested and committed to supporting her project.
At the end of the program she was proud of all the work she had done. She is still excited to talk about how her new confidence and skills open up all kinds of opportunities for her in the future.

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Gabriela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

We were very lucky to come across this program with almost all other activities being cancelled this summer. This online program taught my teen the skills to become a social activist and how to prepare her own program. Although she has completed the 6 weeks training program, she continues to work on getting her program started with local kids in need. She received excellent feedback from the program managers and her peers. I highly recommend Amigos for your teen that aspires to change the world!

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 17
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
9.33 •12 reviews

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

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Community Impact Project
Online
9.83 •6 reviews

Join an eight-week online initiative to connect with other students...

Amigos de las Americas
Amigos de las Americas - Costa Rica: Perez Zeledon
Costa Rica
9.5 •4 reviews

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

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...

Alumni Interviews

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

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!

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