Amigos de las Americas

Amigos de las Americas

About

Established in 1965, AMIGOS is the industry leader providing international cultural immersion and leadership experiences for youth. Participants ages 13 to 25 are immersed in the language and daily lives of their host community, bringing that community together to carry out a sustainable project. Alongside their partner and other participants, they lead activities for local youth.

AMIGOS has built trusted relationships with local agencies in their project areas for over 50 years. These socially- and environmentally-conscious partnerships help ensure project sustainability as well as a mutually beneficial relationship between the participants and the host community.

AMIGOS recruits Latin American participants to collaborate with the US participants on local projects. The community owns and participates in the initiatives.

Programs include a 2-week introductory project, 4-9 week summer projects, and gap year and semester programs.

Founded
1965
Headquarters

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

Reviews

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Sidney
10/10

Amigos insured that I grew up the day I left Mexico. My host family and community were the most influential people of my life. To this day everything I do I think of them, how I can make them proud, my privilege and when can I return. Our project although challenging was the point of growth for me. I can not explain further the depth and impact this experience has had on me but I do recommend it to those who are willing to respect the amazing culture that exist in Yucatan. We have to preserve and conserve it.

How can this program be improved?
Unfortunately I always felt that I had a more damaging impact on the community then a positive one. They completely changed me positively and I just wish we could provide the same substance.
Yes, I recommend
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Rebekah
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.
Yes, I recommend
Jessica
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.

Yes, I recommend
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Rachel Massey
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!
Yes, I recommend
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Adriana
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.

Yes, I recommend

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