Youth International Volunteer Program: Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador
95% Rating
(6 Reviews)

Youth International Volunteer Program: Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador

College Credit available

Western State Colorado University and Youth International have partnered to offer college credit to Youth International participants. Courses are designed to enhance the existing experiential learning program through complimentary reading and reflective writing. 529 Savings Plan funds and AmeriCorps Education Awards may be used towards the course fee and the Youth International program fee.

Explore the cultures of South America with Youth International in spring or fall of 2018! As a Youth International participant, you will travel through Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador for three months. Traveling with a group of 14 peers and 2 group leaders, you will have the opportunity to do volunteer work, trek in the Andes, live with families, improve your Spanish, and learn first-hand about diverse aspects of the culture. Dates for the spring 2018 program are: February 15 to May 9. Visit the Youth International website for a daily itinerary.

Youth International takes you to some of South America's most amazing destinations, including Machu Picchu, the Amazon rainforest, and the Galapagos Islands. About a third of the trip is dedicated to service work. Service projects in 2018 include: Conservation work on a rainforest reserve in Ecuador, building a school in a village in Bolivia, and teaching English in an orphanage in Peru. Challenge your limits with Youth International!

  • Improve your Spanish language skills by communicating with your home stay families and navigating your way around towns in real life situations.
  • Lend a hand and give back by volunteering in needy rural communities.
  • Explore lively cities and famous archaeological sites, including Machu Picchu.
  • Learn first-hand about diverse ecosystems, including the Galapagos Islands, the Salt Plains in Bolivia, the Andes Mountains, and the Ecuadorian Amazon.
  • Make lifelong memories and friends by traveling in a small team of like-minded peers.
Machu Picchu
La Paz
Age Min.
Age Max
Year Round
Small Group (1-15)
Host Family
Starting Price
Price Details
Cost is US$11,350 per semester. Includes all meals, lodging, overland travel, scheduled program activities including sightseeing and outdoor adventure, team leaders and in-country staff, orientation session in the USA, and educational materials. In addition to the program fee, participants must pay for their flights (on average approximately $1700), personal expenses, and individual free time activities. Personal expenses include health insurance, entry visas, and transportation to orientation in Colorado at the beginning of the program.

Questions & Answers

The answer is BOTH! During the travel and sightseeing portions of the program, participants mostly socialize within the group. During the home stays and volunteer projects, when participants are living and working with locals who speak little or no English, there are great opportunities for language immersion.

Program Reviews

based on 6 reviews
  • Impact 9.8
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 6 of 6
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Unbelievable experience

I came into this program looking to involve myself into different cultures of the world, to open my mind to new places and people, and furthermore I wanted to become more thankful for what I have back at home. During my Youth International trip I was able to be a part of different cultures while seeing different places around the world. The leaders and other group members were great. I've had a great life so far, but doing this 3 month adventure was by far the best decision in my life.

Yes, I recommend
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Overall Great

Overall it was a great mix of different things. We had language and cultural immersion with homestays, volunteering, a lot of traveling to different places and countries (Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands), and some adventuring. It was not as "hardcore" as I had initially imagined. We were sleeping in nice hostels, nice homes in homestays and for the most part taking the nicest busses when possible. We only camped for a few nights total. If you are looking for an amazing experience while not necessarily roughing it, this program is for you. For me it was a nice stepping stone to something more.

Yes, I recommend
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I had an incredible time on this trip.

It all started with the dedicated staff that put in a lot of work behind the scenes and before the program started to make everything run so well. The itinerary was very well crafted. There was a great balance between home-stays, service work, and adventure.

The main reason though why I liked this program and why I would recommend it to others is because it constantly challenged me and ultimately made me a more confident and mature person.

Yes, I recommend
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A Great Experience

If I hadn't taken this chance of a gap year, I would never have had this amazing opportunity with an amazing group of people. The three months we were abroad was incredible and I wouldn't trade Youth International with any other program. I had the time of my life getting to know new people and experiencing new cultures!

Yes, I recommend
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Youth International was awesome. They were organized, and the trip leaders knew the itinerary inside out and backwards. They had a perfect balance between free-days and planned days.

My goals were to experience a foreign culture, to gain insight into my own person, and to see things that I would never be able to see otherwise (like Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands). My hopes were all met. The leaders were incredible, the places were breathtaking, and the excursions were challenging.

One of my favourite activities daily excursions was a hike up Tunari mountain in Bolivia. It was hard work, seeing as we were hiking a mountain, but it was one of the best days of the three months. Euphoric doesn't begin to describe it. And they kept us working out, and we hiked up to various landmarks, in nearly every town/city we visited (Christos and Condor's like noone's business). And when it came to hiking Machu Picchu, we were almost totally acclimatized. Experiences like that are so much easier to enjoy when you're not begging and heaving for a break.

As for the leaders, they had our back. Every step of the way. Our health and safety was so important.

And as for the volunteering, it wasn't us putting up a house and then the workers coming back later that night to tear it down and rebuild it. The construction supervisors made sure that we were doing it right. And if we weren't doing it right, they made us redo it. I am now very skilled at laying concrete.

This was two years ago for me now. I grew more than I realized over the three months. I wish I could go again. I saw so many things, encountered so many different people, learned so much. Learned about the world, learned about myself.

Yes, I recommend
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Life Changing

I participated in Youth International's South America Volunteer trip directly after I graduated from high school. My fellow participants were mostly around my age, 18-24, and were from parts of the USA, Canada, and Europe. It is because of Youth International that I fell in love with the world, learned to work with every type of person, and developed a compassion for disadvantaged communities. Although I have studied, worked, and volunteered with many other programs, Youth International was the most profound. I am still best friends with some of the participants and I have visited them and other travelers I met during the program all over the world. I will always recommend people to participate with Youth International. If you have never stepped foot out of your country or are an experienced traveller, it makes no difference. You will love your months with Youth Internationals and leave wishing you could stay.

How can this program be improved?

The progam begins with an intensive language course which alone enabled me to test out of 100 level college Spanish courses. That being said, I think the program and its participants would benefit if language training was continued after the first few weeks. Perhaps a course book with exercises to practice while on long bus rides through the jungle.

Yes, I recommend

About Youth International

Youth International has been offering unique volunteer and educational programs abroad since 1997. Youth International offers 3-month programs in South America and Asia, with start dates in September and February each year. The South America program...