Amigos de las Americas - Ecuador

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About

Participants in the Chimborazo province engage in social enterprise and business leadership training alongside local youth in the Andes Mountains. The incredible landscape presents one of the most extreme climates of all the AMIGOS projects, with elevation varying from 9,000 to 13,000 feet. All communities in Chimborazo are highly organized and have a precise system for decision making. Some of the communities are indigenous and speak primarily Kichwa.

Highlights
  • Work alongside local youth to develop a microenterprise
  • Live like a local with your host family in the Andean highlands
  • Improve your Spanish through cultural immersion - and learn some Kichwa!
  • Lead daily activities for people in your community

Questions & Answers

Reviews

93%
based on 13 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 8.8
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 13 of 13
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Rebekah
10/10

Amazing, Impactful Program

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 this program
Rosalinda
10/10

Highly Recommended

I recently came back from AMIGOS this August. I was completely impacted by this program, in a good way. I have never felt so safe and at peace then I was with this program. I had this most amazing experience and would do it a thousand times more if I had the chance to. It really does help you find yourself and really makes you value your life back home. I think everyone should try this out, I guarantee you wouldn't regret it.

How can this program be improved?
I believe it could be improved by making it more affordable or including a lot more scholarships. This would help a lot more people get involved with the program.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Annabachh
10/10

Ecuador 2010

As volunteers, we'd wake up around 8 am and walk to a different house each day for breakfast lunch and dinner. The whole community knew that we were present and were very welcoming. The kids were extremely enthusiastic to play and work with us. Difficulties we had were just communicating with the president of the town to gather the materials we needed for the community project, but it worked out in the end. We had a rocky living situation in the beginning but that was also fixed after the first week. Overall, it was a great experience. The community was very welcoming, the town and scenery were beautiful and we had healthy meals throughout the whole trip.

Yes, I recommend this program
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EStockton
10/10

The Most Amazing Program Ever--Such a Transformative Experience

I lived in a small community situated on the side of a mountain at an elevation of about 11,000 ft. A typical day consisted of milking cows, harvesting corn, working with the local children, playing lots of soccer and basketball and engaging community members in discussions about the importance of youth leadership, community development, government and lighter topics such as sports or life in America. AMIGOS is a supportive program that gives its volunteers the freedom to accomplish the most in their respective communities while offering a strong framework for success. I cannot express my love and gratitude for this program that positively altered my life forever. If you are a student looking for adventures, an unparallelled cultural immersion experience and the opportunity to form life-long bonds with people in another country, AMIGOS is the perfect program.

Yes, I recommend this program
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roseb45
9/10

Amigos de las Americas - Volunteer programs in Ecuador

It was amazing to live with a host family and feel completely accepted by the community. I loved working with the kids during the "Campamentos" (Summer camps) we did and they were really helpful in making us feel at home. It was really great to experience a completely different culture and view of the world; I came home with an entirely different perspective on the world. My favorite part was in the evenings after we finished our Campamentos. The kids would play and the teenagers would play the Ecuadorian version of volleyball while their radios blasted reggaeton music. The women would sit nearby and keep an eye on their kids while they knit and had a meeting for the knitting cooperative we started. We would just sit there, hang out with everybody, and feel like a part of the community. There were a few difficulties, such as overcoming the language barrier, but we adapted really quickly and our project staff were great resources at helping us. This was a fantastic program. I would do it again in a heartbeat and definitely recommend it to a friend, or basically just anyone.

Yes, I recommend this program
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LOVEAMIGOS
10/10

AMIGOS is amazing!

The Amigos I participated on in Ecuador has made me think about everything that I do differently. I am much more appreciative of everything that I have. I also feel connected to a whole community and feel like I have a second family. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to try new things.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Delia
7/10

Amigos is the best!

Being apart of this program was one of the best experiences I've had. I would recommend this Amigos program in Ecuador to anyone willing to adapt and wishing to be adopted into a community that supports you as you support them. The experience was very rewarding.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Kwilson
8/10

This is a really great experience

This experience allows you to live in a community in Ecuador teaching classes to local children. You also work with the community on a large scale project. I have so many great memories and will always value my experience

Yes, I recommend this program
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Janae
10/10

The greatest summer of my life

I will never forget my experience in Ecuador. It was the best summer of my life. My host family was absolutely amazing and caring. Plus, the community opened up their homes and hearts for us. I worked daily with the children of the community and it was great to see the impact we had on them when we played and learned. We also painted murals, which was another way to bring the community together since the kids and youth painted it while the adults watched and now can enjoy the work they did. We also planted trees with the kids and worked in the field with different families to help them with their daily field tasks like harvesting potatoes, cutting the grass and weeds, and planting new plants.
Amigos de las Americas is one of the best organizations I have come to know. It is hard to find another program that is as supportive and helpful. The staff was always attentive and responsive in any situation. When I got sick at night, I was at the clinic by the morning to make sure everything was okay, and I was! They make sure you are always safe both physically and mentally, but they also make sure you are having a fun and productive summer. If I was having an sort of issue or confusion with my partners, community, or projects, I could always count on my staff to help clear things up and make me feel better.

The greatest part about my experience was feeling like I actually made an impact on the community and now I have a new family in Ecuador. I have a new found love for cultures, spanish, and traveling as well. The cost of the program is definitely reasonable as everything is taken care of for the whole summer. You don't have to worry about buying food, paying for your travel if you need to go to the clinic, your clinic costs are covered and the only thing that you might want to bring your own money for is souvenirs, but that is optional!

Another great thing about Amigos is that all of the host families aren't compensated for housing volunteers, so if anyone signs up, they are truly interested in getting to know the volunteers and helping them through the process of getting projects going and then implementing them.
I made some really great friends in the community along with getting to know my host family. It was fun to hang out with the local youth because they generally are helpful, and will show you a good time. They actually taught me how to dance, plus we played soccer together and laughed a lot!

The day I had to leave, I couldn't stop crying. I didn't want to leave and couldn't wait until I had the chance to go back, regardless of how many potatoes I had to eat (potatoes are big staple in ecuador, along with guinea pig!!). I learned about ecuadorian culture, I learned about my family, my community, and myself. I would recommend this program to anyone who is willing to step outside of their comfort zone and that would love to make an impact on a community while having the best summer of their life.

I went to Ecuador to make an impact on a community in Ecuador, and while I did that, they left a huge impact on me.

Yes, I recommend this program
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CeeCeeBee
9/10

Life in Rural Ecuador

I wouldn't recommend Ecuador if you're looking to have a smashing social life volunteering for AMIGOS. That's what the DR is for :] Not that Ecuador was not fun. It was, but it took a while for the people to open up to the volunteers. They are really shy at the beginning. But the Andes mountains were beautiful. I loved waking up every morning and having a view of Volcan Cotopaxi right when I stepped out of the front door. And if you are a picky eater, definitely do not go to Ecuador. You will be served guinea pig in chicken feet multiple times. They do make for some great stories though :]
Bottom line-if you work hard and do not sleep your summer away, you will have a rewarding experience.

Yes, I recommend this program
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kaylarprice
10/10

The Best Experience Of Your Life

If you want an adventure, something positive to do with your summer where you will learn a lot and give the same back. Somewhere where you can meet people from all over the world and build amazing friendships. Somewhere where you can strengthen your Spanish speaking skills without an idea of judgement and an organization to work with that is not about tourism and 'help'. If you want to see what Ecuador is truly about and watch it come to life, join this program!

Yes, I recommend this program
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mayzinegrace
10/10

Always an Amigos Volunteer

I spent seven weeks in Ecuador with Amigos de las Americas. It was the most powerful expreience I have ever had. I lived with a host family but I ate lunch with many other families, that way I got to meet everyone in my community. After eating I would go and teach camps with themes provided by Plan International. Afterward my partner and I would meet with community leaders to discuss our Community Based Initiative (building public restrooms). After a meeting we would walk around the community and play with the kids or help with chores and cooking. Once a week, out supervisor would visit and accompany us on our daily activities.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Ellen
8/10

Change your life from the top of the world

It's a unique and rare opportunity to be able to live, participate and serve as a volunteer in an Andean community. This program offers you exactly that, at a young age. I've met hundreds of adults that tell me "they wish they had the opportunity at my age" - not that you should do this program because "grown-ups" wish they could, but because it's that rare of an opportunity.

Amigos does an excellent job placing volunteers in host communities, creating a positive home-stay experience and offering youth of the Americas true leadership opportunities to grow into themselves and be of service to a community.

Volunteers experience Andean culture first hand, build their language and communication skills, and connect with the kids in their communities. The Andes are a special place, they evoke a personal transformation.

Amigos attention to health and safety is unparalleled. If you're a parent reading this, they've got an incredible network of doctors and hospitals, plus many trainings to explain to you how their health and safety network functions.

Amigos volunteers are of service. First to their host communities, second to themselves. They learn, grow and play in a way that changes their life, for the rest of their lives.

Yes, I recommend this program

Interviews

About Amigos de las Americas

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...