Location
  • Ecuador
Length
3 to 6 weeks

Program Details

Language
Spanish
Age Min.
15
Age Max
19
Timeframe
Summer
Housing
Host Family

Pricing

Price Details
Financial assistance is available. Program fee includes all in-country expenses like lodging, food, private transportation, COVID-19 tests, PPE, entrance fees, etc.
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare
Sep 06, 2022
Aug 28, 2022
5 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Learn about the world by living in it! Since 1965, AMIGOS has provided the safest, most authentic service and immersion experiences in Latin America. Living and working in a new community gives you the chance to improve your Spanish, make an impact, gain confidence, and build leadership skills. You'll get to see the world in a truly unique way!

Join our programs in Ecuador to experience the unique cultures in this South American nation. From the Andes to the Amazon and the coast, Ecuador has incredible geographic and biological diversity. Choose the program that fits your interests!

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Go beyond travel and become part of a new community
  • Make real friendships that last a lifetime
  • Support community initiatives through ethical service, earning 48 service hours
  • Improve your Spanish through authentic cultural immersion
  • Live with a host family and get into the rhythm of daily life in your host community

Program Impact

Support community organizations and meet local farmers and advocates. Explore Ecuador while focusing on the AMIGOS program pillars of ethical service, cultural humility, and leadership.

Popular Programs

Rural Andean Ecuador

High in the Andes mountains, immerse yourself in the life of rural Ecuador. During your time in community, you might learn to harvest potatoes alongside your host dad or help your host sister milk the family's cows. Throughout the summer, build your business savvy and community development skills by working alongside local students to design and implement a project.

At least two years of high school Spanish (or equivalent) is required. You might even learn some Kichwa!

AMIGOS volunteer with her host family in Ecuador

High in the Andes mountains, immerse yourself in rural Ecuadorian life. During your time living with a host family, you might learn to harvest potatoes alongside your host dad or help your host sister milk the family's cows. Throughout the summer, you’ll work with Ecuadorian students on entrepreneurial projects. You will travel to regional workshops, build your business savvy, and work on sustainable, youth-led microenterprises.

AMIGOS volunteers on the La Sierra Project, 2022

How does the popularity of superfoods impact resources, water, and food sovereignty in Andean communities? Travel to the highlands of Ecuador to find out! Through visits to farms, communities, and national parks, experience Ecuadorian agricultural practices and learn about the connection between rural and urban areas via food production. Hear from community members and learn about cosmovisión, the way in which the indigenous culture understands the world.

View of the Santa Elena Province from an AMIGOS host community

Venture into rural, coastal communities throughout the beautiful province of Santa Elena, Ecuador while volunteering and living with a host family! Earn 48 service hours while supporting local initiatives to empower youth through collaborating on service projects. Truly immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Ecuador's Pacific coast by getting into the day-to-day rhythm of life in your host community.

At least two years of high school Spanish (or the equivalent) are required.

Program Reviews

4.87 Rating
based on 31 reviews
  • 5 rating 87.1%
  • 4 rating 12.9%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.75
  • Support 4.95
  • Fun 4.85
  • Value 4.8
  • Safety 5
Showing 1 - 8 of 31 reviews
Default avatar
Isabell
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Ecuador: Santa Elena

Choosing to spend six weeks of my summer in Ecuador was one of the best decisions I have ever made! Over the six weeks I realized how much I love to speak Spanish and appreciate using my Spanish to listen and learn people's stories. I stayed with two different host families, giving me a chance to experience living in two very different communities. Amigos Immerse helped me to gain more independence and self confidence after two years of being constrained by COVID.

Living with another family for an extended amount of time allowed me to experience life with my host families, from celebrating family milestones, the small activities of watching telenovelas after dinner, to cooking dinner with the family. I spent a lot of my time sitting in the kitchen helping my host mom cook or just talking to my host siblings about their days. In the evening we would often play cards, something everyone in the family from the five year-old nephew to my host mom loved. It was a great time for me to share games I enjoyed playing and they taught me games they enjoyed, and of course, UNO was a big hit.

Another big part of what I did was running Talleres, camps for the kids in my community, five days per week. We taught the kids about ecology, recycling, creative expression, and leadership. While planning our lessons we tried to incorporate games to make it fun. It really taught me to think on my feet and be flexible to adjust the activity to support the kids energy on a specific day.

AMIGOS offered such an amazing opportunity to be able to have new in depth experiences, in Spanish to learn from others, while at the same time learning so much about yourself. AMIGOS cares so deeply about all of their volunteers and over the past 60 years has learned how to best support teens while at the same time letting them have their own experience that is unique and special to every person who participates.

If you are thinking about participating in an AMIGOS immerse program I would strongly encourage you to do it, you won’t regret your decision.

Pros
  • You learn so much about the communities you are living in
  • You get to practice your Spanish in a way very different then learning in the classroom
  • Trying new and delicious food!
9 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Lily
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

If you're thinking about it, do it!

My six weeks in Ecuador were unforgettable. From bonding with the group during briefing and debriefing to creating memories with my host family and community, I formed amazing connections that will last me a lifetime.

In the community I stayed in, my partner and I got to paint two murals alongside community members: one about reproductive and sexual rights and another about the importance of recycling. Throughout the process, I learned new skills, built my Spanish vocabulary, and became a much more confident leader. The best part is that the community members were the ones teaching and supporting me, not an Amigos staff member. This aspect makes Amigos programs so impactful: they provide the perfect amount of guided independence, which means they trust participants and host communities to learn the most from each other. My supervisor was there if I needed him, but he was in no way overbearing, which gave me the space to make the most of my experience in a safe way.

Aside from the murals, my partner and I also led workshops four days a week for the kids in the community. We focused on a handful of themes: Ecology and The Environment; Creative Expression; Leadership and Civic Participation; Nutrition and Food Safety; The Rights of Children and Adolescents; and Community and Personal Health. The kids brought the most amazing, fun energy to the workshops, which made each day a new adventure. This time was also perfect for practicing Spanish because I really had to think on the spot when leading the workshops. If you go, I recommend making a Wall of Work to display the activities the kids do during the workshop -- it's cool to look back on in the end.

When not leading workshops or painting murals, I would spend time playing cards with my host family, learning about their lives, learning to cook, and sometimes hiking. Participants can also get permission to go on excursions with their host families.

If you are thinking about doing Amigos, do it! You will leave the experience with a new appreciation for the world, a stronger grasp of the Spanish language, and long-lasting connections.

Pros
  • Amigos creates the perfect amount of independence
  • It's the perfect experience for language and cultural immersion
  • To an extent, you can tailor the program to align with your passions and interests.
8 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Nisha
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Ecuador: Santa Elena

One of my favorite aspects of being an AMIGOS participant is the homestay experience. I got to spend 4 weeks with a host family in Ecuador, which was an amazing way to connect to the culture. A big part of why I enjoy speaking Spanish is the ability to talk to other people and learn from them. I had an incredible host family who was so open to sharing their life with me, and I had so much fun spending time with them and learning how to cook or play games that they enjoy. I also learned more about myself and how to form deep connections with people in a short amount of time. I love the opportunity to get to live in a place for a few weeks, rather than just visiting the touristy parts of a country. It means that I got to connect with my host family, but also with others in my host community who worked on the project with me or just saw me walking around and wanted to talk. The freedom that AMIGOS gives participants is a beautiful responsibility because it means that we can explore the community we're living in without our hands being held the whole time. The standards of conduct are easy to follow and don't prevent fun and exploration. AMIGOS can definitely be a challenging experience, but both times I have done it, the highlights have been more than worth the challenges.

11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Natalie
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

La Sierra Experience

The La Sierra Ecuador trip was truly amazing. It was 3 weeks full of farming and new experiences. I would recommend this trip to everyone because it was such an impactful trip full of learning and growth. I was able to connect with my Ecuadorian family at La Granja as well as all of the other volunteers. It was a great way to expand my Spanish and have an amazing summer! I met so many new people all across the United States who I still stay in contact with today! I hope everyone takes the opportunity to go on this awesome trip!

Pros
  • Meeting new people
  • Learning more about a different community
  • Experiencing travel by yourself
Cons
  • Being away from your home for 3 weeks
  • We experienced protests which sadly made us not be able to leave the farm.
  • Not having a lot of freedom.
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Maguire
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Enriched in Ecuador :)

I had the most incredible time on my Amigos trip in Ecuador. I got to live on "La Granja," a family owned farm where I milked cows, harvested herbs, planted trees, cooked fresh meals, and swam in waterfalls with my cohort. When we were not working, my group had many interesting conversations about race, gender, stereotyping, colonialism, and identity. Through these conversations I was exposed to diverse perspectives and got to know myself better than I ever have before. I always get homesick while away from family, however in Ecuador I built a new family. I still stay in touch with the friends I made even though we live thousands of miles away. I LOVED Ecuador!

What was your funniest moment?
We had a lip sync battle with the whole group one night. Everyone participated and came up with their own dance routine. Mine was so atrocious but it was a blast to participate and to laugh with everyone while they performed.
31 people found this review helpful.
Response from Amigos de las Americas

Hi Maguire,
We are happy that you really enjoyed your time in Ecuador!
Thank you for recommending Amigos!
-Amigos de las Americas

Default avatar
Adrienne
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Excellent Experience For My Daughter

Our older daughter participated in Amigos for many years, and we were unsure what the reimagined "pandemic safe" program would offer. Amigos did not disappoint. Our younger daughter was able to immerse herself in the host country culture, meet new friends, challenge herself and speak Spanish. One unexpected highlight was the food. She is a picky eater and found herself loving the fresh fruits and vegetables prepared for her group. Overall, she matured and came back a more confident and informed citizen. I highly recommend Amigos!

What was your funniest moment?
All of the students were offered the opportunity to wake up early to milk the cows. My daughter took advantage of this opportunity; she and a friend learned how to milk the cows and enjoyed documenting the experience with a few very good photographs to share and to help her remember this special morning.
32 people found this review helpful.
Response from Amigos de las Americas

Hi Adrienne,
We are happy that your daughter enjoyed our program!
Thank you for recommending Amigos!
-Amigos de las Americas

Default avatar
Emma
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

AMIGOS Ecuador La Sierra 2021!

I had the most amazing time on my AMIGOS trip this past summer. I went on the Ecuador La Sierra trip and my project pod stayed on a farm and in an indigenous community. We worked at the farm, went on lots of hikes, explored the city of Cuenca, and learned how to cook delicious foods. Some of my favorite activities were seeing a cow birth, milking the cows, using biological materials to build a wall on a side of a home, making soup for lunch, and painting a mural. I learned about sustainable agriculture in Ecuador through talking to the people at the farm and working at the farm every day, whether we were harvesting vegetables, raking leaves in the forest, or making compost. I believe I improved my Spanish because we spoke to everyone at the farm in Spanish and had Spanish classes every morning. The group activities we had within our pod were really engaging and we were able to develop strong connections as a group. Through this program, I've developed lasting friendships with the other volunteers in my pod, and I am so grateful for our supervisors who were so supportive and inspiring. This experience with AMIGOS is one that I'll never forget, and I would recommend AMIGOS to anyone!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
One of the most amazing things I did on the trip was going to milk the cows early in the morning! We walked over to a beautiful green hill and the native women taught us how to milk the cows.
31 people found this review helpful.
Response from Amigos de las Americas

Hi Emma,
We are happy that you were able to learn and improve your Spanish while in Ecuador!
Thank you for recommending Amigos!
-Amigos de las Americas

Default avatar
Helena
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

An Experience I Will Never Forget

I had an incredible experience with Amigos last summer in Session B of the La Sierra, Ecuador program because of the friends I made and the new experiences I had. Since we began our trip with a long layover in the Quito airport, our group immediately bonded. We were all extremely excited to arrive in Ecuador and begin the program, so we quickly found commonalities between us. The strength of the friendships we forged was clear at the airport when we were returning home because it was painful to say goodbye to one another. The friends I made weren’t just from the US because two students from Ecuador participated in the program with us. Every day we ate our meals together, worked on the farm together, and went through new experiences together. Building strong friendships and connections with the people I met, made the program so wonderful.

In addition to the people I met, the new experiences I had really widened my global perspective and gave me a greater appreciation for cultures other than my own. I loved working on the farm planting vegetables and helping with the compost. Many highlights of the trip occurred when taking care of the animals on the farm. I remember being given the opportunity to wake up at 5 am and help milk the cows at Kinti Wasi, and seizing that opportunity was a fantastic decision. It was surreal seeing the sunrise over the mountains as the cows were all around us eating the grass of the field. I would encourage everyone to try Amigos!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
We went on a hike to a nearby waterfall and it was nerve-racking to make it to the bottom of the waterfall because you had to hold a rope and grapple down a hill. I overcame my fears because of the support of my peers who were on the hike with me and our amazing project staff.
32 people found this review helpful.
Response from Amigos de las Americas

Hi Helena,
We are happy that you were able to widen your global perspective in Ecuador!
Thank you for recommending Amigos!
-Amigos de las Americas

Questions & Answers