This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Amigos de las Americas.
Amigos de las Americas- Oaxaca, Mexico - CLOSED
91% Rating
(15 Reviews)

Amigos de las Americas- Oaxaca, Mexico - CLOSED

This program is no longer offered. View more programs from Amigos de las Americas.

Live with a host family and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Oaxaca, Mexico. Participants will collaborate with the local community to design and implement a service learning project.

Locations
North America » Mexico » Oaxaca
North America » Mexico
Length
1-3 Months
Language
Spanish
Housing
Host Family
Hostel
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    88%
  • Support
    91%
  • Fun
    87%
  • Value
    87%
  • Safety
    88%

Program Reviews (15)

Jessica
Female

Impactful summers, leadership ladder

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.

Rosalinda
Female
20 years old
Phoenix, Arizona
Arizona State University

Do it!!

10/10

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.

How can this program be improved?

I believe it could be improved by making it more affordable or including a lot more scholarships

Mimi
Female
24 years old
Davis, CA
University of California- Davis

Yucatan, Mexico

10/10

The Yucatan is one of the most beautiful and interesting places. I think it makes it one of the most special AMIGOS projects. The Yucatan is highly influenced by the indigenous Mayan culture. Nearly everyone in Yucatan speaks both Mayan and Spanish, which is super cool to be able to work on both. The Mayan culture is extremely rich and prevalent which brings a unique learning opportunity to this particular program since you are experience tradition and a way of life.
In the Yucatan everyone sleeps in hammocks and mostly live in traditional palapas. The food is so good, but a lot of beans. It is very hot there, but nothing a quick deep in a local cenote can't fix! Cenotes are fresh water holes in caves, super cool!!!!!
AMIGOS is a real challenge but also a wonderful opportunity to spend an extended period of time making new friends, new family, and learning more than you can imagine about yourself and about another culture. It will transform you.

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Rachael
Female
19 years old
Pennsylvania
Other

Mexico: Not easy, but well worth it!

9/10

This past summer I was an Amigos participant in Oaxaca, Mexico. It was definitely nerve wracking to get on a plane and not truly know my destination (you aren't placed in a community until you arrive in country), but the few moments of fear were well worth it.

I was placed in the Valles Centrales region of Oaxaca, about 40 minutes from Oaxaca City. I imagine my community was the most urbanized out of all other placements as it was a small town with many little businesses and a daily market. The project staff actually chose to hold mid-term in my community because of the access to internet cafes.

Honestly, I cried almost every day for the first week because I so desperately wanted to be in the mountains. I suppose I thought there was little I could do to impact the people of my community. In fact, I still often wonder just how much impact my partners and I had on the people we met. But at the same time, I do think we successfully instilled the values of Amigos-- empowering youth to become leaders in their community.

The emphasis put on collaboration with locals is definitely a plus for the program; teenagers are not necessarily professionals in public health. The local nutritionists, however, do know a thing or two about healthy cooking with the native grain amaranth. Collaboration also allows participants to make friends and truly immerse themselves in the language and culture of their country. One of my favorite memories is the day my local vol took me to the market to try tejate, a drink made from cocoa. It quickly became a new favorite!

As a participant, you'll learn to expect the unexpected. I had a lot of curve balls thrown my way, but Amigos has established an incredible support system for helping participants deal with stress and other problems that arise while living in a new culture.

I don't think anyone had a perfect summer, but I think we all grew in unimaginable ways. I personally have a lot more confidence in both my problem-solving abilities and myself as a whole. Oaxaca will always hold a special place in my heart as it's where some of my strongest friendships were formed.

How can this program be improved?

The current system for contacting supervisors is a little bit annoying seeing as everyone I encountered used pre-paid phones that were *always* out of money. Perhaps the organization could provide one pre-paid phone for each partnership to only be used if your host family/other contacts are out of money and there is an emergency.

**Quick note: Amigos is actually in the midst of transformation, trying to alter the way programs work and to gauge impact a little bit more in the future. They're refocusing to be even better than before!

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Joe
Male
19 years old
Arizona

A Summer Well Spent

9/10

I participated as a volunteer in Oaxaca during the summer of 2014, and found it to be a thoroughly rewarding and memorable experience. Although I cannot say that I enjoyed every aspect of my summer, I have no regrets. My experience with AMIGOS has given me a unique perspective on another culture and improved my confidence in areas such as public speaking. I made many friends this summer, not only in my community, but among the diverse group of volunteers as well.

Additionally, safety and health protocols are top-notch. Weekly visits from a project supervisor allow the staff to monitor the health and welfare of each volunteer while still giving the volunteers a great amount of independence and responsibility while in community. Host families tend to be caring and supportive of volunteers.

I would highly recommend this program. While my summer was far from perfect, I can hardly imagine having spent it any other way.

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Lauren
Female
32 years old
United States
University of Arizona

Eleven Years with Amigos

10/10

I was a volunteer with Amigos in Panama in '04 and Mexico in '05. It was by far the most rewarding experience of my life, both personally and professionally. What other program gives you the level of responsibility and cultural interaction that this program does? I was so grateful to Amigos that I continued to volunteer as a trainer for many years and now hold a chapter staff position. I credit Amigos with much of my maturity, personal development, leadership, and global awareness. It's a bigger commitment than many other programs, but the benefits extend far beyond any other singular experience of my life.

How can this program be improved?

The health and safety protocol are among the best in the world, but I do wish more attention to volunteer training were achieved in many instances.

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Meg
Female
24 years old
Orinda, California
Brigham Young University

Personally and professionally life-changing

9/10

Hi! I'm Meg Radunich, and I served as a volunteer in Guanajuato the summer of 2003. I made lifetime friends with fellow volunteers and project supervisors that I still keep in touch with to this day!

I felt safe and cared for by project staff and by my wonderful host family in El Salto. I came home after my 8 weeks with friends and a continued sense of community from AMIGOS. It was fun to help train the next year's volunteers as well. This is a life-changing experience, and I recommend it to any adventurous young person who has a desire to serve globally and also engage in life-long learning. Oh, and a plus is that you can come home and rock your Spanish class because you're fluent by the end of the summer :)

How can this program be improved?

There were times when we would go 2 weeks without a site visit, which was a little anxiety provoking since our supervisor was responsible for bringing us mail and much needed supplies. If you are in an area with access to stores, it is not as big of a problem. You learn to learn with all the parts of the experience that do not go as planned.

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Oaxaca
Male
32 years old
Berkeley, CA
Other

Amazing program in Mexico with Amigos, no matter the location!

10/10

Seriously one of the best programs I have ever participated in... the positive impact on Oaxacan youth was amazing! Volunteers truly integrated into the host communities, leading educational workshops, fundraising for projects, and supporting youth-led community based initiatives. The connection with host communities was immediate and I loved learning about the strong indigenous roots. Truly one of the best summers of my life. Oaxaca city itself is amazing, and I would love to return back there for a few months if I could!

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Dylan
Male
19 years old
Boulder, Colorado
Other

An Unforgettable and Life-Changing Cultural Exploration of Oaxaca, Mexico

9/10

The two months that I spent living in a small rural village in Oaxaca, Mexico has greatly influenced my life in numerous ways. Firstly, it showed me the privilege that I've had in my life. Whether it was the many showers taken with a bucket of cold water taken from a creek that made me realize that not everyone had hot potable water available to them at any time in in a nice clean warm bathroom; the short walk to the latrine that made me think about the absurdity that I not only have a toilet with water in it, but perfectly potable water nonetheless - in my toilet; spending all day every Sunday laboriously washing my clothes by hand while praising the person who had the good sense to invent washing machines and how spectacular it is to be hooked up to a power line that powers many appliances that do much of the work for you; or whether it was listening to my host dad's stories of the hardships of trying to cross the border into the US in order to make money to send it back to his family in Mexico that made me wonder at my good fortune to be born into a middle class family in the United States, I have gained an appreciation for much of the commonalities and hidden (and not so hidden) privileges in life. Secondly I gained a whole new perspective on different aspects of life: what is it about (money or family?), differences in gender roles between our two cultures (in the village there, woman did do all of the cooking and clothes washing for the whole family and men went to work, both were very involved in their children's development - I met some of the best dad's I've ever known there, and they found it hilarious (but accepted) when I asked to cook with the women of the village), people's goals, family relations, etc.

Now of course, not all of it was peachy. There were moments where I missed my family and friends in the US terribly and longed for heated house and my own bed. There were times that I thought my family in the US would be disappointed with my time there because sometimes, stuff didn't get done as fast as many Americans are used to it getting done. And there were times where all I really craved was some good ol' refined sugar and a hamburger. This however would inevitably pass, and taught me to not take for granted my family and my friends.

Yes, there were tough times, and yes, there were times that I laughed uncontrollably and had huge amounts of fun. In all it was an amazing experience that words cannot completely describe, but one that I wouldn't ever forgo if I had the choice to do it again.

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Adam.Hamilton
Male
19 years old
Boulder, Colorado
Other

An Experience I will Never Forget

10/10

Being an Amigo in Oaxaca, Mexico, was one of the best things I have ever done. I was able to meet people and explore their culture, language and different ways of thinking and living in a way that I would never have been able to do without AMIGOS. This experience widened my perspective and my quest for a deeper understanding of different people.

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Elena
Female
19 years old
Alameda, California
Other

Overall rewarding and positive experience

9/10

I recommended this to all who have an interest in Latin culture, service learning, and leadership.
While I was there we held educational summer camp classes for kids ages 7-12 about nutrition, health, the environment and natural foods.

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skh
Female
19 years old
Madison, WI
Other

Amigos de las Americas in Mexico

10/10

This was an amazing experience. I lived with a host family and got a complete immersion experience. Working with the kids in the community was really rewarding. It was hard because you can't talk to people at home except for once, in the middle of your stay. One staff member, your project supervisor, comes once each week to talk to you about your project, health, and emotional state. They help you with any issues that come up. You have one or two partners, who are also volunteers, in your community to work with.

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cac94
Female
19 years old
Currently in Davis, CA
Other

Amigos changed my life

10/10

Amigos is one of the best things you can do with a summer, and one of the best decisions I ever made. I lived in a rural farming community and really bonded with my host family. I'm still in contact with them, and I think about my experience all the time. I became more independent, mature, and improved my language skills. I highly recommend Amigos to all high school and college students.

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coolkid
Female
19 years old
USA
Other

Amigos experience in Mexico

6/10

I really liked hanging out in my community for the most part, but i didn't feel my time as a volunteer was of value. I was there for 8 weeks and all i feel like i did was hang out. I would have liked to have more volunteer time and less fun. Also the service initiative wasnt anything with which i was involved. All we did was just give them money. I think in a less developed country maybe it would have been better. The staff was great, but i didn't like the actual program, i feel like it wasnt worth 8 weeks of my life. A lot of people really enjoyed the program more than I did though.

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Elyse
Female
19 years old
Portland, OR
Other

A wonderful life experience but harmful to health

6/10

I learned so much by living in Oaxaca and interacting with my community. I learned to love another culture and a lot about living on my own. I had many difficulties throughout the summer, but my biggest was an two-week long illness at the end of the summer. My supervisor was not supportive or helpful with the emotional and physical elements of that. Because of many factors, my sickness intensified and has kept me out of school half-time since last November. I am still struggling to heal and it is May. I am thankful for what I learned last summer, but I lost almost all of my senior year because of it.

About The Provider

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Established in 1965, AMIGOS is an industry leader providing international leadership experiences for youth. We provide high school and college-age volunteers with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the language and daily lives of a host community, bringing that community together to to determine, plan,

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