• Mexico
    • Oaxaca
Financial Support
Need-based funding, 529 Plan eligibility
Health & Safety

Program Details

Host Family Hostel
Jan 09, 2019
May 16, 2017
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About Program

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.

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

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Program Reviews

4.73 Rating
based on 15 reviews
  • 5 rating 86.67%
  • 4 rating 0%
  • 3 rating 13.33%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.55
  • Support 4.6
  • Fun 4.4
  • Value 4.55
  • Safety 4.55
Showing 1 - 8 of 15 reviews
Yes, I recommend this program

Impactful summers, leadership ladder

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.

58 people found this review helpful.
Yes, I recommend this program

Do it!!

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.

What would you improve about this program?
I believe it could be improved by making it more affordable or including a lot more scholarships
58 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Yucatan, Mexico

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.

59 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Mexico: Not easy, but well worth it!

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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!
58 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

A Summer Well Spent

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.

50 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Eleven Years with Amigos

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
53 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Personally and professionally life-changing

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 :)

What would you improve about this program?
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.
51 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

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

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!

59 people found this review helpful.

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