Amigos de las Americas - Panama: Cocle

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, Amigos de las Americas has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

Volunteers
Volunteers
Volunteers with local students
Volunteers with local students
Treats during midterm break
Treats during midterm break
Talking to kids in the community
Talking to kids in the community
Volunteers
Volunteers
Beach time!
Beach time!
Environmental project
Environmental project

About

Promote health, reforestation, and environmental protection by learning from local agencies taking care of the environment by creating nurseries, planting trees, and protecting local water sources. Explore the tropical scenery and the diverse geography of the Coclé region in Panama. You’ll live in an area that is a hydrological reserve, which means that it’s an important source of water for the country and there are many rivers that are popular for swimming. Live with a host family and collaborate with the Panamanian Ministry of Health on your community service project. With your AMIGOS partner(s), plan and lead fun activities for kids to teach them about taking care of the environment. When you’re not working together with community members to improve the environment around you (earning 215 service hours), take a break by playing games with your host family.

You can choose to spend 4 weeks or 6 weeks in Coclé.

Highlights
  • Live like a local with a host family
  • Lead daily activities for local kids
  • Collaborate with community members on an environmental project
  • Improve your Spanish through authentic cultural immersion

New virtual gap year program

AMIGOS & Tufts University just launched a new virtual gap year experience for fall 2020: the Civic Action Gap Semester! Explore social change across the Americas, make an impact through a civic volunteership, engage with your community, and earn college credit.

Questions & Answers

AMIGOS participants for our core summer programs must have at least 2 years of Spanish or the equivalent in order to be eligible for the program. We have a new Discover AMIGOS program for 13-15 year olds and a Gap Program for high school graduates up to age 25. There is no language requirement for those programs.

Reviews

9.62 Rating
based on 21 reviews
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.1
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 8.7
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 8 of 21
Default avatar
Stella
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The impact of AMIGOS

I was a participant during the Cocle 6 week summer program in 2019. It's difficult to sum 6 weeks into one paragraph, but the thing I learned most from AMIGOS is how to approach challenge. I've always been a person that likes to solve challenges by myself or not ask for help; however, AMIGOS changed this–I was pushed to solve obstacles I had never contacted, big and small. I had the freedom to be myself while learning when I needed assistance and when I knew I could accomplish a task, a conversation etc. Now, as I am an incoming college first-year, this skill is evermore important. I feel confident making connections with professors and other students. I also feel comfortable asking questions and being vulnerable in my own skin–a skill I had never developed until AMIGOS.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don't be afraid to be vulnerable. Whether it's talking to a new friend, asking questions, trying new foods, making silly faces, or dancing, getting out of your comfort zone is valuable in your AMIGOS experience and beyond. "When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability... To be alive is to be vulnerable.” –Madeleine L'Engle
Default avatar
Lea
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

AMAZING Experience

My decision to participate in AMIGOS de las Américas was one of the best I've ever made. I spent six weeks living in a rural town in Cocle with one other partner from the United States. During our stay we helped the community build a playground out of recycled materials and taught camps to children after school each day. I made many lasting friendships with community members with whom I continue to text and talk with on the phone to this day. This experience also allowed me to solidly my Spanish fluency - although all levels of Spanish ability can thrive in AMIGOS. I developed many valuable skills during my time in Cocle such as problem solving, cooperation, confidence and independence. The experience was very challenging and pushed me out of my comfort zone but therefore was extremely rewarding. Through AMIGOS I also gained access to a network of alumni and peers and I have continued to return to the organization, first as a vet trainer and then as a member of the National Youth Alumni Council. I am confident that AMIGOS will stay with me for many years to come.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I went swimming in a waterhole below a waterfall with some teenager friends I made in my community!
Default avatar
Megan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Staff Perspective

Working in Cocle, Panama for 2 consecutive summers on the Amigos de las Americas staff team was an absolute dream. It amazes me each and every year how extensively each program is planned, executed and evaluated to make the subsequent projects even better. The maturity and competency of all involved (staff, volunteers, local community support) creates an incredible atmosphere focused on leadership and confidence-building. It is life-changing for all who take part.

Rosalinda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Thank You

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
Mimi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Azuero, Panama

I went to Azuero, Panama as a volunteer in 2011. It was truly life changing and has influenced every part of my life since then. Since being a participant with AMIGOS I have been on staff twice, going on third, my choice of study at university is Community and Regional Development, and I am planning on going into youth leadership, hopefully working abroad. It sparked something in me by allowing me to grow into the leader I am today.
My community was called Los Pintos, it was small about 200 people in the mountains. My host family was a huge challenge for me in the beginning, but it turned into such a beautiful part of my experience. I am a picky eater and have food restrictions which is a difficulty traveling and not wanting to offend anyone, especially when I was 17 and my spanish was not so great. It was hard to work through it but I became flexible and was able to try new things. My host family and I would cook together which is how we became close, they became my family and I became a part of theirs.
The opportunity to work with children and learn how to teach and develop lesson plans was really cool. Our project in our community was establishing a soccer team and we were able to fundraise with the local youth for supplies. Overall- AMAZING. And everyone should participate- knowing it will be one of the most challenging things you can do but also the most rewarding.

Default avatar
PanamaAmigo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Anton, Panama

My summer in a community in Anton, Panama was one I would not trade for the world. There were struggles, just like there would be with any program, but how much I grew and learned (in my leadership and in Spanish) is something I could not have done in any other program. The staff and the International Office's number one priority is your safety. Although this is not a 'vacation' by any means, the values gained by this experience could not be had with another program that is more touristy and 'fun' oriented. When it comes to international volunteering, the most important thing is sustainability, and this program works on that and lets the community take the initiative, which helps it be a successful organization.

What would you improve about this program?
This program has a high cost, and to be able to diversify their volunteer group, they would need to bring down the amount of the program. In addition, I feel there needs to be more training and strictness on rule violations, because there is always too many people who slip through the cracks that tell the stories about how you can get away with it and attract the wrong kind of volunteer to this program.
Default avatar
Ariana
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

My time spent in Panama was amazing, I had a girl and boy partner, and while we did face troubles such as communication and getting the project started, I learned a lot about not only myself, but also the world. I was really forced to grow as a person, and being pushed out of your comfort zone in such a way is really very beneficial.

What would you improve about this program?
The only thing I would say is to maybe give more concrete guidelines as to when things are going to happen, we had a few miscommunications about when supplies were supposed to arrive, or when things were supposed to happen.
Default avatar
elavigne
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Brief Overview of My Experience with Amigos

Amigos is a wonderfully unique program. Most of the volunteers are high schoolers who are looking for overseas service work. Unlike many other service programs, the volunteers do not stay in a large, organized group but rather are split into pairs and sent to live with host families in rural communities. The volunteers have a lot of flexibility in the type of projects they initiate. Several years ago, I spent my sophomore summer of high school with the program in Veraguas, Panama.

My partner and I spent the first few weeks visiting families in the community and talking to them about what sort of project they'd like to see. Eventually we held a town meeting. It was a pretty good turn out- about one hundred people. I was sixteen and all of a sudden I was in front of a classroom of busy community members trying to facilitate a discussion in a foreign language. No doubt, I was very nervous and felt under qualified to be initiating a community wide project. We decided to build a sidewalk around the school so kids would stop slipping in the mud and glass. It took eight weeks but at the end I felt empowered. The community had surprised us with a beautiful despedida. The students coordinated dances and puppet shows. We ended the day with an all night dance festival.

Readjusting to the states was difficult - I missed my host family, my partner, the students. However, I felt more empowered then I had ever been. And that's the point of the program - to empower our generation to get out of the box, build valuable relationships with people and take the initiative to improve our communities. If there was ever a program that built awesome young leaders, Amigos would be it.