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    Amigos de las Americas

    Amigos de las Americas


    • Listing Type: Summer Programs
    • Program Delivery: Residential
    • Destination: Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama
    • Provided By: Independent Provider
    • Session Start: June, July
    • Session Length: Two Weeks, Six Weeks, Four Weeks, Three Weeks
    • Entering Grade: 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, PG, College
    • Gender: Coed
    • Category: Community Service
    • Sub-Categories: Spanish, Environmental Science, Wildlife Conservation
    • Selective: No
    • Ages: 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19+, 19
    • Minimum Cost: $3,000 - $6,999
    • Accreditation: Gap Year Association - Program
    • Career Clusters: Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources
    • Credit Awarded: Yes
    • Meeting: Schedule a Meeting
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    AMIGOS is an international nonprofit, founded in 1965, that inspires leaders through authentic service and immersion experiences. Our vision is a world where all people are lifelong leaders sharing responsibility for our global community.

    AMIGOS offers summer service and immersion programs for ages 13–19 in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Panama.

    •  Costa Rica: Cartago y Caribe
      • Conservation & Climate Justice (2 weeks, no Spanish required) - Explore community efforts to adapt to climate change in Costa Rica! From the mangroves of the Caribbean coast to the cloud forests, we will examine local conservation initiatives that have persisted despite challenges due to a changing climate. We will also dig into the root causes of climate change and how international actions can have a profound effect on local communities. There is no Spanish requirement, but you'll get to use introductory Spanish and take Spanish Classes! 
    • Costa Rica: La Bahia
      • Conservation and Biodiversity (2 weeks, no Spanish required) - Travel to Costa Rica with a group of students to learn about global issues like climate change, conservation, and preserving endangered wildlife! Earn 24 service hours while you do hands-on community service with local organizations and visit nature conservation sites. Explore Costa Rica's beautiful Pacific beaches and immerse yourself in the tropical forest of the Brunca Region.
    • Costa Rica: La Brunca
      • Sustainable Development (3 weeks, Spanish required) - From farming and coffee growing to conservation and wildlife corridors, explore how local communities in southern Costa Rica practice sustainable development. Volunteer with women-led community organizations that are transforming the buffer zones of protected areas! Stay at a nature reserve and a lodge in the rolling hills of the Brunca region! Immerse yourself by living with a host family and learning how farmers support conservation.
    • Costa Rica: Los Santos
      • Food Justice: Coffee & Communities (6 weeks, Spanish required) - Explore different farming practices in Costa Rica from the mountains to the valleys. What impact does international demand for Costa Rican coffee have on local communities? What does local food production have to do with agroforestry practices? From cultivation to consumption, dive deep into food systems by learning from communities in Costa Rica. Live with a host family and immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture.
    • Costa Rica: Montanas y Mar
      • Conservation and Biodiversity (2 weeks, no Spanish required) - Experience the abundant biodiversity that Costa Rica offers and contribute to its protection! Explore ecosystems, sea turtle protection, and natural resource management all while volunteering with local environmental conservation initiatives. Spend time on the coast near Marino Ballena National Park and in the rolling hills near Chirripo National Park.
    • Costa Rica: Olas y Cerros
      • Conservation & Climate Justice (3 weeks, Spanish required) - Explore community efforts to adapt to climate change in Costa Rica! From sea turtle protection on the Caribbean coast to the cloud forests in Valle Central, you'll get hands-on with local conservation projects. Dig in to the root causes of climate change and how international actions affect local communities. And, get to know Tico culture by living with a host family on the Caribbean coast! 
    • Costa Rica: Pezeta
      • Community Entrepreneurship & Conservation (2 weeks, Spanish required) - Experience the incredible biodiversity that Costa Rica has to offer on the Pezeta Project! Spend your time abroad getting to know your host family in a rural community surrounded by lush green plants and the chatter of tropical birds. You’ll volunteer at an environmental conservation reserve and visit community entrepreneurship initiatives to learn how they approach conservation efforts.
    • Ecuador: Chimborazo
      • Youth Entrepreneurship (6 weeks, Spanish required) - High in the Andes mountains, immerse yourself in the life of rural Ecuador. During your time in the community, you might learn to harvest potatoes alongside your host dad or help your host sister milk the family's cows. Throughout the summer, volunteer alongside Ecuadorian students to develop and support entrepreneurship and community development initiatives.
    • Ecuador: La Sierra
      • Indigenous Rights and Food Security (3 weeks, Spanish required) - How does the popularity of superfoods impact resources, water, and food sovereignty in Andean communities? Travel to the highlands of Ecuador to explore food security and justice in rural indigenous farming communities. Meet local leaders, food producers, and youth making an impact on food systems in the region.
    • Ecuador: Santa Elena 
      • Youth Empowerment (4 weeks, Spanish required) - 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.
    • Panama: Coclé
      • Community Health (4 weeks, Spanish required) - Explore the intersection of environmental protection and community health in the heart of Panama! Promote healthy living, climate-friendly environmental practices, and mosquito-borne illness prevention by learning and working alongside locals and the Ministry of Health. Explore the tropical scenery and the diverse geography of the Coclé region in Panama.
    • Panama: El Pacifico
      • Intro to Service Abroad (2 weeks, no Spanish required) - Travel to Panama with a group of students to learn about environmental issues like conservation and preserving endangered wildlife! From exploring beaches for turtle eggs to hiking through nature reserves, you'll earn 24 service hours. See how local youth are getting involved with issues they care about. Enjoy Panama's unspoiled Pacific beaches and immerse yourself in the tropical forests of the Veraguas Province. This project is for middle school students ages 13 and 14.
    • Panama: Tierras Altas
      • Stewardship and Sustainable Harvests (3 weeks, Spanish required) - Explore the Panamanian highlands near the Costa Rican border! This region produces most of the food for the whole country. Learn about sustainable environmental practices through community service activities on organic farms, compost plants, and community gardens. Live with a host family and enjoy the pastoral scenery in your host community.
    • Panama: Valle y Veraguas
      • Community-Driven Conservation (3 weeks, Spanish required) - Head to Panama this summer to explore how local communities conserve the country's unique plants and wildlife! Spend a week in the Valle de Anton, supporting reforestation efforts and working at an orchid conservation center. Next, travel to a quiet town on the Pacific coast that's home to a sea turtle protection project and live with a host family. Enjoy the pristine coastline and do hands-on volunteer activities that help make the area safer for the sea turtles that nest and hatch there.

    Reviews (15)

    • It was an amazing and...
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      Reviewed on Aug/03/2023 by Arianna Flores

      It was an amazing and unforgettable experience, something I have never experienced in my life. Not only did I learn new things from my country Ecuador but I also learned about my myself and focused on my development. I love how we connected with the comunities, by helping with their harvests, working in their greenhouses, participating in activities that involvr children, doing bionconstruction and also by bonding with our host families. I never would have thought that I wolud interact a lot with people that come from different cultures, and with their own unique personalities, I am happy that I could bond with them. I will definitely love to experience something like this again

    • On the Panama Cocl'e trip...
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      Reviewed on Jul/24/2023 by Liam French

      On the Panama: Cocl'e trip, a volunteer will experience full language and cultural immersion. Not only will a you vastly improve your spanish, but you will become a son to your host parrents, a brother to your host siblings, aswell as volunteers within your community, and an honorary member of whatever community you are in. The people in community sincerely care about you as everyone is so interconnected. The only downside to the trip is the trip description which happened to be misleading as there was no community health aspect of the trip.

    • The lovely land of lakes and volcanoes
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      Reviewed on Sep/03/2021 by JC Santovenia

      If you are looking for a challenge, finding yourself, your goals and fuel (motivation), making life-lasting relations, and experience the amazing culture and hospitality of a beautiful country while you explore and appreciate nature, great lakes, and active volcanoes, stop thinking about it and come to the Nicaragua program. You will discover colonial cities and unique mixed cultures within the country. Going to excursions to natural reserves, canyon trips, and waterfalls and appreciate the flora and fauna of a tropical land while you learn about renewable energies and the potential that Nicaragua has in this area from the voice and knowledge of tops of the experts and partner organizations working in this area. Also, you will have the opportunity to engage with locals that will be as excited as you to talk, teach and learn and create amazing bonds and friendships. As a Program Coordinator in this program, I felt really proud of myself, my team, and the volunteers we were working with and very happy to show my country and its culture while we all learn and live as a big family and awaken our leadership and many other skills. You will definitely get out of your comfort zone and the only thing you will regret is not coming.

    • Ecuador La Costa, learn about climate change & have lots of fun
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      Reviewed on Sep/02/2021 by Jos

      The province of Manabi where la Costa Program mainly takes place has been hit by El Nino natural phenomenon in 2008, which affected the communities greatly. El Nino produced massive rainfalls and this led to landslides due to the deforestation that had being going on for decades. Many community-based environmental organizations formed and reforestation initiatives arose. In 2016 the province also suffered from an earthquake and since then there were different movements to support natural construction with bamboo, for being earthquake resistant and sustainable, as well as typical from the area. This context makes this region a great place to learn about climate change, and how communities overcome natural disasters.

      At this project volunteers stay in a permaculture farm, and visit 2 other farms. With all of these experiences, volunteers get exposed to permaculture, organic agriculture, sustainable cattle ranching, natural construction and so on. Volunteers interact and work hand in hand with several youth led organizations that are working towards various environmental initiatives, such as beach clean ups, turtle conservation, the study of the tropical dry forest, etc.
      We also did plenty of fun activities, like salsa dancing, handicrafts, chocolate making, etc
      In Puerto Lopez we took a boat trip to an amazing natural preserve where you can see various animals typical to the Galapagos Islands, like the blue-footed and red-footed boobies, frigate birds, green turtles and mantas rays.
      On the way there we saw humpback whales, it was the most incredible experience I've had. At some point there were 4 to 5 whales surrounding our boat, doing turns and just playing around for about 30 min. It was spectacular to see them so close, realizing how big and imponent they are.

      On this day we learn a lot about conservation of fauna.

    • Discover AMIGOS Costa Rica was really fun and filed with nature
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      Reviewed on Aug/16/2021 by Jasper

      When I was 14, I went on the Discover AMIGOS program in 2019. I spent two weeks on the coast and in the mountains of Costa Rica. We spent the first week at a sea turtle sanctuary working on nesting sites and then spent a week with a host family and volunteering at a local school. The whole experience was so interesting and the best part was being in Costa Rica and seeing the amazing amount of bio diversity and wildlife there. There were birds, lizards, frogs, iguanas, monkeys and butterflies as big as your face everywhere and everyone in Costa Rica was really connected to nature and protecting it. The staff were kind and the people of Costa Rica were super welcoming. I would recommend this project for anyone who wants to travel, see something fresh and different and enjoys being in nature. I want to go back to Costa Rica again and travel to more new places.

    • My Amazing Summer in the Dominican Republic
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      Reviewed on Sep/01/2020 by Caroline

      My Amigos experience was one that I will never forget. I like to describe this program as an immersion program because the focus is on creating lasting connections and friendships with people in a different country and immersing yourself into a new culture. I remember stepping off the bus into the community of Juancho, my home for the month, and wondering what I had gotten myself into. However, a few second later, my host mom came and gave me a big hug and told me how excited she was for the summer. This small gesture made such an impact on me and from then on I jumped head-first into one of the best experiences of my life. I spent my month running camps for little kids, playing volleyball with the local teenagers, working on the community project, and bonding with my host family. I grew to be a stronger leader and found myself becoming much more confident in myself. At the end of my trip all I wanted was to stay longer. Through this program, I met some of the most creative, innovative, and hard-working people, both in the communities and in the Amigos program. Amigos is completely unique to anything I had every done before and I am so glad I did it!

      If you have the opportunity to participate in an Amigos program, make sure you take full advantage. When you first get to the country, you are most likely going to be very nervous, like I was. But I learned that the best way to get over your nerves is to jump straight it. Regardless of your Spanish skills, introduce yourself to new people, take charge, and don't wait for others to direct you. Lastly, don't let your fear of what could happen stop you from going outside of your comfort zone and having an amazing time. This can be a life-changing, eye-opening experience if you take a leap of faith and don't second-guess yourself. You got this!

    • Transformational summer in Mexico
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      Reviewed on May/16/2017 by Jessica

      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.

    • A great program for great people.
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      Reviewed on Mar/29/2017 by Thomas

      Amigos de las Americas is a very unique experience, to say the least. I chose to participate in this program and continue to love it for the depth of cultural immersion which it provides, which I have never seen rivaled by any other program. The program places you in a small community in Latin America with a host family where you, officially, are there to realize a community development project and host after-school activities with the community's children. However, unofficially, you also dedicate yourself to the project of observing, learning from, misunderstanding, occasionally being confused and frustrated by, and finally appreciating another culture, as well as improving your communicative Spanish, and developing personal friendships (which is perhaps the most noble cause of all). The experience is versatile and can be drastically impacted by the nature of your host-country, host-community, and host-family. All of this culminates in an extremely unique experience. As a participant I was guided all the way by a wonderful supervisor, who provided me with excellent one-on-one mentorship. Personally, I returned to my original host-community, where I lived for several years. Whatever motivates you to do this program, it will certainly provide you with the rich simulation that a developing mind needs. It opened a new chapter in my life and gave me the opportunity I needed to change into a better person. It takes a lot of bravery to sign up for this program, but I highly recommend it.

    • Take charge of your summer (and your life!)
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      Reviewed on Mar/24/2017 by Ben

      I was a volunteer in the summer of 2013 in Azuay, Ecuador, where I lived in an Indigenous community high up in the Andes. My community was a bit different from neighboring Mestizo communities, which allowed me and my partners to immerse ourselves in a culture that not many outsiders get to experience. We completed a CBI (Community Based Initiative) project in collaboration with community members, and also facilitated workshops with kids in the community which was a lot of fun. My time with AMIGOS drastically improved my Spanish as well as my leadership skills such as fundraising, organization, and facilitation. I attribute my success in college to AMIGOS, and I feel like I am a very independent and goal-oriented person today because of my volunteer experience. AMIGOS is such an incredible organization because of the amount of freedom it gives high school students and its incredible support network in the US and Latin America. I cannot say enough good things about this organization, and I owe much of the person I am today to my volunteer experience and am forever grateful to AMIGOS for allowing me to take charge of my own life!

    • Transformative Experience
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      Reviewed on Mar/23/2017 by Kathryn

      I volunteered with AMIGOS the summer of 2013 in Madriz, Nicaragua and it was truly one of the most rewarding and formative experiences I have had. Volunteering with AMIGOS had such a positive impact on me that I have since volunteered with my local chapter of AMIGOS as a trainer and this summer I am going to be a Project Supervisor for the project in Yucatan, Mexico. AMIGOS sets itself apart from other similar organizations in that it truly engages the people in the communities involved so that they have leadership over the projects happening within their communities. Also from the viewpoint of the volunteer, AMIGOS provides an amazing community and support system and at the same time allows each volunteer to have a great deal of independence while they are in community. Volunteers are placed in communities with one or two partner volunteers and asked to collaborate with the community to plan and complete a project (that could be anything from a trash disposal system to community gardens) and teach after school camps with the children in the community. There are not many programs that allow for the level of true emersion into another culture that AMIGOS provides. AMIGOS is an organization that leaves both host community and volunteer feeling like they have gained something valuable from the experience.

    • AMIGOS will be the best decision you ever make!
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      Reviewed on Mar/20/2017 by Emily

      If you are reading this, you probably have figured out by now that there are hundreds of volunteer programs out there for high school students. Some promise to help you learn another language. Others boast about the number of service hours you will receive by the end. It's easy enough to read about what makes each organization different, but quite challenging to decipher what exactly makes one BETTER than another. Whatever your goal may be for participating in a summer program, whether it be a resume boost, a way to immerse yourself abroad, or otherwise, you can be sure that volunteering with AMIGOS will provide you with an unparalleled opportunity to transform your worldview in a way that cannot be articulated through facts listed on a website. AMIGOS strives to make a sustainable impact abroad-- it's not about building something that may fall into disrepair months later, but rather the organization provides the platform through which the most unlikely of friendships are formed, where students and communities form bonds that leave neither group the same thereafter, and where youth from different cultures learn from each other in collaboration on community projects.
      DO AMIGOS!!!!!!!!!!!

    • My (Amazing) Experience with Amigos
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      Reviewed on Mar/14/2017 by Rachel

      I was a participant with Amigos when I was sixteen years old, and the lessons have stayed with me more than five years after. I spent two months in Paraguari, Paraguay in a rural community of a little over 1,000 people. I learned about myself and the world outside of my own. Along with a partner, I supported the community in constructing sixteen latrines and hosted camps about hygiene and environmental health with the community school children. I lived with a host family that gave meaning to the word "hospitality" and grew in my ability to lean in to the moments of discomfort that come with learning a new culture. I gained abundant confidence in my Spanish that has overflowed into my ability to grasp other languages as well. The immense stress on sustainability and community oriented growth has shaped my mentality toward development to this day. In all honesty, I believe it has played a major role in my collegiate career and life goals. In a globalizing world, I cannot imagine a greater skill than cultural competence. And that is only one of which you will grow in doing this program!

    • AMIGOS changed my life
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      Reviewed on Jan/02/2017 by Adriana

      AMIGOS gave me the leadership skills to tackle anything. I think through this trip I was able to build so many skills that many teenagers don't have the chance to gain at such a young age. I was able to stay in contact with all the people I met along the way, and have managed to stay involved with AMIGOS for the last 2 years since my summer in 2015. I think anyone is capable of making a difference this summer with AMIGOS. The experience is so rewarding and unforgettable.

    • AMIGOS is an amazing opportunity...
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      Reviewed on Jan/16/2015 by Cat

      AMIGOS is an amazing opportunity for youth to get hands on leadership and community development experience. I was first a participant with AMIGOS is the Dominican Republic in 2008 and have been involved ever since. AMIGOS gives young people the unique opportunity to make connections with people of different ages, nationalities and backgrounds. AMIGOS also gives its past participants many ways to stay involved in the community through working with the local chapters, getting involved in participant training and working for AMIGOS over the summer in Latin America. AMIGOS truly changes lives - of our participants, families, staff and Latin American counterparts.

    • I was first a volunteer...
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      Reviewed on Jan/14/2015 by Lauren

      I was first a volunteer with Amigos Panama '04 and Mexico '05. 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 in my life.


    • A summer spent with Amigos de las Americas is a summer that you'll never forget. I had such an amazing time. I went for one of the longest programs and I think I could've stayed for another month or two. Everybody was so positive, not just in my community but the AMIGOS staff as well. It was infectious! I had never done anything like it before; I'd never left my parents for more than a week, but stepping out of my comfort zone really helped me grow and become more confident as a person.

      - Claire, Participant in Panama Summer 2016 - September 21, 2016