Amigos de las Americas

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9.6 / 10 after 6 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings

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Hi! I'm Meg Radunich, and my volunteer experience with AMIGOS de las AMERICAS was one of the most valuable ventures I had as a young person. I went as a 17 year-old -- most volunteers are in high school or college -- and found my 8 weeks in Guanajuato to be both challenging and rewarding.

Why you should do AMIGOS!

1. Life-Long Friendships: I still keep in touch with my fellow vols and site supervisors. You also make friends with other local volunteers in your chapter. Even if you are assigned to different countries, they are an invaluable support when you return and you miss being in the field, speaking Spanish, feel like no one 'gets' you, and you miss being an amigo :)

2. The fundraising is do-able: The program really helps you sell the walnuts and grapefruit to fund the trip. Also, you'll be surprised by how much people want to help make this trip possible for you! People are very generous with donations. The fundraising was not as hard as I thought it would be.

3. You LEARN SPANISH: Seriously. You learn to survive. My host family was extremely patient and supportive as I picked up the language throughout the summer. By the end I was completely conversant, making it that much easier to foster real, lasting relationships with the locals in my community.

4. Volunteers get A LOT of flexibility and power over projects/project management: It's one of the only programs who really lets volunteers (ages 16 - college) really take ownership of their experience. If you want to teach a class at the local school, you can do that. If you want to organize a health seminar for the community, you can do that. The program seeks to empower young people, and that is not just lip service.

5. Self-discovery, personal challenge: AMIGOS taught me life-long skills. You find a deeper sense identity, as a citizen of the United States and your place in the world at large. I learned the value of serving and learning from others who are different than I am. My time as an AMIGOS vol helped me better understand my worldview and set me up personally and professionally for future opportunities.

Bottom Line: I recommend AMIGOS to any young person interested in personal growth and lifelong friends. Love, love this program!

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 31, 2013
Overall:
8
Support:
7
Value:
8
Age:
27

Amigos is different from other organizations because of the extensive training, excellent feedback system, passionate people, asset-based community development, partner organizations, length of trips, safety, alumni networks, immersion, and food. If you're in high school or college, you should seriously doing this. I'm not sure any other organization has such high satisfaction ratings.

I did Amigos because I kept finding myself afraid to take risks. I understood how beneficial it can be to just go for it sometimes and get out of your comfort zone, but I never wanted to, whether it was meeting new people, trying something out for the first time, or even raising my hand in class. The way I looked at it, Amigos would be the biggest challenge and biggest risk I would ever take, so afterwards there would be nothing I couldn't do.

It worked and changed my life. The other volunteers that I trained with during the year and the ones I met in Nicaragua make up one of the most loving and lasting communities I'm part of. My host family, consisting of my host parents and three sisters and a brother ages 18 to 24, are now my second family, and I call them at least twice a month. I learned how to be a leader, how to be confident, how to speak Spanish well, how to make people laugh, how to laugh at myself, how to play soccer in rain boots, how to call the chickens to the yard, how to be truly thankful, how to think about myself, how to speak in public, how to make kids excited about learning, and how to explain to somebody who has never seen a computer before how to click and drag. Great food, great people, great challenges, and great pay offs. You learn so much more when you're a little bit out of your comfort zone, and Amigos teaches that in a way that's so organic and natural and intuitive.

On my last day in community, we had a going away party in the school, and talked in Spanish, in front of everybody, off the top of my head about how grateful I was to have lived there for the past 7 weeks and how much I had learned and how I wanted to come back and buy a farm and be their neighbors. At the time it was a joke, but if you do Amigos, I guarantee there will be times when all you want to do is wake up to chickens and Spanish and good smells.

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Posted: March 11, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Pablito
Age:
18

Amigos is the most amazing program out there. i just went to nicaragua at the age of 16 and i was a truly life changing experience. Amigos has been around for over 40 years; in fact, my father did it multiple times as a teenager. you raise money and go through an amazing training program conducted by staff and past volunteers for the 5 months before you go, and it is so much fun. the staff and structure of the organization are superb, in fact, i was hospitalized during my stay, and things were taken care of just as they were supposed to be. i always had someone with me and my family was informed in an appropriate manner. but in no way did my hospitalization reflect badly on Amigos or my experience. my host family was carefully chosen by the program and they were loving and kind and still feel like my second family. my partner and i taught in the elementary school, worked in the clinic, and conducted a community project of building a wheelchair ramp to the clinic. one of the special things about amigos is that as volunteers, we worked with the community to figure out what was needed and put those ideas into action, not just busting in and deciding that we would build houses or whatever without any regard to the desires of the community. unfortunatly, this is the way that many international volunteer organizations work, and i am happy to say that Amigos is a different animal. i plan to stay involved with amigos and i want to do training work next year and perhaps go to a country as a supervisor later.
i highly recommend amigos de las americas as a genuine multicultural experience. i have so many friends in nicaragua that i am just aching to go back and see. it is an experience that will change your life and shape how you see the world for the rest of your life.

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Posted: May 3, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

best time of my life....simple breakdown you raise the money to go volunteer and live in a host country in latin and south america . many cities have chapters set up to help volunteers fundraise and prepare....great time met amazing people it was life changing.......pura vida!

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Location:
Posted: February 24, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

best experience of my life. you'll never meet any one who did this program who says otherwise. If you are between 16 and 20ish, then i am telling you that you will never have another opertunity like this one to fall in love and belong to a different family. just do it!

Program:
Location:
Posted: October 6, 2009
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

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