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Ecuador

 

Note: If you are interested in a program not mentioned here, please ask! We can often set up individualized internships due to our wide array of connections with businesses and organizations in Ecuador.

Ecuador's diverse landscapes and cultures inspire visitors from around the globe. The small country is tucked into the northwestern corner of South America, straddling the Andes. The mountains run north to south dividing the country into three distinct regions and hundreds of microclimates. Quito, the capital, lies in the heart of the highlands in a valley surrounded by glacier topped peaks. The city was founded by the Spanish conquistadores in 1534, but according to the old legends, Quito had been a capital for centuries before the arrival of the Spanish. To the west of Quito, the Andes drop into coastal forests and plains. About 97% of Ecuador's population lives in the highlands and coastal region. In the East, the Andes fall into the sparsely populated Amazon Basin.

 

Ecuador's diverse population is descended from many different groups of indigenous peoples, Spanish and other European colonists, Africans brought to the Americas as slaves, and Asian immigrants. Ecuadorian culture reflects the rich tapestry of customs from all these groups, from the beautifully preserved churches and cathedrals built by Spanish colonists to the traditional dress worn by many indigenous people and the colorful seasonal festivals throughout the country. The country is one of the poorer countries of South America and is facing many developmental challenges. ELI partners with dozens of organizations in Ecuador to give volunteers and interns the opportunity to learn about this beautiful country in depth while giving back to the communities in Ecuador.

Volunteer and Internship Programs

Youth

Youth Programs

Abused Girls/Teens, Special Ed, Therapy and social work

Volunteers and interns interested in physical therapy, working with children with behavioral problems or those needing special attention and/or language therapy are welcome at a facility that works with abused girls. The young patients are victims of a range of mistreatment, from negligence and abandonment to rape. They range in age from under 1 years old to almost 18. Most live in a group home where organizers can ensure their safety and recovery; in appropriate cases, some of the patients are in therapy designed to preserve, improve, strengthen or restore their family ties. This placement offers different options for interns and volunteers based on skills and interest; all of them are a huge opportunity to make a difference in the life of a child in crisis. Placement location: Macas, Tena, Sucua, Cotacachi Cuenca  Questions? Questions? Click here

Coaching/Training, Physical Education, Rehab

Do you play soccer (football,) basketball or volleyball? Do you have any experience in sports injury avoidance and rehab? Can you coach swimmers, runners or field/track athletes? Volunteers and interns interested in sharing their skills and passion for sports are welcome to work alongside staff members who guide local and national athletes of all levels. You will work with a regional organization that oversees athletics and sports development, and your responsibilities could include planning physical preparation and training, helping to organize and coach teams, helping with physical rehabilitation of injured athletes, advising in preventative medicine and injury control/rehab, helping to recruit young talent and help in the management of teams and competitions. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Teaching

Teaching

Use your knowledge of English to help improve the language and conversational skills of children who attend modest schools with limited resources. The kids will be happy to have you in their classroom! The schools are located in and around Macas, Sucua, and Limon Indanza, and you’ll work with kids 4-9 years old and 10-14 years old. Prefer high school level? High schools also welcome your help. Sure, it's less play and more academic, but this is where you can really begin to communicate thoughts and ideas.

In the Andes and Amazon, the school year starts in September and runs until the end of May, and on the coast and in the Galapagos, the school year starts in April and runs through December. This program requires a minimum of a one month commitment and works best if interns can stay for a full school term. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Community Development

Community Development

The economic crisis of the late 1990s affected almost everyone in Ecuador. Today approximately 40% of Ecuadorians still live below the poverty line. We work with several governmental and non-governmental organizations in Ecuador devoted to giving small communities the tools they need to pull themselves from poverty. Possible projects include helping with infrastructure development, urban planning, educational programs, capacity building, and microfinance programs. Participants will work directly with local government office, NGOs and community members. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Animal Rescue

Animal Rescue

Calling all animal lovers! Volunteers live and work in the rescue center of a local zoo, working directly with such exotic wildlife as jaguars, tigrillos, monkeys, sloths, tapirs and a different varieties of birds. Your daily responsibility will include feeding the animals, maintaining their cages, helping with the maintenance and construction of the enclosures as well as clearing the zoo’s walking paths and helping to make the facility a welcome one to animals and their human visitors. This is an exciting opportunity for anyone interested in Ecuador’s stunning biodiversity and the challenges Ecuador’s wildlife faces from habitat destruction, unregulated hunting and poaching. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Medical

Medical

ELI Abroad offers both short-and long term volunteer, intern and Professionals opportunities based on your interests and level of experience. Whether you’re a pre-med, a medical/dental student, or a seasoned pro in your field, ELI’s partner organizations will offer you a relevant and enriching experience that will make a local impact. Opportunities include medical and dental clinics in Macas and Cuenca, facilities that provide free care and health education to communities in need. Or, ask ELI about possible opportunities to intern along with medical and dental staff in the jungles of Ecuador. Our Medical and health programs are designed to be immersive, authentic, comprehensive and provide you everything you’ll need to learn and contribute. You’ll engage fully with a new culture, offer much needed medical help while forging invaluable personal and professional relationships. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Human Rights & Legal

Human Rights & Legal

This is a unique opportunity to join the push for human rights, and to witness how laws respond (or fail to respond) to the needs of disadvantaged communities in Ecuador. Interns help in training and educational seminars and workshops offered to schools and interested communities among the Shuar, the native peoples of Ecuador and Peru. Interns will will attend meetings with local officials, assist staffers draft legal documents, affidavits and minutes at hearings and trials, and interface with the office of President of the Interprovincial Federation of Shuar Centers located in the town of Sucua. Depending on qualifications, interns may also have the opportunity to offer legal advice, assess human rights claims, conduct legal research and widely assist Shuar Center staff. Or, ask us about paralegal opportunities in the field of land rights and land reform, where interns or volunteers can work with indigenous and peasant communities around Cotacachi.

Public Policy/Human Rights

Work with a local government office on rights issues! Interns placed here will help officials at the Rights Protection Council evaluate and monitor public human rights policies to ensure they are compliant with national and international regulations. In addition, interns will assist in coordinating with other agencies and inter-institutional networks specialized in the protection of rights. Priority attention is given to Seniors, Children, Adolescents, Pregnant Women, Persons with Disabilities, Inmates and those suffering from catastrophic or highly complex diseases. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Tourism

Tourism and Travel

Morona Santiago is a designated center of ecological tourism, its natural wonders attracting visitors from around the world. Tourism interns and volunteers will work with local officials, travel agents, tour operators and guides, helping to raise awareness about the region’s environmental riches and the fascinating Shuar culture of its people. Opportunities will include helping to organize expositions and conventions and promoting local tourist attractions. Ask us about travel opportunities you will enjoy as a tourism intern or volunteer in Ecuador! Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Agriculture

Agronomic Cultural Heritage

An exciting opportunity for students or professionals of agriculture, plant genetics, soil science and sustainable farming, this placement focuses on the agricultural efforts within indigenous and peasant communities around Macas, the Andes and the Amazon. You will be placed in an organization dedicated to recovering Andean crops, introducing new farming products and techniques and improving the quality of food and life among the culturally fascinating indigenous populations. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see and interact with communities most tourists never come across. Questions? Click here

Biotechnology in Bovine Reproduction

Learn and gain hands-on experience in Ecuador’s first biotech laboratory working on bovine reproduction. This is an important area of study in Ecuador and many developing nations: making the cattle industry as professional and effective as possible while also focusing on milk production, bovine health and the newest commercial technologies in the field. The lab and its farm is looking for volunteers, interns or professionals in zootechnology and agricultural engineering to help, instruct and promote the lab’s research and everyday efforts. Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Group Trips

Group Trips

Do you have a group that would like to travel together to Ecuador and volunteer? We can customize your program to fit your group's needs! ELI has worked with many groups over the years. The following is a sample itinerary of a one to two week program for groups of up to 10 people. If you're interested in setting something up for your club or group, let us know! Questions? Click here

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Cost & Details

Cost

Length of Program Program Fee
2 Weeks US$954
3 Weeks US$1061
4 Weeks US$1168
5 Weeks US$1275
6 Weeks US$1382
7 Weeks US$1489
8 Weeks US$1596
9 Weeks US$1703
10 Weeks US$1810
11 Weeks US$1917
12 weeks US$2024

Application Fee: $200
The application fee is a separate administrative charge for all programs. It does not apply to the program fee. (Please see our application fee refund policy here)

Credit card payments: Payment by credit card will be assessed a 3.5% surcharge. This is the fee that we will be charged for the transaction. Contact us about alternative forms of payment.

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

What's Included/What's Not

Program Includes:

* Pre-departure information 
* Pick up from the "Old" airport in Quito
* Orientation
* City tour 
* Volunteer Position 
* Accommodation 
* Breakfast and Dinner each day 
*24/7 emergency service

Program Does Not Include:

*Round Trip Airfare
*Return Trip to Airport
*Required Travel and Medical Insurance 
*Travel Within Ecuador

Apply Now

After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Accommodations

Accommodations:

Volunteers in Ecuador stay with local host families. ELI truly believes that this is the best way to fully immerse in another culture and get the most from an international experience. All families are carefully screened and are well-respected members of the community. Host families do not speak English, creating a full immersion environment to help participants improve their Spanish language skills. Participants will have either a private or shared bedroom with secure storage (volunteer must provide own padlock). Bathrooms are shared with the host family. Volunteers will be provided with breakfast and dinner daily.

Start Dates and Airport Pickup

Arrival Dates:

The programs in Ecuador have completely flexible start dates. However, it usually works well if participants can arrive in Quito on a Thursday or Friday. This allows for orientation and getting settled in over the weekend before starting the project on Monday.

In December, we ask that participants not arrive December 23-29. This allows our coordinator to spend the Christmas holiday with her family.

Airport Pick-up:

Most participants will end up flying into Quito’s new airport, Mariscal Sucre International, which is a ways outside of Quito. From there, participates will need to take a shuttle bus found inside the main terminal to the "old" airport. The shuttle bus runs roughly every 30 minutes and costs $8 or so. Our coordinator will have airport pick-up arranged from the "old" airport which is closer to town. The shuttle is much cheaper, and we think, safer then flagging down a taxi to drive you to the old airport or into town. Mariana, the in-country coordinator for Ecuador, will go over this process in more depth about a week before your program start date.

Note: Most flights tend to arrive later in the evening. Please try to arrive before 7PM if possible.

Past Participant Feedback

 

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