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Bonner Partner > Amigos de las Americas

Page history last edited by Erin Aucar 7 years, 9 months ago

Index


Amigos de las Americas


Address

1800 West Loop South

Suite 1325

Houston, TX 77027 

 

Websitehttps://amigosinternational.org/

 

Contact Information

Lead Contact:  Erin Aucar
Contact Phone: (713) 782-5290 ext. 167 
Contact Email: eaucar@amigosinternational.org

 

Organization DescriptionAMIGOS is an international, non-profit organization with over 50 years experience in sending high school and college students to Latin America for community development projects over the summer. Check out our video to gain an idea of what the summer experience is like- https://vimeo.com/136361795

 

       Vision

      A world where each young person becomes a catalyst for social change

             

      Mission

      Amigos de las Américas inspires and builds young leaders through collaborative community development and immersion in cross-cultural experience.

               

     Values

          

  • Leadership by youth
  • Health and safety of our Participants and Project Staff
  • Respect in all of our relationships
  • High quality programs developed with and relevant to the communities we serve
  • Programs that transform both youth and communities

 

Issue Area(s):

  • International
  • Community Development 
  • Youth Leadership 

 

Type(s) of Bonner Partnership Connections:

  • Summer Experience
  • Internship Opportunity
  • Educational Opportunity

 


Service Learning Position


Program Description

 

Spending a summer with AMIGOS means an opportunity to experience full language immersion and cultural exchange while spending 4-9 weeks completing community development initiatives in Latin America. Our programs are not your typical guided trip - they provide an independence for students that challenges them to be leaders and take initiative in a completely new cultural context. Our program participants live with host families and collaborate with US and Latin American peers to design and lead community development projects, earning an average of 30 community service hours per week. Alumni consistently describe the AMIGOS experience as pivotal to their education, career development, and long-term commitment to global community service. AMIGOS offers summer programs in 9 countries of the Americas, however 3 options are specifically geared towards college students. 

 

On the college track, Bonner Volunteers have the option of going to Colombia, Ecuador, or Mexico. Participants are partnered in groups of two or three and provided additional opportunities to learn about local issues.  Volunteers participate in meetings with representatives from local organizations, allowing for the opportunity to gain a more in-depth, hands-on understanding of culture, history, development efforts in the region.  College participants also experience cultural excursions and receive readings about development and project themes, which are discussed in weekly meetings. https://amigosinternational.org/amigos-programs/college/ 

 

This year's program fee is $6,500, which includes international airfare from Houston, all project related expenses, materials, in-country lodging, transportation, and meals. It also includes international medical insurance, training staff, and 24 hour On-Call Emergency system. Most volunteers raise the full amount if they start early, and we will provide you with ways to fund raise that make the program costs obtainable. AMIGOS have worked with the Bonner Scholar program to fund Bonner student’s summer with AMIGOS by working with their school's Bonner director to explore funding options.

 

To become a volunteer, you need to have had at least 2 years of high school Spanish or the equivalency (about 2 college semesters), complete the regional or gateway training, and be a motivated worker willing to socially integrate into Latin American society.

 

Internship Start/End Dates: 4-9 weeks with additional 4 days of training in Houston prior to departure

 

Application Process:  Contact Erin Aucar at eaucar@amigosinternational.org 

 

Began the online application as soon as possible through our website: https://amigosinternational.org/apply/ 

 

Application Deadline: April 15th 

 

Stipend Provided No- all housing, food, travel, and project expenses are provided.

 

Housing Provided? Yes - with host family.

 

Hosted Bonners before- Yes! Many!

 

 


Get Out of Your Element! 


Check out these great links to get excited about a summer or gap year with AMIGOS!

 

The AMIGOS experience as told through a summer's worth of instagram photos! https://amigosinternational.org/somos-amigos-2016/ 

 

How AMIGOS can lead to a lifetime of pursuing your passion and give you great skills to continue to do amazing programs: https://amigosinternational.org/mi-amiga-lauren-antosz-from-amigos-to-fulbright-ambassador/ 

 

Awesome videos made by some of our high school participants who went to the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica '16: 

 

 


Bonner/AMIGOS Volunteer Interview


Profile of an AMIGOS

Volunteer & Bonner Scholar

 

Carlos Lopez

 Senior, Allegheny College

 Neuroscience and Psychology major

 Dance and Movement Studies minor

 AMIGOS Volunteer, Granada, Nicaragua ‘09

 AMIGOS Project Supervisor, Boaco, Nicaragua ‘10

 

 

Q: How did you find out about AMIGOS?

 

A: I first found out about Amigos de las Américas through another Bonner Scholar. We were both searching for volunteer opportunities outside of the United States and we found AMIGOS though the long list of opportunities that partner with the Bonner Foundation.

 

Q: Why did AMIGOS stand out to you?

 

A: AMIGOS has been a partner with Bonner for a long time, and it was one of the more affordable programs that was still 8 weeks. The total cost after help from Bonner was only about $1,500 which AMIGOS helps you fundraise. The Leadership Ladder of AMIGOS was attractive as well, which resulted in my coming back a second year with all expenses paid. AMIGOS also had one of the most progressive models of community development that I had seen when comparing programs.

 

Q: How was your first Volunteer experience and what was was your favorite part about it?

 

A: My first summer as a Volunteer was very interesting.  I had 3 partners which is different from the rest of the group in Honduras where everyone has only one other partner. Because there were more of us, we spread throughout the community which helped us engage the community on a personal level. We all ate dinner and stayed with separate families which helped me connect with the community on my own, apart from my partners which was one of my favorite things to have such a great immersion experience.

One of my favorite projects was one we did with the children from the school. We had all the students submit pictures of what they wanted to paint for a mural on the school at a party we held at someone’s house. Most of the submissions were very national based, so we did an amazing mural of the national bird of Nicaragua, the national flower, and the mountains (Ometepe) which were near the community.

 

 

 

Q: How did you personally benefit from doing AMIGOS?

 

A: First of all, my Spanish improved dramatically, and also my ability to believe in myself, which I think the program does for everyone. I built a lot of self efficacy that first summer. It’s easy to say “oh, I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t go into a place where I hardly speak the language and make a difference.” But at the end of the summer with AMIGOS, you come to realize that you can and have done just that.


Q: What was it like to climb the AMIGOS leadership ladder? Why did you decide to become a Project Supervisor, and how was that experience?

 

A: I worked really hard over the summer as a Volunteer, and at the end of the program, when receiving my final performance evaluation, I was recommended to apply for the Project Supervisor position the next year. As one of the oldest Volunteers, my supervisor was close to my age, and she said to me, “So, Carlos, you’re going to be a Project Supervisor next year… Aren’t you?” Coming back as a supervisor wasn’t something that I originally had on my mind, but after receiving a lot of encouragement and direction from my own supervisor, I came to realize what a great experience it would be for me.

I think that my second year [with AMIGOS], when I was a Project Supervisor was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. My experience as a Volunteer gave me the confidence to be abroad, and my experience as a Project Supervisor overseeing 8 Volunteers taught me so much about Latin America as a whole. I was able to learn so much about the country I was in; I learned how to travel all around Nicaragua. Also the amount of responsibility that was given to me as a Project Supervisor was amazing. AMIGOS is all about leadership, and it was an amazing opportunity to truly be a leader and a mentor to others.

 

It was also great working with the staff team. We were a great group of really strong diverse people, who have all had been AMIGOS Volunteers prior like I had.  No two people were the same, and I learned so much about working with others. I did things such as facilitating and planning events, and it was my first experience where I really realized the importance of details.

 

I feel that I am now a much better public speaker, which was something I was never really good at. I learned to make sure that my objectives are strong how to make sure to accomplish them.  Now I look at everything I do with a new lens and say, “Why am I doing this? What am I trying to accomplish through doing this?”  I am now much more directed in everything I do because of my experience with AMIGOS.

 

Q: Why would you recommend AMIGOS to another Bonner student?

A: AMIGOS is completely in line with the principles of Bonner, such as International Perspective, Diversity, Community Building, and Social Justice.

 

What AMIGOS does is actually realign you with the principles of Bonner. It was a great experience to actually put everything we talk and train about into action. I run an after school program which is very rewarding, but you do not always see the end result of your work. During my summer with AMIGOS, I was able to see the difference that I was making in just a few short months and it was a very refreshing feeling.

 

Q: Do you have plans to continue being involved with AMIGOS?


A: I have successfully climbed the Leadership Ladder of AMIGOS, and this next summer I have applied and been selected to be an Associate Project Director (APD). I would like to go to the Dominican Republic this summer to expand my knowledge of Latin America. I want to continue with AMIGOS. Someday I hope to be a Project Director, which would be such an amazing experience to run an entire program at such a young age.

 

 

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