Ecuador and the Amazon

Social Justice, Indigenous Rights, Ecological Sustainability

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Improve your Spanish as you work alongside community members on community-driven service projects, or enjoy a warm meal of gallo pinto with your host community.

Explore modern social justice and community development issues as you collaborate with indigenous rights organizations – both in the Andes mountains and in the Amazon Rainforest region. Examine the ripple effect of complex social, political, and economic policies on local inhabitants across the socio-economic spectrum.

Bask in the glory of the most biodiverse nation on earth: from the misty mountains of the Andes to the steamy jungles of the Amazon basin. Learn the impact of climate change on each of these regions and see first-hand how decisions we make at home impact these ecological hotbeds a continent away.

"The experience has shaped my life for the better. When I reflect back on my life before the trip, often times I say to my self 'what was I doing?'. Now I use my time more wisely and make smarter decisions. Another plus is that I have acquired a lot of knowledge about myself and the planet, which I plan to use to better my community."
Alum, Ecuador
"Throughout my time with GR, I was able to bring myself to another level of adulthood with this trip. Although it is a broad claim, I see myself changing. Previously, my life was centered on achieving my goals solely, but now I see the effectiveness of a goal or choice that one makes. Now I try to focus on the 'right' motives."
Alum, Ecuador
"Life-changing and eye-opening in the best way possible."
Alum, Ecuador

Focusing the group and laying foundations: 

Spend your first days in the misty mountains of the Andes in the group’s homebase in the countryside surrounding colorful Otavalo. Test out your Spanish bargaining in the world-renowned Otavalo market; hike around the turquoise Lago Cuicocha; build group dynamics and your own cross-cultural skills through immersive activities facilitated by highly trained and caring staff. Enjoy delicious Ecuadorian cuisine and soak in your beautiful surroundings.


Diving Deep:

During the heart of the program you’ll dive deep into social justice issues and innovative solutions being spearheaded by our partner organizations advocating for indigenous rights in the Andes mountains and the Amazon rainforest.

The interests of your group will drive your exploration of social justice and ecological justice as you collaborate with partner organizations and hosts.

The main focus of this portion of the program will be a community service project chosen in conjunction with the community. Past projects have included building a futbol field, constructing a community kitchen, and renovating a community building. You will work alongside community members on the project, getting to know them and the community in the process. Project details will be confirmed in the spring and shared with you on your pre-departure webinar.

When not working on the project, have fun in a pick-up game of football, practice your Spanish with local teens, and spend time with your homestay families. Time with homestay families is almost always the highlight for students on this program!


Final Travel, Reflection, Re-Entry:

Before heading back home, you’ll spend the final days of your experience debriefing and reflecting on everything you’ve learned and discovered, and you’ll explore the lingering questions you still have. You will set personal goals and zero-in on how this experience has informed your future. This is a great time to reflect on your own leadership skills and your own capacity to address some of the poignant social issues you’ve encountered during this experience.

Program Details
July 1-29, 2023
Starting/Ending Point
Learning Goals
Spanish skills, social justice, sustainability leadership, cross-cultural understanding, global competencies, outdoor adventure, service
Service Hours Earned
Language Requirement
None required, but basic Spanish exposure is beneficial
High 85°F, Low 45°F
Group Size
18 students
Spaces Available
Enrolling 2023
Fresh fruits and veggies, beans and rice
Program Fee
International airfare is not included in the tuition. Roundtrip airfare from New York to Ecuador will be between $1,100 and $1,700.
Amazon Rainforest Lodge, Hotels, Guest Houses, Homestays

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