Jungles, snow-capped volcanoes, beautiful beaches and colonial cities make travel to Ecuador an exquisite South American excursion. Astounding cultural and natural diversity overflows – the beautiful Amazon Rainforest, the intricate eco-unique Galapagos Islands (made famous by Charles Darwin) – Ecuador has so much to offer interns, world travelers and nature lovers. With IFRE's internship in Ecuador program, the memorable opportunity exists to reach beyond the exciting opportunity to help local children, citizens and quaint communities, towards beauty and mystique!

IFRE’s Ecuador internship program is based in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. It was founded in 1534 on the ruins of an ancient Inca city and is located 15 miles from the Equator at an altitude of about 10,000 feet. Today, two million people live in Quito. It was the first city to be named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 (along with Krakow in Poland). Quito is a fun place to explore offering numerous museums and urban parks as well as delicious restaurants and an exciting nightlife.

To get a head-start on your Ecuador internship program, take a few moments to contact us by email for more information, including travel dates, fees and more. We look forward to hearing from you.


Internship programs start on the following (first and third Monday of each month)

IFRE is a 501(c)3 organization, so your program fee will be tax deductible. IFRE Interns is proud to offer an extensive assortment of programs at very reasonable prices (and may rank “best priced and best value” among the many internship abroad organizations in the USA/Europe/New Zealand). Our programs are now more affordable than ever. We are proud to focus on the humanitarian aspect of our business, not the profit. We work very hard and smart to keep costs down, especially for you the intern, as we know the value of your donated time and efforts. We remain devoted to maintaining both the quality of the program and the safety of all interns involved. Below is a brief summary of the program fee and services that IFRE Interns offers.

IFRE fees comprise of two separate fees. An application fee of $349 USD (covers advertising, staff/office expenses, etc.) and a nominal weekly program fee (covers room/board, insurance, field support, etc). You can visit the following link for details on fees and dates:

http://www.ifrevolunteers.org/ ecuador/volunteer_in_ecuador.php#price

Additional costs for interns:

International flights, visa application/extension, daily personal expenses on beverages/entertainment daily transportation, laundry, telephone, immunizations.


Internship in ECUADOR

Growing poverty, lack of education and limited governmental support exacerbate the present problem of street children and orphans in Ecuador. There are numerous orphans in areas all around Ecuador – including major cities such as Quito. Many organizations have established a number of orphanages throughout Ecuador - realizing the help and support required to address this problem. The majority of orphanages in Ecuador strive to offer shelter/homes, education and a caring atmosphere for these multiplying orphans.

IFRE is in great need of Ecuador orphanage project interns who are willing to share their time, efforts and personal skills and (most importantly) love for the good and betterment of these children. Depending on individual skills and interests, interns may act as mentors and companions, helping children with their homework and teaching English, but your love and support are the most important elements for these disadvantaged children. Many interns joining orphanage Ecuador program as life changing and rewarding. This is the perfect project if you want to serve humanity or share your love, passion and time with children deprived of their parents’ love and care.


Beginner to intermediate knowledge of Spanish is preferred, but not required. If you cannot speak Spanish, we suggest you enroll in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding – both for you and for the children you are helping. There are no specific qualifications needed to join IFRE's internship orphanage project in Ecuador. However, interns are expected to be flexible and patient, as well as possess a passion and love for orphans.


In IFRE's Orphanage Project in Ecuador, interns will assist orphaned children in various ways – teaching English and/or Spanish, organizing games, assisting the orphanages' staff in feeding and caring for these orphans or simply being a positive companion. Interns also help in the developing creative programs such as art, music, dance and even recreational activities such as various sports. Additional assistance is needed for planning of day trips, education on issues of personal hygiene, cooking and meal preparation as well as helping with various administrative duties.


Children are living on the streets of Quito. IFRE collaborates with numerous organizations within rural and urban communities to provide much needed assistance to the growing number of street and/or at-risk children in Ecuador – street children center, children hostels, adolescent and infant care centers, etc. Street children and at-risk children interns can help the children who come from very low-income families who are not always able to adequately provide for their children. Some of these children have mothers/fathers in prison or have abandoned in addition to other social difficulties preventing them from living a productive and safe life.

Interns are needed to assist these pre-existing organizations with their noble efforts to provide some hope and improve the living conditions of these children. Depending on personal skills and interests, interns can teach English, music, mathematics, computer skills, assist in cooking and serving meals to the children, educating the children in issues of personal hygiene/sanitation, ensuring they complete their homework – simply spending quality time with these often-abandoned children makes a significantly positive impact. Another strongly rewarding contribution is helping to reintegrate these children into society – laying the groundwork for them to be happy, well-adjusted and productive members of society.


Beginner to intermediate knowledge of Spanish is preferred, but not required. If you cannot speak Spanish, we suggest you enroll in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding – both for you and for the children you are helping. No specific qualifications are required to join the street children's project in Ecuador. However, interested individuals should have a passion and eagerness to help less fortunate children, as well as have a strong personality to deal with these children's often unfortunate situations and demeanors.


Interns with skills and/or a background in child psychology and Spanish fluency have an amazing advantage – ensuring the highest level of contribution and effective interaction. Yet, while these skills are welcomed, they are not required of interns wanting to participate in this particular project.


There is a high demand for English education in Ecuador, yet proper English instructors can be costly and scarce. A solid fluency in English offers many elevated opportunities for Ecuadorians. In partnership with various local schools, IFRE strives to provide English education (primarily conversational English) in local schools. Internship teaching English projects in Ecuador are located in both rural and urban communities. Interns usually work as teachers in either private or public schools at either the elementary or the high school level – promoting and polishing Ecuadorian students' English-speaking skills.


Beginner to intermediate knowledge of Spanish is preferred, but not required. If you cannot speak Spanish, we suggest you enroll in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding – both for you and for the children you are helping. No specific qualifications are required to join the teaching English project in Ecuador. However, interested individuals should have a passion and desire to teach younger children (and occasionally teenagers) and be comfortable fulfilling the role of English-instructors and/or teachers' aides. All interns are encouraged to be flexible, patient and adaptive.

A dress code is required for all participants – no shorts or sleeveless shirts are to be worn and interns must maintain a presentable appearance (i.e. no excessive tattoos or piercings). Interns should be eager to teach and care for these children. Interns should have a basic understanding of the Spanish language in order to work effectively within these school-based projects.


Interns in Ecuador’s teaching English projects either teach or assist in the teaching of classes at various educational levels – kindergarten, elementary and high school. If experience or knowledge warrants, other areas of education may be taught, like Art, Physical Education, Mathematics or specialty classes like Music or Computer Skills. Interns’ help is also needed with organizing of extracurricular activities as well enlightening the children regarding issues of sanitation and personal hygiene. Classes will usually be held Monday through Friday. Interns are encouraged to use a number of interactive methods to aide in the teaching of English, including: flash cards, singing songs, etc. We believe education in general is the key to enabling this South American country to rise from the dredges of poverty, so your internship contributions reach further than just the student you directly influence.


IFRE's Medical/Healthcare Project in Ecuador is the ideal project for anyone considering a career in the healthcare and/or nursing field as well as individuals interested in the subject of alternative medicine. Within this program, interns make a genuine contribution to staff working within Ecuador’s hospitals, health clinics and NGOs. Interns are needed throughout Ecuador to assist the populations residing in the poorest urban and rural areas.

Healthcare interns in Ecuador can expect to reach far beyond their “know-how” of training (no matter how in-depth or basic), but can also anticipate sharing their proactive attitudes, enthusiasm and natural abilities. The citizens of Ecuador face shortages of supplies and resources as they battle various diseases thought obsolete or remedied in western countries. There are limited flu shots and things as simple as antibiotics are in short supply. Medical/healthcare interns are greatly welcomed in these projects to share their time, knowledge, skills and support with the almost-crippled and ever-so-demanding healthcare industry of Ecuador.

Interns will be involved in the daily procedures of medical centers – observing or directly providing various sorts of assistance to existing doctors and nurses. Interns may also be expected to assist in maintaining files, providing assistance to the reception desk as well as in nurseries, routine patient check-ups, and more.


Beginner to intermediate knowledge of Spanish is preferred. If you cannot speak Spanish, we suggest you enroll in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding – both for you and for the children you are helping. Interns/interns who are interested in joining our internship health program must possess healthcare certification, such as an ID as a medical student, EMT, paramedic certification, nursing or physician's credentials. We do not permit interns without medical credentials to work in this program due to the potential risk. The hospitals require a copy of your resume, clearly documenting credentials and education, before your arrival to the project. Projects will also require an official copy of your credentials.


Job responsibilities for medical project interns/interns in Ecuador vary dependent on education, skills, experience and qualifications and on the community’s current needs. Interns/Interns are not permitted to perform major exams or surgeries. Most often interns help doctors or work as their assistants. As a medical intern in Ecuador, you could be placed in a large hospital or small rural health center.

Interns can expect to collect patients’ vital statistics: blood pressure, body temperature, record patients' height, weight, etc. Interns may also provide much-needed assistance in various “health camps,” distribute medication, provide tips to patients regarding proper health, nutrition, personal hygiene, sanitation as well as providing general counsel to in-need Ecuadorians. Qualified participants may also assist in treating minor wounds and ailments as well as record-keeping. Most of the hospitals (regardless of size) have many departments: Emergency, Gynecology, Pediatrics, Gastroenterology, Infectious Diseases, Hematology, Endocrinology, Oncology, Internal Medicine, Clinical Pathology, etc. so an intern may be placed in any department, but skills/qualifications will also be considered.


TIFRE collaborates with a number of pre-established health clinics, non-profit organizations and government agencies addressing the issue of HIV/AIDS in Ecuador. The organizations, based in Quito, focus on creating and facilitating HIV/AIDS awareness information to the citizens and sex-trade employees of Ecuador.

This program provides technical support (both programmatic and organizational) to active local awareness partners. Interns support the mobilization of key populations, lobby HIV prevention issues to local and national decision-makers and create public awareness about sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally, interns offer counseling and testing services for key populations. HIV/AIDS interns in Ecuador mostly contribute to creating public awareness and perpetuating the current, established program.


Beginner to intermediate knowledge of Spanish is preferred, but not required. If you cannot speak Spanish, we suggest you enroll in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding – both for you and for the children you are helping. No specific qualifications are required of interns wishing to participate in the HIV/AIDS internship project in Ecuador. However, applicants should have a focused interest and passion for public community outreach and other healthcare-related activities. Interns are expected to be flexible as public outreach rarely adheres to consistent daily schedules.


As an intern in the HIV/AIDS project in Ecuador, interns can assist in developing sexual health education campaigns, promoting prevention programs and creating informative seminars for key groups of healthcare professionals or sex trade workers. In addition, interns can assist with medical and psychological attention and antiretroviral therapy programs. There are also opportunities to comfort and provide support directly to patients, their families and the community. Interns may also make routine visits to hospices and other medical facilities – providing an in-depth perspective into the debilitating effects of this disease.


Ecuador is an intensely bio-diverse country steeped in natural beauty. Ecuador interns in conservation and national park projects participate in a numerous conservation/wildlife-related duties ranging from research to maintenance.

Assistance is greatly needed in efforts of preservation, investigation, environmental education and efficient management of Ecuador’s spectacular flora and fauna. IFRE collaborates with several private and public reserves as well as various national parks and NGOs throughout Ecuador who strive to preserve the country's remarkable ecosystems – on land AND sea! Conservation internship projects in Ecuador involve the following activities:

  • reforestation
  • agriforestry
  • organic and sustainable farming practices
  • permaculture
  • tree nurseries
  • biological research
  • environmental education (with an emphasis on protection and conservation)
  • recuperation and regeneration of the already-existing ecosystems

The spectacular ecosystems that interns can expect to work in include dry forests, cloud forests, rain forests and mangrove forests.


Beginner to intermediate knowledge of Spanish is preferred, but not required. If you cannot speak Spanish, we suggest you enroll in our Spanish language course to make your stay more rewarding – both for you and for the children you are helping. No specific qualifications are needed to join the conservation or national park projects in Ecuador. Many of the projects are quite physical, so environmental and conservation interns need to be in good physical shape. An outgoing and entrepreneurial spirit is helpful, as is an ability to follow directions well. Flexibility, ability to work in forests (where there is not only nature and beauty, but also mosquitoes and insects) is required.


Job responsibilities of individuals joining as conservation interns in Ecuador vary. Activities may include building or maintaining trails, delivering environmental education to project staff members/local people, helping the existing staff members/environmental conservationists in ongoing projects, assisting with administrative actions supporting the projects, weeding, building fences etc.


How does IFRE help me when I am in the field? How can I maintain communication? Do you visit me?

Once your internship program begins, our local staff members stay in constant touch with you. However, interns staying far from our Quito office, our staff will visit every 2-4 weeks (if possible) and interns are always welcome at the office. We recommend that interns stop by the office once a week, if they are staying/working in the local area, to give feedback on their home stay and project. Many minor issues can avoid escalation with a just little extra communication. Your project will have local staff members in addition to our in-country coordination staff. If your project is located a substantial distance from our offices, then our local staff communicates by either email and/or phone. We are available for you at the local office via email and phone for your entire trip. It’s our job to make sure that you are safe and healthy.


You can earn academic credit for most internship projects in Ecuador. The best way to receive academic credit is by pre-arranging the project with your college/university. It is up to an intern to communicate with faculty/academic advisors regarding college credit for internship work PRIOR to applying to IFRE. Your college/university may require additional information prior to approval and may require students to submit pre/post research or other requirements.

Alternatively, you can earn academic credit through Seattle Central Community College (SCCC). SCCC offers college credit for a variety of international programs (study abroad, volunteer abroad, intern abroad, language studies and even cultural-exchanging home-stays). IFRE recommends contacting Professor Steve Tash (we can provide contact details) to further explore this option of receiving academic credit for your international internship. IFRE is not associated with SCCC and it is up to the intern to arrange to transfer SCCC course credit to their university/college of choice.


IFRE manages living accommodations and food in Ecuador. Our interns stay with carefully selected host families. All interns receive three (3) meals a day. Prepared meals are typical of the Ecuadorian diet. Occasionally, if interns are away from their host families during lunch, they may be required to pack their own 'to go' lunches, with food the host family provides. Your host family is responsible for preparing three meals for you each day. If traditional Ecuadorian fare doesn’t appeal to you, you are welcome to buy your own food and prepare it yourself. The simple rule is to please not use the family’s food for your own use. If you have other needs for food outside of these meals, you are able to purchase snacks and meals at local restaurants and grocery stores. You will be sharing the house, kitchen and bathrooms with the family members. You will have the ability to do your laundry in the house or the host family may offer to do it for you.

Host family residences are simple and clean. Generally, our Ecuadorian host families are respected members of their communities and they live in well-off neighborhoods. Most of our host families are experienced with hosting international interns. Rooms may be shared with another same gender intern. Bathrooms are shared with the family. Toilets are ‘Western style’, yet often there is not always hot running water. Throughout the internship project, our local staff stays in contact with interns either with face-to-face visits or via email/telephone. With longer placements, we visit our interns every two weeks (when possible) and interns are always welcome at the local office. If project placement is local, we request that interns stop by the office once a week to keep us posted on how they are doing with their home stay and project. If project placement is very far, then our local staff members maintain communication by either email and/or phone.


Interns have free time for the duration of their internship project, weekends and the Language and Culture program. While IFRE does not arrange activities during this time off, our local staff, members and coordinators can provide priceless assistance in making appropriate arrangements for travel in Ecuador. It’s the time for self discovery and learning. It’s time to explore Ecuador – it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world offering numerous opportunities for a truly amazing experience. Our IFRE local coordinators/staff are available to give you free advice, travel tips and helps to book your travel.

Quito provides a beautiful, high-altitude backdrop for free-time adventures. Quito's Old City is the largest in Latin America. This historic and important part of Quito has received a huge restoration and revitalization program over the last decade. It boasts numerous churches, monasteries and convents and 17 squares. City busses are safe and inexpensive ways to explore the city and beyond. Locate high in the mountains, Quito serves as a launch pad for eco-tourism – experiences include the world’s highest cable car, rainforest excursions, multiple parrot and wildlife encounters and strolls through the well-established botanical garden. Options abound! Rent a bike. Visit the “Middle of the World” Monument. Ride horses. The choices are there for your making! Enjoy Quito!

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