from 614€

Outstanding 4.9rating (22)

Ecology & Sustainable Agriculture Internship

location
4 - 24 weeks  ·  Age 18 - 50+

rating  Outstanding 4.9  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Excellent response rate

Highlights

  • Design & deliver a unique internship based on your career aspirations and local needs, supported by an experienced international team
  • Make a meaningful difference to low-income populations who lack the education, support and resources to make the changes themselves
  • Advance your career, develop your skills and improve your resume through a hands-on project, with 1:1 mentoring from a professional in the field
  • Immerse yourself in another culture and experience a different way of life through family homestays, cultural activities and life in a small rural community
  • Set off on adventures and make one in a lifetime memories with other interns/volunteers - climb mountains, hike through in the jungle and explore indigenous communities

Especially suitable

Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Families
Groups
50+

About the program

A hands-on, personalised internship to help low-income communities transition from deforestation & agrochemical use, towards profitable, regenerative agriculture

THE REGION

El Terreno is nestled on a hillside in Bolívar province, just outside the charming colonial town of Guaranda in central Ecuador. Surrounded by traditional farmland and indigenous communities, it offers stunning views of the majestic Chimborazo Volcano, the closest point on Earth to the ...

About the program

THE REGION

El Terreno is nestled on a hillside in Bolívar province, just outside the charming colonial town of Guaranda in central Ecuador. Surrounded by traditional farmland and indigenous communities, it offers stunning views of the majestic Chimborazo Volcano, the closest point on Earth to the sun. 

However, due to multiple challenges related to health, organisation, infrastructure, ecology, education, economy and equality - many (if not most) young people are migrating to the cities and abroad in search of a better life. Through the use of cultural exchange and social innovation, we are working with low-income communities to transform them into vibrant, prosperous and sustainable places to live.

THE CHALLENGE

Ecuador is the 8th most biodiverse country in the world, and the province of Bolívar has ecosystems ranging from highland deserts to the coastal tropical forests. However expanding agriculture results in vast deforestation and biodiversity loss, while agrochemical dependency is destroying the soil and contaminating the rivers. As rural poverty is at 40% and inequitable value chains leaves them with with little reward, things are unlikely to change in current circumstances.

THE SOLUTION

There are viable and sustainable solutions to address these challenges, and the increasing global cost of fertilisers has created an opportune moment for change. However, the implementation of these solutions requires proven methods to build trust with farmers and demonstrate how sustainable practices can lead to increased income while restoring ecosystems. Through research projects, community gardens, regenerative agriculture workshops and visits to pioneering local projects, you can help reintroduce sustainable farming practices and foster the restoration of depleted ecosystems.

A PERSONALISED PROGRAMME

Now more than ever, employers are looking for a candidates with real-world experiences and strong references that an internship provides. That's why we will work with you to co-create a hands-on internship that matches your unique passions with local community's needs. You will receive a professional mentor throughout your internship and we arrange frequent site visits to other projects to expand your learning. 

We want your internship to be an unforgettable experience where you make an impact, and something that will give you a head start when applying for the job of your dreams!

¡FIND OUT MORE!

¿Interested in developing your career while making a meaningful impact in low-income communities? Schedule your free discovery call to begin co-creating your personalised internship in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes.

MORE ABOUT US

El Terreno was founded in mid-2021 by Joshua (UK) and Karina (Ecuador). Our vision is to see rural communities have access to quality education, healthcare and employment, while celebrating their culture and regenerating local ecosystems. We work with local staff to offer a variety of internship and volunteering programmes for visitors from around the world, and deliver community activities through our charity.



Typical day

TYPICAL WORKDAY OUTLINE (Mon-Thu)

Daily Activities

  • 8am: Warm up & check-in with other interns & volunteers
  • 8.30am: Project activities with support from a professional mentor
  • 12.30pm: Cooked lunch with other interns & volunteers
  • 2pm: Programmed afternoon activities, independent working or head for a ...

Typical day

TYPICAL WORKDAY OUTLINE (Mon-Thu)

Daily Activities

  • 8am: Warm up & check-in with other interns & volunteers
  • 8.30am: Project activities with support from a professional mentor
  • 12.30pm: Cooked lunch with other interns & volunteers
  • 2pm: Programmed afternoon activities, independent working or head for a walk/into Guaranda
Weekly Activities

  • Mon 2pm: Casa comunal cleaning
  • Tue & Thu 3pm: English classes Atandahua (optional)
  • Tue & Thu 4pm: Spanish classes for interns/volunteers (optional)
  • Fri: Local Site Visits (optional)
Imagine... waking up to the cockerels at dawn as the sun breaks over the horizon, before taking in Chimborazo volcano over your morning coffee. After breakfast, you stroll down to the casa comunal, stopping to say hello to the friendly neighbours in the community as they take their cows to pasture. At the morning check-in, connect more deeply with the community of international volunteers and interns and plan your day.

You then dive into another fulfilling day at your internship; collaborating with community members, learning from experienced mentors and developing valuable experience alongside your peers. Enrich yourself with a mixture of intelectual, social and practical projects that helps you further your career while making a lasting impact in the community. At lunch, you share a hearty meal alongside the team, sharing stories and learning about the different cultures. 

In the afternoons and evenings, immerse yourself in independent project work, join in with an engaging community activity, take a peaceful walk in nature or hop in a pick-up with other interns for a fun evening at one of the more modern cafes and restaurants with the other volunteers and interns.

Free-time activities

FREE TIME ACTIVITIES

With your time off, you can take a walk around any of the beautiful local trails around the communities, down to the river or jump in a taxi to savour the spectacular could-covered sunset. There are regular buses into town if you would like to go shopping, try the local food or ...

Free-time activities

FREE TIME ACTIVITIES

With your time off, you can take a walk around any of the beautiful local trails around the communities, down to the river or jump in a taxi to savour the spectacular could-covered sunset. There are regular buses into town if you would like to go shopping, try the local food or learn about Guaranda’s Carnaval - the most infamous in the country.

For a day’s outing, don’t miss hiking up to Chimborazo’s refuge and enjoying a hot chocolate at over 5,000m above sea level. Alternatively, take a tour around the salt mines and micro-businesses of the nationally renowned village of Salinas de Guaranda. If you prefer warmer climates, within an hour you can drop down to sea level and go hiking in protected virgin forests in the search of pristine rivers, tropical birds and immense waterfalls. Bolívar really has it all (minus the tourist traps!).

CLIMATE

We are at almost 3,000m (10,000ft) above sea level and the average temperature is 13°C (55°F). Below is a list of typical weather patterns throughout the year, though climate change is definitely throwing these off, so be ready for anything!

  • Summer (Jun - Sep, around Christmas): hot sunny days (leading to water shortages), colder cloudless nights and often a strong wind
  • Winter (Feb - Apr): Often dry mornings and heavy rain in the afternoon. Less day/night temperature change and no wind.
  • Spring/Autumn (May, Oct - Jan): Somewhere between summer and winter!

Due to the high altitude, the sun feels cooler but will burn you more easily - so be prepared with a hat and sun screen. The temperature is cool at night and Ecuadorian houses have no insulation/central heating, we have blankets and hot water bottles to help keep you cosy. Fortunately there are no mosquitos at this elevation!


Requirements

Requirements

Minimum Age: 18 years

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.

Language Skills

You need to speak Spanish (basic level) or English (basic level)

Nationality Restrictions

No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.

Other Skills

Our internships are best suited for pro-active, solution-focussed people who have a genuine desire to understand and meet the needs of rural communities. Strong people skills, independent working and a level of Spanish fluency is also required to make the most of your experience.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 08:00 - 16:00

What's Included

What's Included

Services by El Terreno

What's Included Before you Come:

  • Free Internship Discovery Call
  • Free Personalised Internship Plan
  • Support for Education Provider, Funding or Credits
  • Pre-Arrival Internship Planning
  • Support with Travel Logistics

What's Included During Your Stay:

  • Accommodation in Shared Dormitory
  • Cooked Lunches Monday-Thursday
  • Weekly Session with a Professional Mentor
  • 24/7 In-Person Internship Coordination
  • Internship Activities Budget
  • Land and Facilities for Pilot Projects
  • Free-Time Activity Recommendations​
  • Certificate of Completion
  • Written Personal Reference
Optional Extras:

  • Private Room in Family Homestay
  • Airport Transfer
  • Spanish Lessons (before or during)
  • Additional Mentoring
What's Not Included:

  • Flights, visas, vaccines or any other expenses to reach us
  • Travel, health and work insurance
  • Other meals
  • Leisure time activities
  • Spending money

Accommodation

You have two options of where you can stay:

Casa Comunal:
The most social option is by staying in the casa comunal. There are two dormitories with a total of 8 beds, bathroom (with hot water) and a kitchen used exclusively for volunteer use (apart from the odd community event). It has fiberoptic WiFi and all the basics to help you feel at home. Washing can either be done by a neighbour, a laundrette in the nearby town or by hand.

Family Homestay:
If you would prefer to practice your Spanish, get to know the local culture and enjoy a little privacy, a family homestay is also an option. Rooms may be humble, in keeping with the lifestyle that people live here. However, all will include a private room, hot shower, shared kitchen, WiFi and a washing station (either by hand or machine). You will also have full access to the kitchen, bathroom, living and WiFi room of casa comunal  (volunteer dormitory accommodation), only a few minutes walk away

Food & Beverages

We provide a cooked lunch Monday to Thursday in the casa comunal, cooked by our volunteers. We can accommodate most dietary requirements.

The remainder of your food you must cook yourself. There are basic shops in the village and nearby town (10mins bus/30 minutes walk) or supermarkets in Guaranda (30 minutes bus)

Internet Access

Good access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Airport Pickup at Mariscal Sucre International Airport

An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either.

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Mariscal Sucre International Airport (UIO) in Quito. We assist you to find cheap flights to Ecuador. FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS

Travel Insurance

Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Ecuador provides security and is a plus to have. GET A QUOTE

Vaccines

If you are intending to volunteer in Ecuador you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Ecuador. VACCINE CHECKER

Details on arrival

START DATES
We receive interns year-round for internships anywhere between 4 to 24 weeks. We welcome new arrivals on a Sunday for a full orientation the following morning, before beginning with your internship.

ARRIVAL DETAILS
Guaranda is located in the centre of Ecuador, 4-5 hours by bus from Ecuador's two largest cities of Guayaquil and Quito. Public transport is cheap and generally safe, though private transfers are also available. We are located 20mins ($4/5) by taxi from Guaranda.
Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Program fees

4 weeks (min. stay) 614€
6 weeks 922€
8 weeks 1,229€
10 weeks 1,536€
12 weeks 1,843€
24 weeks (max. stay) 3,686€
Average fees 154€/week

Program fees

154€ per week 4 - 24 weeks Age 18 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal

NO CREDIT CARD FEES


Duration

4 - 24 weeks

Deposit

The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.


Final Payment

Your final payment will be agreed with El Terreno during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.


Meet your organization

El Terreno

Outstanding 4.9 rating (22 reviews)

Agency - founded in 2021

Verified by Volunteer World

  Excellent response rate

Coordinated by

Joshua

Spoken languages: Spanish, English

About the project

Cultural Exchange Centre in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes. Our internships help you develop skills, make a difference to low-income communities, and travel the world.

Meet your organization

Nestled within the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes, El Terreno is encompassed by picturesque valleys, the warmth of its people, and the richness of culture. Since 2021, El Terreno has been building a dynamic cultural exchange centre, uniting global citizens and local communities in a shared mission to foster a more meaningful, prosperous, and regenerative world. 

We are Joshua (UK), Karina (Quito, Ecuador) and our toddler son, Liam. We have a strong passion for positive change and years of experience in social development, volunteer coordination and sustainable tourism. We chose to dedicate our lives to Atandahua due to it's amazing landscapes and people, but it's also a place with a lot of need:

  • 40% poverty
  • 48% child malnutrition
  • 75% children don't go to high school
  • 26% teenage pregnancy rate
  • >5% indigenous children speak the native language
  • 3-4 months of water shortages per year
  • 95% local forests destroyed

With your help, we're working to regenerate local ecosystems, build pride in indigenous culture, provide dignified employment opportunities, offer a wide variety of unique eco & community tourism experiences, and ensure interns like you learn valuable skills, meet extraordinary people and leave with unforgettable memories.

22 reviews · rating4.9

After doing an internship of 6 weeks at El Terreno I can say without hesitation that I loved the experience. Joshua is open for the different goals and experiences people strive for, making it easy to create a well suited programme. It allowed me to develop myself in a new environment wherein I ...
Isabela Valencia rating4.8

2023 at Ecology & Sustainable Agriculture Internship

One of the best parts of this experience was having the best of both worlds culturally: on one hand, you’re able to live in a less-touristy part of Ecuador and immerse yourself in Ecuadorian culture, but on the other hand, you don’t feel completely like a fish out of water. I enjoyed my time in ...
From the airport pickup to the program, I was taken directly to the location and the coordinator helped me settle into my accommodation in the middle of the night. The coordinator planned out my activities a few weeks in advance. With the assigned mentor I learnt the fundamentals of organic ...
After my first attempt at volunteering in Peru didn't work out, I found this opportunity which felt like a close fit and had great reviews. Leaving my family for 4 weeks sounded like long time, but it takes a while to make an impact. I'm so glad that I decided to go to Atandahua and help with ...
Julia Spiegel rating4.8

2023 at Medicine & Public Health Internship

I have nothing negative to say about my experience at El Terreno. The medicine and public health internship allowed me to get a close up look at how a healthcare system runs in rural Ecuador and I was able to make meaningful connections with the community members we ...
I had the privilege of interning at El Terreno for 6 weeks, where I worked on a water project and was able to learn so much and make a difference in the community. I worked with a great team, did a lot of hiking to water sources, talked to community members, learned a lot from our mentors ...

Location

Americas > South America > Ecuador > Guaranda

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