Architecture & Sustainable Construction Internship

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Hands-on, personalised internship helping indigenous Andean communities reclaim their ancestral building techniques to restore and build sustainable housing for all.

If you want to combine traditional building design and techniques with social housing, this internship is for you. Come and learn about how adobe homes are made in the Andes, and help us restore buildings that otherwise may fall into ruin. With support from our team, you will take on a design and/or build project in low-income communities in the province of Bolívar. Your input will go towards helping people provide spaces that will later be used to receive tourists and volunteers, bringing much needed income into the community.

In your internship, you will work directly in the local communities on a practical project. Your work will be used to develop structures in disadvantaged populations and could be used to create accommodation for future visitors - bringing money into the local economy - or simply building a dignified place for people to live.


The Challenge


Before the industrialisation of construction, local people in the Andes built houses out of the rich clay soils available to them. Now, however, globalization has meant that local people are choosing to build single-skin, concrete buildings. Whilst these are quicker to build and considered more 'modern', they are also colder, more expensive, less ecological and more at risk during an earthquake.

In the area, there are hundreds of adobe buildings that have been left abandoned, and as these traditional techniques are lost, so is the cultural heritage captured in the architectural beauty. Our vision is to revitalize these traditions while we can, by restoring derelict houses to their former glory and building new sustainable structures with new ideas brought from around the world.

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Your Internship

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What's Included


  • Support to attain academic credits (through your university/education provider)

  • Dedicated programme advisor

  • 24/7 local coordinator

  • Transport & materials budget ($50/month)

  • Accommodation (Private Room)

  • Cooked lunches (Mon - Thu)

  • WiFi & washing machine access


What's Not Included


  • Flights, visas, vaccines or expenses to reach us

  • Travel, health and work insurance

  • Other meals

  • Leisure time activities

  • Spending money


  • Low-intermediate level of Spanish

  • Initiative & a positive mindset


Cost: $430 / month


We're searching for passionate students looking for a unique hands-on internship - to improve your CV and make an impact in the world. You will have a flexible work schedule, personal mentoring and the resources required to reach this goal.

You will live with a local family in a private room in close proximity to other international volunteers. Spend your free time experiencing the rich Ecuadorian culture and leave the project with new skills, friendships & unforgettable memories, as well as a meaningful piece of work that can help disadvantaged communities around the world.

Program of Work

Through your internship, you will be able to see the difference between the the traditional adobe buildings and the more recent concrete structures. Based on your skills and the opportunities available, you will selected a design/build project within the community and be supported to bring it to fruition.

You will work directly with community leaders and stakeholders on a project that will benefit your studies and the local population - your insights and findings may prove foundational in future projects.


  • Research traditional building techniques

  • Identify a project in the community

  • Build relationships with local stakeholders

  • Create a project action plan

  • Build a timeline & budget

  • Either create the architecture designs necessary and/or work on the build using sustainable ideas and techniques

  • Present your work to local stakeholders


¡Apply Today!



We welcome interns throughout the year and can be flexible about the time of year you arrive. We receive new people on a Sunday, so that you can receive a tour and get fully integrated on the Monday morning. You can stay anywhere from 1 to 6 months, or whatever is required for you to fulfil your internship requirements.


We are equidistant between Ecuador's two largest cities of Guayaquil and Quito, both 4-5 hours by bus. Travel is inexpensive and generally safe, though there are private car options available. We can help you decide where you would like to travel to and share the information of how to arrive. Once you arrive in Guaranda, you can get a taxi (maximum $5) to reach us.

Application Process


  1. Fill out the online application form

  2. Participate in an online interview

  3. Provide a reference

  4. Upon acceptance, complete required documents for your education provider

  5. Place your deposit

  6. Join us for a memorable experience here in the Ecuadorian Andes!

Free Time Activities

On the weekends, go off exploring the rest of Ecuador. Within just an hour, you could be swimming in pristine waterfalls, learning about the surrounding indigenous cultures or hiking above 5,000m at the foot of the point on earth closest to the sun. Alternatively, go a bit further to the outdoor adventure paradise of Baños or visit the beautiful colonial architecture in the capital Quito, UNESCO's first world heritage site.

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¿Who Are We?

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El Terreno is a center of cultural exchange and social innovation in the heart of the Andes. We bring together local Ecuadorians and people from around the world to create a more meaningful, sustainable and prosperous world.


In collaboration with interns, partners, volunteers and the community, we work to regenerate local ecosystems, build pride in indigenous culture, support dignified socio-economic development and offer a wide variety of unique tourism experiences.