Culture, Anthropology & Development Internship

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A hands-on, personalised internship to help indigenous understand the development needs and opportunities for low-income Andean communities while preserving their culture.

Guaranda is one of Ecuador's poorest regions. Most of the indigenous people, which make up almost half of the population, live in rural communities where poverty is over 40%. 500 years after the Spanish colonization, globalization has the potential to be the final nail in the coffin of these historic cultures, as many young people are moving to the cities to support their families and the native language (Kichwa) is at risk of extinction.

For your internship, we will help you specify an area of interest for your study and help you build relationships with the local communities. Your research has the potential to provide the crucial understanding that could help communities preserve and regenerate their culture while enabling them to become part of the global community in the 21st century.


The Challenge


Although stunningly beautiful, Bolívar is one of Ecuador’s least-developed provinces. Rural child malnutrition is at 48%, illiteracy at 10% and teenage pregnancy at 26%. With few employment opportunities, most high-school graduates quickly leave to the larger cities and the indigenous language and culture is under threat. Most of the rural population work the land for a meagre income, and with the recent rise in living costs and the reduction of fuel subsidies their real wealth has declined further.

We may only have a generation or two to ensure the survival of these cultures. Fortunately, there are some younger people who want to continue the traditions of their ancestors and rebuild cultural pride in their societies. With your help, we can work towards understanding the underlying patterns which could be the determining factors as to whether these initiatives fail or succeed. 

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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 learn about the regional challenges. Once you have selected one that motivates you, you will receive support to dive deep into the problem to understand the underlying causes, impacts and possible solutions. With support from our team, you will design and implement a personalized internship to understand local cultures and traditions with the goal of helping preserve, build pride and celebrate them while enabling a dignified and prosperous future.

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.


  • Understand local context and challenges

  • Identify a specific area of investigation

  • Build relationships with local communities

  • Participate in community activities

  • Perform an anthropological assessment

  • Co-create potential solutions to problems

  • Produce a report of your findings

  • Present your findings 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.