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Become an


Join our 12-week internship cohort for aspiring professionals helping to address the migration crisis facing indigenous communities in the heart of the Ecuadorian Andes. Take this opportunity to fulfil your potential, experience new cultures and make a meaningful difference in the world.

Sep 16 - Dec 6 2024           Guaranda, Ecuador         Application Deadline 6 May


Undergo a Professional & Personal Transformation

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Make a Lasting Impact on Real Migration Issues

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Travel the World & Experience New Cultures


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Recommended by Previous Participants

"I really enjoyed my internship and feel it has been a key part of my journey in the field of international development" - Amaan Nath

A Transformational 12 Week Programme

Fall in Love with the Problem (4 weeks)


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Co-Create Sustainable Solutions (4 weeks)


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Leave a Powerful Legacy (4 weeks)


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Step 1

Fall in Love with the Problem (4 weeks)

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Understand the Context

Begin with an immersion into the communities and Guaranda through guided tours and presentations.

Get Prepared

Custom workshops to identify your personal goals, as well as invaluable tips for a great experience.

Learn from Local People

Understand the Design Thinking methodology and interview key stakeholders, to understand the root causes of migration.

Step 2

Co-Create Sustainable Solutions (4 weeks)

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Learn from Success

Research existing solutions, visit successful projects and receive presentations from local professionals.

Co-Create Ideas

During social innovation workshops, you'll work to design solutions alongside key stakeholders.

Build it & Test it

Try out you Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with the population and evaluate it to test its efficacy. Then improve on user feedback.

Step 3

Leave a Powerful Legacy (4 weeks)

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Present Yours Success

Evaluate your work and present it to key stakeholders and future interns.

Create Foundation for Future

Create valuable legacy resources so the project can be developed through our charity and partner organisations.

Prepare for Your Next Steps

We'll run next-step workshops so you can fully integrate this experience and share a grand farewell with you and the team.

"I had an amazing experience at El Terreno"

I learned more than I could ever have expected. The support from the team throughout the process was outstanding and my experience in a homestay and with the other volunteers and interns was absolutely amazing. I am so blessed to have had this experience and would strongly recommend to anyone else who is considering.

Naomi from the USA (Culture, Anthropology & Development)

Take Your Next Step Towards a Life of Purpose

¿What's Included?


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✓  12-week Programme

✓  Professional Mentoring

✓  In-Person Coordination

✓  Personal Development Workshops

✓  Internship Activities Budget

✓  Spanish Classes
✓  Cultural Activities

✓  Weekly Individual Check-Ins
✓  Post-Internship Mentoring

✓  Certificate & Written Reference

Living & Logistics

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✓  Transfer from Quito / Guayquil
✓  Accommodation (w/ hot water & WiFi)
✓  Breakfast Ingredients
✓  Cooked Lunches (Mon-Fri)


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✓  Programme-Specific Site Visits
✓  Fun Trips (Chimborazo, Jungle, Sunset) 

Limited Spaces Available



Passionate about development work

Able to commit full 12 weeks

Cultural sensitivity

Personal initiative and teamwork


(Low-intermediate) B1 Spanish

Bachelors degree or higher in relevant field

Key Dates

Early-Bird Applications

22nd April: Applications Open

6th May: Applications Close

13-17th May: Interviews
23rd May: Places Accepted

26th May: Payment Deadline

15th Sep: Arrival
16th Sep: Activities Start Date
6th Dec: Cohort Completion

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Tell more more about El Terreno
    El Terreno’s mission is to bring together foreigners and locals through cultural exchange to make a more meaningful, prosperous and sustainable world. The central province of Bolívar is one of Ecuador's most culturally/ecologically diverse yet underdeveloped regions. It is best known for its vibrant carnaval celebrations, agriculture and indigenous culture (90%+ in rural areas). Within these rural communities where we are based, there are multiple health, economy and education issues, much of which leads to the erosion of their cultural traditions. There is a huge range of landscapes within just an hour's drive: snow-capped volcanoes, highland desert, arable farmland and tropical forests. However, due to conventional agriculture and mining, many of these habitats are affected, leading to biodiversity/habitat loss, landslides and water insecurity. These are just some of the issues we are working towards tackling through the use of Cultural Exchange at El Terreno and we’re inviting interns like you to make a difference. With your help, we want to continue working towards regenerating local ecosystems, building pride in indigenous culture, providing dignified employment opportunities, offering a wide variety of unique eco & community tourism experiences, and ensuring interns like you learn valuable skills, meet extraordinary people and leave with unforgettable memories.
  • How much does the programme cost?
    This is our most comprehensive programme. We have two levels: Standard: includes everything mentioned above Plus: includes everything mentioned above, cooked evening meals, additional mentoring, family homestay accommodation and airport drop-off ​ Early-bird applicants will get a special discount. Contact us for more information about pricing. ​
  • What does a typical day look like?
    Each day of your internship will be different, depending on where you are up to on the programme. But here are a few guidelines to help: ​ 8.00am: Group Check-in (with all volunteers and interns) 8.30am: Field trips, community visits and other outdoor activities (weather is generally better in the morning) 12.30pm: Communal Lunch with all volunteers, interns and team 1.30pm: Workshops, computer work 4pm: Spanish classes (twice weekly), cultural activity (weekly) 6pm: Relaxed night in or evening our to restaurant with other interns
  • What are the entry requirements for Ecuador?
    Visas Citizens of most countries (except these ones) are able to enter Ecuador on a 90-day visa, which you are given upon arrival. There is a fairly simple extension process for a further 90 days, which you can do online/in Quito ($145) that takes half a day to complete. Health Declaration Form Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Ecuador now asks for all travellers arriving in Ecuador to fill out a Health Declaration Form, including the place in the country they are staying. Our address is: El Terreno Casa Comunal, Recinto Atandahua Parroquia Guanujo, Cantón Guaranda Ecuador 020101 Phone: 09398197192 Return Flight Ecuador is likely to ask you at the border for your flight out of the country. If you’re not sure about the date for this and don’t want to book a ticket yet, you could consider looking at Onward Ticket.
  • What vaccinations should I get before coming?
    Required COVID-19 2: doses of approved vaccine (or negative test or quarantine) Yellow fever: if travelling from Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda Optional Hepatitis A and B Typhoid Meningitis Polio, measles, mumps and rubella Tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis Chicken pox Shingles, pneumonia and influenza Rabies Malaria: Malaria risk is low in areas above 1500m
  • How does money work out there?
    The official currency in Ecuador is the US dollar and cash is king! Supermarkets and some restaurants will accept cards, but most shops and markets will only accept change and small bills. Therefore, it’s worth knowing where you can get cash out and keeping a modest amount on you at all times. There is one ATM in Guanujo and multiple ATMs in Guaranda which charge between $2-5 per withdrawal (Banco Guayaquil ibn the parque central is the cheapest). Most interns spend around $25 per week for food ingredients and other basic expenses and a night in a hostal is between $10-20 per night. Transport is cheap - $1.25/hour on a bus and $25/hour in a taxi.
  • How do I get to you?
    Guaranda is equal distance between the two international airports, Quito and Guayaquil. Bus travel is cheap and generally safe, $7 for a 5 hour journey. A transfer from Quito/Guayaquil is included within the price of this programme.
  • What accommodation options are there?
    You have two options of where you can stay: Dormitory Space: The most social option is in our brand-new new dormitory space. We have a total of 4 rooms with space for 20 people in total. We have shared hot-water showers, toilets and a communal kitchen, office and large living area. It has fiberoptic WiFi and all the basics to help you feel at home. We have a laundry room where you can wash by hand, or pay to have your clothes washed (we have had experience of people damaging machines in the past through misuse). 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), 5-10 minutes walk away. This option has an additional cost, but is included within the 'plus' package.
  • How far is it to the shops?
    There is a corner shop in the village that sells staple foods like rice, sugar and oil. 10 minutes by bus you reach the nearest town (Guanujo) with fruits & vegetables 30 minutes by bus you arrive in Guaranda with cafés, restaurants & supermarkets
  • What is the climate like where you are?
    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): hot sunny days (leading to water shortages), colder cloudless nights and often a strong wind; temperatures ranging from 7-20°C degrees (45-70°F) Winter (Feb - Apr): Often dry mornings and heavy rain in the afternoon. Less day/night temperature variation and no wind; temperatures ranging from 10-15°C degrees (50-60°F degrees) 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 sunscreen. 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!
  • Is it safe to travel to Ecuador?
    Due to the economic crisis, Ecuador has faced some challenges of late. Guayaquil and Quito are cities with more crime, though mainly pick pocketing. If you decide to explore these cities, we recommend you research the best places to go, keep any valuables in a backpack worn on your front, passport in a money belt and keep an eye out for anything suspicious. People spilling mustard or similar and offering to help clean you up is a common scam in these places! That said, as of writing (March 2024), the government has done a good job in cracking down on crime. Guaranda is known as one of the safest parts of Ecuador and its annual Carnaval in February and was a huge success, without major incident. In Atandahua where El Terreno is based, there is a police station in the village. In 3 years, we have had no assaults or robberies. Most interns say they feel very safe here. We are happy to discuss more if you have any concerns.
  • How shall I look after my health?
    You are fully responsible for your health and wellbeing during your stay and we strongly recommend acquiring travel insurance before you come on your trip. Please advise us of any health conditions or dietary requirements we should be aware of before you arrive. The nearest health centres (centro de salud) are in San Juan and Guanujo (10 minutes away) and the nearest public hospital is in Guaranda (20 minutes away). It can take some time to arrange a car to take you. We are situated at almost 3,000m which causes some people to suffer from altitude sickness. Drink plenty of water, eat sweets/pure sugar, take gentle exercise and avoid coffee/alcohol - you should adjust in a day or two, let us know if you have any problems. At this altitude, the sun burns easier than you think. We always recommend hats and sunblock to protect yourself. The temperature can vary quickly, especially at sunset, be prepared! We provide protective gloves, goggles and ear defenders should you need them. We also have a basic first aid kit in the kitchen of the Casa Comunal. By law, we cannot administer any medications, please come with anything you need
  • What can I do in my free time?
    With your time off, you can take a walk around any of the beautiful local trails in the surrounding communities, down to the river or jump in a taxi to savour the spectacular cloud-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 best known 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. Guaranda really has it all (minus the tourist traps!). Many interns and volunteers plan evening/weekend trips together get an idea by looking at this guide we are developing for you.
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