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Ecuador, a land of stunning biodiversity and a rich tapestry of culture, offers an unparalleled nonprofit internship experience. Immerse yourself in the enchanting landscapes, contribute to vital projects, and expand your horizons while making positive steps in your career. So, feel free to set your expectations high when wondering what to expect from an internship in Ecuador.

Internships are a key step for students and young professionals to gain hands-on experience in their chosen fields. What better way to do this than while taking in a country as diverse and vibrant as Ecuador? Nestled in the heart of South America, Ecuador offers a unique blend of natural beauty, wildlife, budget-friendly options, and rich cultural immersion.

Whether you’re considering wildlife research, youth development, or public health, Ecuador has more to offer than you might expect. It’s actually one of our best destinations for education internships and conservation internships.

In this blog, we’ll explore what you can expect from internships in Ecuador, from the stunning landscapes to the professional opportunities. We’ll answer questions like: What’s the likelihood of finding paid internships in Ecuador, how much does an internship in Ecuador cost? And what do internships in Ecuador involve?

view of a cathedral through a round window in Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador

Is it worth it to intern in Ecuador?

Absolutely. Ecuador is an incredible country to visit, and interning there is the best way to do it. An internship gives you the chance to immerse yourself in local customs and traditions, integrate with communities, and make the most of all this country has to offer.

There are so many reasons Ecuador is the perfect destination for internships; here are just a few for you to consider:

  • Natural Beauty. – Ecuador is a country of breathtaking landscapes. From the Amazon rainforest to the Andes Mountains and the Galapagos Islands, you’ll find unparalleled natural beauty in this country.
  • Wildlife. – Interning in Ecuador, especially in fields related to conservation, allows you to get up close and personal with this incredible biodiversity.
  • Budget-Friendly. – Ecuador is one of the most budget-friendly countries in South America. As an intern, you can enjoy meals out and activities without breaking the bank.
  • Cultural Immersion. – Ecuador’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in its traditions, cuisine, and festivals. Interning in Ecuador provides a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a vibrant and welcoming culture.
  • Intuitive Solutions to Social and Conservation Issues. – Ecuador is at the forefront of finding innovative solutions to social and environmental challenges. As an intern, you can actively contribute to the development and implementation of these solutions.
lake surrounded by mountain in Cajas, Azuay, Ecuador

Are internships in Ecuador Paid?

Alas, in the nonprofit sector, paid internships in Ecuador are rare. There are many reasons for this, but it’s mainly a consequence of limited budgets and a focus on maximizing impact.

Nonprofits tend to prioritize channeling their resources directly into their charitable work. Unfortunately, this leaves little room for intern stipends. There is also a competitive demand for nonprofit internships, which further diminishes the likelihood of paid positions. As a result, interns in the nonprofit sector often need to self-fund their experiences through personal grants, part-time work, or support from educational institutions.

What to expect from an internship in Ecuador regarding costs will vary depending on the program. That said, the cost of living in Ecuador is low, so it’s a fairly budget-friendly destination (find more tips on how to finance an unpaid internship).

7 things to expect as an intern in Ecuador

1. When is the Best Time of Year to Intern in Ecuador?

It’s difficult to say what to expect from an internship in Ecuador concerning the weather. Ecuador has a varied topography and experiences varying weather patterns across the country. Highland areas like the capital enjoy mild temperatures and relatively dry weather throughout the year. The Amazon and coastal areas tend to experience a pretty heavy rain season, though.

Suffice it to say that if you’re interning in a rainforest, you will likely experience some challenging weather conditions whenever you visit. Bear in mind, though, that a conservation internship will involve different tasks depending on which season you join.

So, if possible, try to plan to reach out to your host organization and coordinate the timing for your internship to align with projects you’re interested in.

2. What Do Internships in Ecuador Involve?

The answer to the question, ‘What do internships in Ecuador involve?’, varies greatly depending on the internship and the intern.

You can expect hands-on experience in your chosen field, guidance, mentorship, and the freedom to explore your own intuition. You might work closely with locals, contributing to community engagement projects. You might be involved with tasks like research, data collection, program development, and community outreach.

Whatever the specifics of your internship, it’ll provide you with a unique opportunity to make a real impact and gain practical skills in your chosen area of interest.

three Cuenca ladies at local shopping mall in Ecuador

3. What Are the Language Requirements for Internships in Ecuador?

While it’s not always strictly necessary to be fluent in Spanish for internships in Ecuador, having a grasp of the basics can greatly enhance your experience.

Being able to communicate with local colleagues, navigate daily life, and show respect for the culture through language can lead to deeper connections and a more immersive experience. Many organizations and locals appreciate the effort put into learning their language.

4. How Much Does an Internship in Ecuador Cost?

Regarding the question of what to expect from an internship in Ecuador, it’s essential to recognize that many nonprofit internships in Ecuador are unpaid. So, interns typically need to cover their own costs.

The question of how much does an internship in Ecuador cost depends a lot on the program. Beyond this, though, a budget should include accommodation, meals, transportation, and personal expenses. On average, monthly living costs in Ecuador can range from $600 to $1,200, depending on your location and lifestyle choices.

Decisions of where intern in Ecuador and how long for will also impact the costs of an internship

5. How Can You Prepare for an Internship in Ecuador?

Mental preparation is crucial for any nonprofit internship. Mentally, stay open-minded and flexible, as the experience may challenge your comfort zone and expand your horizons.

Interns often find that being physically fit helps in acclimating to the local terrain, especially for more active conservation internships. Learning basic Spanish is highly beneficial for effective communication and cultural integration.

6. What Should You Bring for an Internship in Ecuador?

What do internships in Ecuador involve? Packing the right gear!

Knowing exactly what to expect from an internship in Ecuador will obviously help a great deal when it comes to packing. So, be sure to discuss what you’ll need with your host organization. It’s also best to ask for their advice regarding the Ecuador visa requirements.

However, while exact packing requirements will vary from program to program, there are a few essentials you shouldn’t overlook. These include:

  • Comfortable, quick-drying clothing
  • hiking gear for adventurous outings
  • power adapters for your electronic devices
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Multi-purpose soap for washing clothes
  • Water purifiers
  • toiletries
  • Learning basic Spanish phrases and having a good travel guidebook can be invaluable as well.

7. What Are the Key Takeaways from an Internship in Ecuador?

Every intern has their own key internship takeaways, and they usually have a few to pick from. As we said, you can think big when wondering what to expect from an internship in Ecuador.

Apart from professional development in your chosen field, you’ll experience significant personal growth, broaden your horizons, and create lasting memories. The chance to travel to unique destinations like the Amazon Rainforest is also an incredible perk.

Most importantly, as an intern, you’ll have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the world by contributing to the important work of nonprofit organizations in Ecuador.

green mountain in Baños, Ecuador

3 internship opportunities in Ecuador

1. Wildlife Research Internship in Ecuador

Highlights: Travel to the Ecuadorian Andes and study the unique flora and fauna of the Cloud Forest. This program gives you in-field practical research experience, the opportunity to head up your own conservation research projects, and a bank of knowledge and skills in rainforest conservation.

Location: Recinto La Esperie, Ecuador

Cost: $600

2. Public Health and Wash Engineering Internship in Ecuador

Highlights: Help a rural community in the Amazon Rainforest tackle public health and sanitation issues with innovative solutions. You’ll work on a range of nonprofit and community development projects as you live alongside and learn about the indigenous Kichwa community.

Location: Shandia

Cost: $3,900

3. Education and Youth Development Internship in Ecuador

Highlights: Make deep connections with a rural community in the Amazon Rainforest with an education internship that extends beyond the classroom. You’ll work closely with students to build holistic development programs, gaining well-rounded experience in social work and psychology, as well as education

Location: Shandia

Cost: $3,900

Let Ecuador be where you achieve your internship goals!

This is only the briefest outline of what to expect from an internship in Ecuador and everything this country has to offer. Interning in Ecuador is an incredible opportunity that offers a stunning landscape, diverse wildlife, and cultural immersion. Whether you choose to work on wildlife conservation, education, or public health projects, Ecuador provides an enriching environment for personal and professional growth.

As you plan your internship in this enchanting country, remember to prepare well, stay safe, and embrace the experience fully. Also, if you have any further questions, get in touch with us and ask. You’ll benefit from a dedicated team with years of experience in nonprofit internships.

Browse our available internships in Ecuador


This blog was written by Tom Rusbridge