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Montevideo, Uruguay

Overview

About the City

Montevideo, the Southern-most capital city in the Americas, offers a sprawling metropolis rich in culture and history. A pedestrian-friendly city and known for safety and accessibility, there is much to explore in Montevideo: from the old buildings of Ciudad Vieja to La Rambla—a 14-mile long oceanside boardwalk. Montevideo is a proud testament to Uruguay’s vibrant democracy and strong history of social activism and human rights; the city has consistently ranked first in Latin America on LGBTQ+ friendliness and overall quality of life. With warm beaches, a laid-back vibe, open air cafes, and abundant street art, Montevideo offers a fascinating opportunity to discover South America’s “hidden gem.”

About the Organization

AMIGOS is an international non-profit organization that, for nearly 50 years, has operated on the belief that young people can change the world. Founded and headquartered in Houston, Texas, AMIGOS has grown throughout the United States with 25 affiliated chapters in major cities and is working with 30 partner agencies throughout the Americas. Today, AMIGOS conducts a broad array of health, social enterprise, human rights, environmental, and education programs in response to priorities identified by host communities and partner agencies in Latin America.

Since 1965, more than 28,000 AMIGOS volunteers have gained a lifelong commitment to community service while strengthening multicultural understanding and friendships throughout the Americas. While the specific projects have changed over the years, the vision has remained the same: a world where each young person becomes a lifelong catalyst for social change.

Fellowship Structure

Tufts 1+4 Fellows will attend the Tufts 1+4 Orientation on the Tufts campus in late August before departing for Uruguay. Upon arrival in country, AMIGOS will provide a comprehensive in-country orientation to familiarize fellows with their new community and prepare them for their service experience. Fellows will then spend a month enrolled in intensive Spanish language classes while learning about their new city and culture and getting to know their host families. After one month of Spanish immersion, fellows will begin their full-time service placement, which will last from approximately October through late May. Fellows will return home in late May and participate in the Tufts 1+4 Post-Service Retreat in fall 2019, as they begin their first semester at Tufts.

Language Training

Although Spanish language background is not required for participation, any Spanish that you bring to the program will be a great asset. Intensive Spanish at all levels is offered through one month of intensive language training at the beginning of the program. Those who come in with little Spanish background can continue to enhance their learning through ongoing classes, language exchange and other opportunities.

Housing and Meals

Fellows stay with carefully selected host families, which provide a private room for each participant. Living with a host family offers an immersive opportunity to experience the culture of your new community and to build relationships with locals. Host families provide room and board for participants, and most students eat most meals with their host families unless they are traveling. All participants live with these host families in their headquarter city and commute (no more than an hour) to their service placement around or outside of the city.

Support Services and Health

Note: In order to be eligible to participate in AMIGOS, Fellows must be able to meet the General Health Criteria for AMIGOS Participants. If you have any questions about these requirements, please contact us.

In addition to receiving ongoing support from Tisch College staff and senior management throughout the bridge year, fellows in Montevideo benefit from three levels of local support: AMIGOS staff, individual placement supervisors, and host families. AMIGOS in-country staff provide a week-long orientation to the program, have one-on-one check-in meetings with participants every other week, host monthly workshops on a variety of leadership development topics, and plan and supervise group excursions to locations throughout the country. AMIGOS staff is available 24 hours a day to assist fellows with any issues that arise throughout their bridge year, whether related to health, homestay, service placement, or other areas. Local placement supervisors will oversee fellows’ daily work and contribute to their learning and growth. Host families contribute to fellows’ cultural integration and provide a safe and supportive home environment throughout the bridge year.

AMIGOS has developed a list of recommended urgent and primary care providers in Montevideo and the surrounding area and will assist fellows with any health concerns that arise during their bridge year. Fellows will have international medical insurance through AMIGOS as well as international emergency medical coverage through Tufts University’s partnership with International SOS.

Transportation

Fellows use the public transportation system or walk within the city.

Skills Fellow Will Develop

The program is specifically designed to give participants a hands-on, real-life experience and unlock each participant’s potential as a catalyst for social change. Fellows have the opportunity at their internship site to design and implement a project related to the host organization’s work. This experience provides a crucial opportunity for enriching one’s worldview before deciding on a field of study or career path. In addition, Tufts 1+4 Fellows can expect to improve their communication and collaboration skills, become better critical thinkers and decision-makers, and be able to take initiative and do self-directed work.

Fellows also develop several concrete skills that are applicable in a variety of fields:

  • Community Assessment and Relationship Building
  • Project Visioning and Action Planning
  • Resource Mobilization
  • Project Implementation and Evaluation

Activities Beyond Service

Outside of their structured service, Tufts 1+4 Fellows participate in the following activities:

  • Ongoing workshops: Throughout the year, fellows meet up for reflection activities and workshops about specific themes. These workshops facilitate greater learning through peer support and reflection and serve as a means to connect AMIGOS volunteers to local, civic-minded youth who will participate in some of the workshops.
  • Peer Learning and Youth Events: Fellows help plan and execute a youth-focused event in Montevideo. This project is selected and created by the fellows in conjunction with Uruguayan youth. Fellows help raise funds and garner the support of local civic institutions to carry out the event.
  • Excursions: Fellows travel to places of interest in Uruguay, like Villa Serrano and Paysandú, so that they can see more of the country and participate in intensive learning and reflection activities. These excursions include visits to historical sites and fun outdoor activities like hiking and swimming. The main focus of these excursions, however, is to bring volunteers together for decompression time, ongoing evaluation, learning, and reflection.
     

Service Experience

The host organizations in Montevideo are incredibly dynamic, working to create positive change in the community and provide a better future for its people.

Many host organizations have several areas of focus. While an organization's mission and vision usually aligns with a specific theme, it may also offer related programming. For example, while an organization's mission may be centered on youth development, they may offer programming on environmental education and conservation or on cultural preservation and promotion. It is important to note that while participants may have a specific field of interest, they will most likely engage in several different types of work over the course of their internship.

If you want to work in a specific area not listed here, please contact us! When possible, we will work to find a placement within our service locations that fits your skills and interests.

Entrepreneurship & Social Impact

Placements in this area offer fellows the opportunity to support a social enterprise or community organization dedicated to creating meaningful social change in Montevideo. Uruguay has a vibrant social sector with many creative and innovative nonprofits and social enterprises dedicated to meeting community needs. Fellows in this area can learn a great deal from colleagues about nonprofit management, social entrepreneurship, and community development.

Fellows may have the opportunity to focus on one or more of the following:

  • Supporting classes, events, and workshops on language learning and cultural exchange
  • Supporting community development projects in and around Montevideo
  • Grant writing and fundraising to support events and community work
  • General communications and office administration

Graphic Design & Communications

Students with a background in the visual arts, photography and videography can utilize these skills at a placement focused on graphic design and communications. Potential placements include working with an educational, cultural, or arts organization which offers exciting opportunities to use creative media to have an impact.

Fellows may have the opportunity to focus on one or more of the following:

  • Designing visual materials for educational campaigns
  • Producing videos to support English language learning in schools
  • Supporting planning for exhibitions and/or workshops
  • Promoting arts education and assisting with classes
  • Assisting with other creative/communications work, including photography, graphic design, and/or social media production

Education & Youth Development

Placements in this area offer fellows the opportunity to work with youth and/or communities throughout Montevideo through a variety of educational centers. Whether working with children or adults through community organizations, cultural centers, or local schools, these projects provide fellows with direct opportunities to connect with, learn from, and share with others.

Fellows may have the opportunity to focus on one or more of the following:

  • Assisting teachers with lesson plans and course content
  • Providing individualized support or one-on-one tutoring to students during and after class sessions
  • Leading afterschool workshops in art, theater, music, sports, environmental education, or other areas
  • Developing and supporting English language instruction

Engineering & Technology

Fellows interested in engineering, technology, and innovation can work alongside colleagues promoting engineering education and entrepreneurship. These placements are a great fit for someone with a background in these areas who is enthusiastic about expanding access to engineering education and learning more about the growing tech industry in Montevideo.

Fellows may have the opportunity to focus on one or more of the following:

  • Working with students in a robotics lab or other science and technology classrooms, supporting education and youth development
  • Supporting in the selection and incubation of engineering start-ups
  • Promoting engineering education in schools across the city

Abigail Barton, A20

School of Arts and Sciences
I’ve learned what I need to work on, what kind of impact I can have, what kind of connections I can make, but most of all, that I am capable of so much! On a bridge year, you begin to attack the changes you want to make with a newfound tenacity."