6 week internship
+ 3 weeks of volunteering
+ 1 adventure week
We are excited to introduce our new Medical Intern programme which provides 6 week placements to assist medical staff in hospitals or clinics in Quito. Perfectly placed to add a further 3 weeks of volunteering in conservation + community projects to provide a varied and fulfilling overseas experience.
Skills and Experience
Our medical internship is ideal for those pre-medical school, who can speak intermediate Spanish. Lessons will be provided for the first 2 weeks to give your accent a quick polish!
The amount of responsibility you’ll be given will depend on your skills and experience. Interns usually start by shadowing the doctors and nurses, and will be taught basic skills such as how to take vital signs, changing dressings, taking blood and giving injections. However there will be time when you'll be asked to help with hospital admin, stocking and preparing medical supplies.
We work with 2 hospitals in and around Quito who take 2 volunteers per departure.
A small, private clinic, near Quito’s Historical centre, who provides care to about 14 patients with a staff of about 40. It has rooms for consultation, surgery, a laboratory and specialist doctors in a calm, organised environment. The staff here have the time to teach so an interns here will participate in everything from patient consultations to surgeries.
A midsized and busy clinic, in South Quito where incomes and fees for medical treatments are lower. The clinic offers emergency services, has a laboratory, x-ray, and surgery. The clinic is very busy and can always use a helping hand in emergency care, nursing, and patient prep. It is perfect for interns who enjoy fast paced environments. Those interested in hospital administration will also be put to good use!
After you've finished your 6 weeks internship we recommended a further 3 weeks helping on our conservation and community projects either in the Andes or on the famous Galapagos Islands and 1 adventure week. These extra weeks offer you a complete contrast in both challenge and location providing you with a fulfilling gap experience.
In either location you’ll join up with our volunteering leapers, who you met in Quito whilst on your internship, providing you with familiar faces and great team camaraderie.
either Galapagos for 3 Weeks
Here you'll stay at the Hacienda Tranquila, a volunteer station on San Cristobal, the easternmost island in the famous archipelago. An island characterised by its charming local culture, beautiful white sandy bays and turquoise seas, not to mention the obligatory curious sea lions, marine iguanas, sharks, pelicans and crabs! This is a fantastic base to experience the unique environment of the Galapagos.
You'll work with local experts on a number of different projects and help to improve the lives of all its inhabitants. By 2020, we aim to have rehabilitated all of the Hacienda’s 50 hectares back to its former, natural state. Once all the land is restored the plan is to reintroduce the endangered Galapagos tortoises.
You'll also work with local special needs children who are referred by social services to horse ride and play games as a form of therapy.
or Andes for 3 Weeks
Volunteers that choose this option spend 3 weeks living in Chilcabamba, a small village high in the mountains, surrounded by ancient volcanoes and thermal springs. Chilcabamba is a wonderful community of traditional Kayambi people; approximately 3 hours drive from Quito.
Volunteer projects include a mix of community and conservation: developments to the community school, expansion of an artisan market built by previous Leap groups, creation of a playground, and assisting families with their livestock and crops.
Experience true high-altitude living at nearly 14,000 feet, surrounded by spectacular rolling hills and snow capped volcanoes, such as Cayambe, which you will have the chance to climb at the weekends. The area is well known for its traditional crafts and markets and locals famous for their colourful ponchos and distinctive panama hats adorned with peacock feathers.
Final ‘Adventure Week’
Enjoy your last week with a well earned action packed break taking in the famous “Ruta de los Volcanoes” (Volcanic Route). You’ll travel from Quito to the Quilotoa Crater Lake to soak up spectacular scenery and explore the waters by kayak. From here it’s off to Baños, where you’ll bike to waterfalls and white-water raft some of Ecuador’s best rapids. Next it’s off to the mighty Chimborazo volcano to see equatorial life above the snowline (how many people can say they’ve done that?) and mountain bike back down the volcano. The week finishes in the town of Riobamba where you can relax, shop and enjoy the sights and sounds of a traditional mountain town.
Extra benefits only available if you stay 10 weeks
We appreciate that many choose the six week option for financial or other reasons but would highly encourage you, if you can, to stay for the full ten weeks – most do.
- We are also very flexible and allow people the choice to extend from six weeks to ten weeks either pre departure, when you know how your fundraising is going or once overseas. The flights booked through STA travel are deliberately flexible to allow you to change your plans.
- Experience a contrasting phase of volunteering in different locations and environments (unique to The Leap), seeing more of the country and its people.
- Visit the world famous Galapagos archipelago, and help to restore dying habitats for the last remaining giant tortoises.
- Experience the thrill of loosing a staring contest with an animal, snorkeling with an amazing array of fearless marine-life (including marine iguanas) and meeting the friendliest sea-lions on earth!
- Live with an amazing Andean family, helping them to trade indigenous crafts and improving the community infrastructure.
- Sample local delicacies of the Andes such as ‘Cuy’ (Guinea Pig!)
- Climb an ancient volcano and kayak across it’s crater, cross the snow-line on the equator and have a ‘Herbal Essences moment’ in the Andes open-air thermally heated spas!
- Longer time to experience the culture and have fun overseas.
- Maximise the value of the international flight, especially if you tag on some independent travel to nearby countries.
First 6 weeks intern phase, followed by 3 weeks of volunteering, last week = adventure week.
On all phases you'll be expected to work Monday - Friday, for about 8 hours a day - BUT please remain flexible!
Your weekends are free to travel but please bring spending money for your free time and for any activities or excursions you choose to do.
- Exploring cloud forests, trekking, climbing Cotopaxi volcano, kayaking, tubing and swimming in the Napo river, white-water rafting, canyoning, caving, or jungle tours, snorkelling, surfing, horseback or hiking and camping trips.
- Explore the Galapagos Islands and Pacific Coastline.
- Donation to the project communities – currently £80 for 6 weeks and £120 for ten weeks - per volunteer
- Selection and briefing on all aspects of the scheme.
- 24-hour emergency back-up, management and support by UK team and in-country Placement Manager and English speaking guide, with reliable communications and infrastructure.
- Safety and induction course on arrival.
- Airport pick up and transfer to and from the placements.
- Food and Accommodation throughout
- Return flights and visas to the Galapagos included
International flights, airport taxes (approx. $40, payable on departure), travel insurance, Ecuador visas (not required for 90 days), medical expenses (reclaimable through travel insurance), soft drinks/beer etc. You responsible for any independent/weekend travel expenses e.g. food and accommodation whilst away from the placement location and any excursions not listed above.
We are happy to arrange flights through STA Travel who are well known for offering good value. Volunteers by their own food provided during the Galapagos and Montanita phase, budget about $10 per day
Your Base - Your Team
Taking the leap is all about team work regardless of which programme or destination you've opted for. We do this for a reason as we find that our Leapers have more fun and are more effective when they travel as a group. They rally each other along and tackle the challenges head on together. We put together the teams, hook you all up via Facebook before hand and set you off on your merry way!
You all travel out and live together in Quito while on a daily basis the ‘Volunteers’ and ‘Interns’ will head off with their respective project leader in the morning and all meet back at the hostel at the end of the day.
There is a maximum of 24 leapers per departure, age 18-27. Minimum of 2 per programme. This includes mix of interns and volunteers. Places will be taken up on a first come first served basis.
Please note that the volunteer leapers will at some point leave Quito to complete projects in other locations but you will all be together at the end if you decide to stay for the last 4 weeks of volunteering.
Three meals per day, clean drinking water and vegetarians can be catered for. Typical food generally consists of rice, beans, pasta and potatoes with some meat and fish and fresh fruit and vegetables.
The Galapagos Islands have a unique climate regulated by the ocean currents. There are two main seasons. January through to June which is generally considered to be the warmest and wettest months whereas June to December are dryer, slightly cooler with more cloud cover. The local people call this season the Garua (misty season) as fog often hangs on the higher elevations. Although the sea is cooler during the Garua, it is the best time to snorkel and observe sea life due to the extensive plankton blooms.
Cool in the mornings, warm during the day and cold at night. Rains from time to time especially in the rainy season between January and April, normally a couple of hours in the afternoon. Driest time is October to December.
Hot and humid; expect rain and thunderstorms in the rainy season normally a couple of hours in the afternoon.
You will only be able to communicate in English to the team leader – the local communities only speak Spanish! It is, therefore, helpful (but not essential!) to speak some basic Spanish before you go and concentrate in your Spanish lessons while on your intern phase.
Donation To The Community
Included in the cost of the scheme is a donation set at the level indicated above. The donation is sent directly to the communities by Yanapuma and the chief of the community decides what it is to be spent on. It helps, alongside other funding, to pay for the materials they need to continue project work. This will be done in a transparent way ensuring you leave a lasting legacy. Given the average monthly wage is approximately £100 per month the donations do actually go far and in the past Leapers have paid for second hand computers, first aid supplies, children’s clothing, developing health care etc.
Please note that as we are paying the project host in US Dollars to cover all in-country costs, and the cost of the placement is set so far ahead, if there is a big change in the exchange rate or fuel increase then we reserve the right to increase the cost of the scheme, as per our Booking Conditions, but will absorb any minor fluctuations, and will give plenty of warning if we have to raise prices slightly.
Quito: You'll stay at the Hostal Otavalo Huasi. This is a fun, clean and comfortable hostel in the city centre close to local amenities such as internet, laundry services, bars and restaurants. The hostal has shared bedrooms, hot water, showers, loos and a lock up where you can leave your belongings. Breakfast is provided and food is supplied for you to cook other meals yourself.
Galapagos: The volunteer house at the Hacienda Tranquila provides a simple yet comfortable accommodation. The house has a large kitchen, and a bathroom with hot water. Volunteers are divided two to each bedroom and you will be responsible for cooking your own food, although this is provided by The Leap.
In the Andes: You'll live in traditional style houses made from cane with a thatched roof. There is electricity, running water and plumbed loo's.
I received my first phone call from Enzo this morning, he sounds so happy and said he is having an amazing time – camping out, eating well and hearing the lions roar at night etc! Today I thought back to the day I phoned Alice and had a long chat about what the holiday is all about. She was so enthusiastic about what she experienced and now my son is having a life time experience - a dream come true!! Tracy Ciucci
It was very comforting to know that the they care about how things were going and would do everything in their power to help if ever there was a problem.
We felt and you proved that our son was in safe hands.
Just a quick note to say that we have Louisa back in one wonderful piece! She thoroughly enjoyed herself in Ecuador - both in Otovalo and the Galapagos and had a great fun in all areas. She has come back with some brilliant stories of spiders, biting sea lions, stormy sea crossings and organised germans in the kitchen! I'm sure she will reap the benefits of this trip for years to come. Thank you so much for helping her to arrange this fantastic holiday. I am so jealous! I've forwarded your details to a friend of ours that might go on a gap year after his A Levels next year.