Reports from the Field

Supporting Livelihoods and Creating Value Chains with Farmers in the Amazon

Agroforestry-&-Environmental-Development INternship


“I found my internship program through googling everything about South America, craving for new adventures. When I found the opportunity to create value chains for rainforest products to support indigenous people and the sustainable use of the nature, I was hooked.

The house interns live is huge, with chickens living in the yard and a small river for your morning bath right behind the house. The first few days we did orientation and learned tons about Ecuador, Kichwa-culture, and how the organization works. Not to forget all the epic nature hikes, waterfalls and jungle adventures we were immersed in from the very first moment.

As I had studied International Business, my main activities as an intern were creating business plans and doing marketing research for possible products Kichwa-farmers could produce and sell from their agroforestry-systems. I was mind blown during the first weeks as I learned tons about agriculture, food production, and the problems current ways of producing food has throughout the world. Usually, I spent three days a week doing research and writing in the office alongside the program staff and other interns, and two days visiting communities and agroforestry farms to conduct surveys, observe meetings, or investigate a project. Weekends were saved for epic adventures around the Amazon and beyond.

The biggest challenge was definitely learning and using the Spanish language, since I really did not speak any when I arrived to Ecuador. Luckily, the work in the office was mainly in English and the people working in the organization are extremely qualified, which made the whole experience even more fruitful for my future studies and work. The lack of Spanish skills made me feel that I did not get everything out of the local culture I could have, however that just sparked my motivation to study harder and learn the language. Now, after my time interning, I feel very comfortable with Spanish and can even give presentations and participate in meetings all in Spanish!

Whether you study business, logistics, the environment, biology or medicine, this internship will definitely fulfill your expectations. After this experience I have a clear vision what I really want to study and do in the future, which is the reason I jumped into this learning adventure in the first place!”

Agroforestry & Environmental Development Internships in Ecuador


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Mattie Laukkanen