Rehearsing Change on Ecuador's Stage Past Review

By (American University) - abroad from 01/04/2016 to 05/06/2016 with

Pachaysana Institute: Ecuador - Rehearsing Change

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Rehearsing Change helped me see my education in a new light with a new critical lens. I have never participated in such meaningful classes nor done such meaningful homework. I watched myself and my counterparts grow with every project and every presentation. I shared very personal stories of successes, failures, vulnerabilities, and strengths with people who I never imagined I would communicate with. In doing so, I discovered so much more of my own personality and self-identity. To put it briefly, yes. This program was completely worthwhile.

Review Photos

Pachaysana Institute: Ecuador Photo Pachaysana Institute: Ecuador Photo Pachaysana Institute: Ecuador Photo Pachaysana Institute: Ecuador Photo Pachaysana Institute: Ecuador Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academic portion of Rehearsing Change is not your traditional style of academics. The classes are community-based, meaning students work with local counterparts on themes and projects relevant to the goals of the communities. The classwork is intense, but in the sense that it pushes you to be creative, innovative, and extremely conscious. I have never done more meaningful homework in my life.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There was always constant support and direction coming from the administrative leaders of Rehearsing Change in Ecuador. Daniel Bryan, the program's director, is always reachable and ready to help in any circumstance.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I couldn't have been happier with the host family that Rehearsing Change found for me. Rehearsing Change is fantastic at finding great host families and pairing them with international students.

* Food:

The majority of the food is provided by host families. Even the simplest things are delicious, and host families are great at adapting to dietary needs and restrictions.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The whole point of Rehearsing Change is to integrate into local cultures. I experienced a near, full integration into all the communities we studied in and with. Be that an arts activist collective in Quito or an indigenous community in the Amazon.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Rehearsing Change is very concerned and attentive to the health of its students. From the first day, students are informed of options for medical treatment in the area and are told to inform their director or host family when they start to feel ill. Host families do an incredible job taking care of ailing students (I know from experience). Not to mention, if students are open to the idea of natural medicine, many of the members of the Amazon communities can offer that as well.

* Safety:

Rehearsing Change takes students' safety very seriously in addition to their health. Upon arrival to the program, myself and the other internationals received a very intensive orientation about safety and how to stay safe. Quito is not the safest city; crime rates were high when I studied there. But I never felt unsafe thanks to the tips and advice I received from Daniel Bryan (director of Rehearsing Change).

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Rehearsing Change is so unique and is, I think, one of the best study abroad programs on the market today. It's fair trade, decolonial education is something I think every college student should experience.


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Conveniently, Ecuador uses the American dollar, and Ecuador is significantly cheaper than the U.S. I only spent a couple hundred dollars during my abroad - that includes travel for spring break and other trips.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $10-$20


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

Rehearsing Change is all about community engagement and participation, so talking is essential. My Spanish skills were put to the test, but it was worth it.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Intermediate II Spanish
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? In terms of Spanish, my advice would be to have a good grasp on vocabulary, sentence structure, and verb conjugations before going abroad. Also, practice speaking! Whether at home or abroad that is how you are going to become fluent.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • Host Family
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • Other
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Community-based learning with local counterparts
  • Living in Quito and two Amazon communities
  • Excursions that allowed us to explore and really discover Ecuador.
* What could be improved?
  • More time.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had chosen and registered for an independent study before going on the program. There are so many opportunities to volunteer, research, and intern, and there's so much more that can be learned from the communities that Pachaysana Institute works with.