A program that feels like a family! Past Review

By (Carleton College) - abroad from 08/12/2017 to 12/12/2017 with

Pachaysana Institute: Ecuador - Rehearsing Change

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained perspective. Living and taking classes with local community members opened my eyes to a lived reality that I had previously known next to nothing about. The program broke down my western perceptions of "community development" and I made some new friends that have taught me so much. I also gained a family in Pachaysana -- the coordinators, participants, and host families are all wonderful and remain an important part of my life!

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.

Classes are with community members and I learned the most by simply doing classwork and having conversations with them. Classes are all very active and discussion/action based. Out of class work involves interesting readings and independent projects, but it won't detract from your ability to spend time with your host family and explore your surroundings!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Pachaysana is like a family! The program coordinators are always there for you, have real relationships with the host communities, and are an integral part of the program.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host families were what made this program so special---they were truly some of the most welcoming people I've ever met and made me feel at home while I was abroad.

* Food:

The host families cook amazing meals -- and will even teach you if you ask. You also get the chance to explore some of Quito's cute lunch shops. Vegetarian and vegan is definitely possible.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Taking classes with community members and living with families in the community made me feel very connected to the local culture.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Quito is pretty safe and I never felt unsafe. There a some precautions (like being careful where you go at night) and the program coordinators are great about giving advise.

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

This program was an incredible experience that has reshaped the way I see the world!


* 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)

you can get lunches for $3!

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

all classes are in spanish

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? I completed the equivalent of 5 university courses
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? speak spanish with the other american students!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Classes
  • Host families
* What could be improved?
  • more students -- could be you (:
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The program classes will cover some pretty heavy topics at some points -- it was eye-opening and felt very important, but good to know before you go.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'