Reciprocity, Growing-into, Decolonization Past Review

By (Williams College) - abroad from 08/18/2017 to 12/18/2017 with

Pachaysana Institute: Ecuador - Rehearsing Change

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Pachaysana is actually supporting local participant communities in changing their systems, from small greenhouses and stages to the stories that circulate in our societies. It was a privilege to take part in that dreaming together.

Review Photos

Pachaysana Institute: Ecuador Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Unlike any courses I've taken before-- extremely experiential, deeply social, co-creating knowledge with local students on equitable terms, expressing through creative and embodied methods, urgently integrated with communities. All by invitation and through genuine partnerships, never exploitative.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Adaptable, conscientious, transparent, with many decisions made collectively. Since it's a small program, the faculty are the staff as well as your guides, and you're interacting with them most days either for class or a walk or hanging out.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Homestays with the sweetest people I've ever met

* Food:

Delicious, incredibly local and fresh in every location

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Pachaysana makes every effort to get both international and local students on a level playing field where everyone can bring their own experiences and perspectives. Minimal tourist vibes.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I felt very well cared-for by my host family, peers, and the program during my microbiome's transition to Ecuador. Herbal teas worked wonders.

* Safety:

Comprehensive safety briefing at the beginning of the program. Substantial monthly allowance for taxis.

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

Rehearsing Change takes Fair Trade education extremely seriously, and is developing a beautiful practice for it in reality.


* 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)


* 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 Spanish in classes, with host families, in the city, and with local friends.

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
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? It took me about three weeks before I felt comfortable with my comprehension, but the more you try to speak the faster that goes!

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? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • loving collectiveness, understanding
  • bomb teaching team & organizational relationships
  • generative real-world projects + creative process
* What could be improved?
  • more people knowing about it
  • more time
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? To let go of cynicism and jadedness, and to never forget each person's humanity, even in times of intense criticality and searching.