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Revolutionizing Short-Term Study Abroad

Short-term programming is the new trend in study abroad, yet it is usually associated with a kind of educational tourism. All too often, short term programs perpetuate a top-down (or outside-in) development model, and while well-intentioned, they can hinder community empowerment.  Such programs carry out a colonizing model in study abroad.

Pachaysana approaches short-term programs as we do our semester-long program, with the goal of re-imagining what study abroad is, and what it can be. At the same time, we ask our partners abroad to treat their short time in Ecuador as both a privilege and responsibility, especially when we consider that people in our partner communities do not have the same opportunities.


Thus, as with the Rehearsing Change program, almost everything about our short-term programming is different: 

  • We co-design and co-administer short-term programs with local community educators. Thus, communities are never recipients of services, but key actors and leaders in the entire educational and organizational process.

  • We build critical intercultural consciousness among all participants by focusing on unlearning the systemic and embodied injustices that characterize most intercultural education programming.

  • We take great strides to assure that all programs are integrally linked to our organizational mission and carry out a practical application of sustainable community development (as defined by the host communites). In other words, community development empowers study abroad, and study abroad empowers community development. 

  • Decolonial Education: There is no top-down or outside-in methodology, we respect multiple ways of learning and producing knowledge. All participants are treated as equals and all work is co-created between international students and local counterparts. We welcome and celebrate diverse knowledge in our spaces. 

  • Fair Trade Study Abroad: Communities are provided ample opportunity for growth through these programs, as well as agency and power in deciding what this growth looks like. Long-time community partners are often the leaders and principal facilitators of our short-term groups.  

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