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Designing your program

Designing short-term programs is like collective dreaming. It usually works like this:
  • We begin a dialogue with university faculty and/or staff to determine how we should structure your program. (In the case of an Alternative Break, we sometimes speak directly with a student group).-
  • We ask if you have a course already planned or if we should plan on creating a course together
  • We talk about how you want to personalize the program for your learning community (maybe you have a discipline-specific course that will attract a certain kind of student, or maybe you have a more general course that will attract a diverse array of students).
  • We ask how long you plan to stay in country
  • We discuss whether or not you want to base the experience primarily in one or two communities or if you prefer a program that travels extensively.
  • We then provide recommendations with regards to specific community partners (and host communities), potential local educators/speakers that can contribute, ideas for travel destinations and more.
  • We also discuss how we envision this program playing a role in our Fair Trade/Decolonial model
  • Finally, through a continued dialogue among the Pachaysana team, local community partners, and the contracting institution, we create a detailed program that focuses on providing a unique and transformative opportunity for learning and growth for all involved. 

    While we usually work with professors in creating these programs, we welcome input and interest from students as well. If you are a university student who would like to learn more about how to make these programs available at your institution, please reach out to us using the form found at the bottom of the page.

The Experience can be lead by...

UNC Asheville visit to Yasuni National Parl, Tiputini, Environmental Education, Ecuadorian Amazon Rainforest

Pachasyana Faculty

In this scenario, our faculty and community educators work with the contracting institution to design the curriculum and community-engagement component. We either teach or co-teach the courses and lead non-formal education activities. Depending on the specific program, one or more of our faculty take on roles as instructors of record. Our faculty come from diverse backgrounds and can teach in the areas of Community Development, Human Geography (Natural Resource Extraction on Ancestral Lands), Peace and Conflict Studies, Community-Based Tourism, Storytelling for Social Change, Identity in a Globalized World, Socio-linguistics and Endangered Languages, Community Engagement/Critical Service Learning, Popular Education Methodologies, Humanities, Ecuadorian Literature, Ecuadorian History, Art as Resistance, Dance as Multicultural Dialogue, Hip-Hop Movements in Ecuador, Participatory Action Research, and Decolonial Education.

Home university faculty

In this scenario, often referred to as "customized programs," our team works with the contracting institution to provide in country logistical support to fulfill its educational needs. We still require that the program fulfill our Fair Trade model and that local communities are provided with ample opportunity to grow and learn from the experience. Unlike other faculty-led programs, we will challenge the contracting institution to go beyond a regular short-term course and to include local educators and knowledge-holders in every aspect of the program. The inclusion of locals refers to more than contracting services from host communities; rather, it implies developing projects hand-in-hand that benefit all participants equally.

UNC Asheville, theatre for social change workshop, Pintag, community engagement

The experience can be...

Turning grains into flour, community service, traditional foods, ancestral traditions

These short term programs are focused on an extended stay with one or two of our partner communities. In this case, coursework is tied directly to a grassroots development project, in which we work together with local counterparts. By living with one or two communities, participants have a chance to really get to know their local counterparts and grow together. The projects we create are proposed by the host community and fulfill real-life needs based on clear, achievable objectives. The community-based experience can be adjoined to a program that Pachaysana is teaching or one that is being taught by home school faculty. In most cases, we focus on the Amazon and Andes regions, or with partner communities in Quito; however, we also maintain partnerships in other parts of the country and can arrange for visits to the coast or Galapagos. 


These short term programs are focused on visiting several of our partner communities for a few days each, as well as other destinations such as Cuyabeno National Park in the Amazon Rainforest or the Galapagos Islands. In this case, we do not work on grassroots development projects together with local counterparts; rather, the local participants lead our short stays by sharing their stories and teaching us about their traditions. In essence, they become our community-based educators. Each community stay focuses on a particular theme that can be built into a course led by home school faculty or Pachaysana faculty. Most of our travel programs split evenly between the Amazon and Andes regions with extended time in Quito. For those who want to visit the Coast or Galapagos Islands, we do maintain partnerships in those parts of the country as well. 

Visit to Cochasqui ruins, Quitu Cars, Learning wtih Llamas


Interested in partnering with us on a short-term program?

Contact Us

Thanks for your interest!

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