FAQS

These are questions and answers geared toward international students, their home university advisors and family members. Specifically for administrators, we are happy to send additional documentation, covering topics such as safety, health, "Fair Trade Study Abroad" objectives, etc.

Are you accepting applications for the Spring 2022 semester of Rehearsing Change?


We are accepting applications until the late application deadline of November 12. If space remains, we will accomodate students who need a last minute alternative. Please write us at info@rehearsingchange.org with your inquiries.




What happens if I am accepted and the program ends up being cancelled by Pachaysana or by my university before I arrive?


As we did for the Fall 2021 semester, we have designed a very flexible policy for suspension/cancellation and can readily adapt to almost any situation. Our plans can be found on the COVID-19 Updates page. If for some reason, programming is cancelled or suspended (which is extremely doubtful), all of our courses will transition online and students will have no academic reprucussions. Students are also permitted to transition to remote learning at any moment during the semester, regardless of their reasoning.




What happens if I have to leave the country during the semester?


Regardless of the reason, our COVID-19 plans include easy transitions to remote learning for any student that needs to leave country during the semester. Regarding refunds, we differentiate a student’s transition to remote learning based on who makes the decision, whether the student is asked to transition by Pachaysana or the sending school or whether the student voluntarily makes the decision. Please click here for more information.




What protocols are being put into place to protect students' health and wellbeing?


Our Spring 2022 programming is updated on a monthly basis, and with each update, we create a new set of protocols to prioritize the health and wellness of both international students and local community counterparts. Depending on the situation at a given time, these protocols may include regular testing, social-distancing, mandatory mask-wearing, and quarantines (as needed). As of October 2021, Ecuador's health system is operating at normal capacity and the clinics/hospitals with which we work report no shortages in staff or resources. Please refer to our COVID-19 Updates page.




What Summer programming options are being considered?


Since many students will not have had the chance to study abroad during the normal academic year, we are considering offering a full-credit-bearing summer term of Rehearsing Change in 2022. This summer term would act as an additional semester of Rehearsing Change, with the same courses and educational model. Let us know if you have interest and we will include you on an email list. We also plan on re-opening our short-term abroad programs in May, 2022.




How has the pandemic impacted Pachaysana's partner communities in Ecuador?


While COVID has entered all of our partner communities, luckily they have experienced almost no fatalities (all of our host families and regular program participants are safe and healthy). Of course, many families are struggling in different ways, especially economically, and Pachaysana has been able to support with humanitarian aid when most needed. Yet, the communities continue to show incredible resilience, solidarity, and care for the collective wellbeing, and we continue to be inspired by them. With greater internet connectivity, many of our community participants have been able to engage our From the Cracks programming and we are happy to announce that our Fall 2021 semester includes participation from the communities of Pintag, La Mariscal and the collective Machankara.




Are Pachaysana's partner communities safe places to be during the pandemic?


We continue to monitor the safety in each one of our partner communities, and strongly believe that our rural partner communities in the Ecuadorian Andes & Amazon are some of the safest places to be during the public health crisis. Since our partner communities are small, rural, and relatively isolated, viruses do not spread nearly as quickly as in major cities. Additionally, Ecuador's vaccination campaign has now reached all of our partner communities and by the Spring 2022 semester, we anticipate a vaccination rate of approximately 80% of all inhabitants in those communities. That said, if any factors in the local communities demonstrate unacceptable risk, we will transition to the pod-style learning we employed in our Fall 2021 semester.




How has your programming-as-usual been impacted by the pandemic?


As with almost all exchange programs, we suspended most of our in-country programming from March, 2020 until August, 2021, when we began our gradual return to regular study abroad, including semesters of Rehearsing Change and Short-Term Programs. We are happy to say that our carefully planned protocols mixed with Ecuador's excellent vaccination plan have resulted in an extremely safe program for students and local participants. During the pandemic we transitioned our programming online, where we have re-imagined our decolonial educational model for virtual learning. The success of this programming has led us to open up ongoing virtual learning spaces as regular Pachaysana offerings, including our "From the Cracks" program with fully accredited university courses and "unlearning" webinars and workshops. Click here to learn more about our current online programming.




Are students required to be vaccinated?


Students are required to arrive vaccinated unless they cannot do so because of religious or medical reasons. We will only accept a non-vaccinated student in careful consultation with their home college/university, meaning that the student's home school must write us a letter of support for the students and the student must continue to follow all rules, regulations and agreements from the home school. In the case that a student does not arrive vaccinated, the Ecuadorian government will require a quarantine for no less than 8 days upon arrival in country and take a PCR test to begin the program. Students will be expected to financially support this first quarantine and PCR test. Once they are officially in the cohort, Pachaysana assumes responsibility for financially supporting quarantines and testing. Unvaccinated students are also required to complete an additional waiver form and agreement with Pachaysana.





Covid-19

How do I apply to study abroad with Rehearsing Change?


Please click here to go to our Application page where you should find sufficient information and download an application. We use an "old school" application, which allows us to not charge an application fee. If you have questions, do not hesitate to write us directly.




What do you mean by decolonial education?


“Decolonial” refers to equity. 1) Create a reciprocal relationship and co-create the program with local partners 2) Integrate local knowledge (& epistemologies) into all forms of learning, and 3) Focus on learning, but apply in practice/projects Our model of decolonial education re-imagines and re-creates how we do education.There is no top-down or outside-in methodology, rather we place our energy towards collective creation. This creation is rooted in liberation, play, movement, and our individual and collective stories. We respect, encourage, and celebrate 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. Our model inherently resists traditional, colonial systems of education, aims to critically explore the dominant narratives of oppression, and continuously re-imagine just alternatives.




What is fair-trade study abroad & why should I care about it?


“Fair Trade” refers to equality. 1) Provide equal educational benefits for an equal or greater amount of local community participants 2) Understand formal and non-formal education as equally valuable, and 3) Divide available funding equally Each year our world becomes more and more interconnected; however, this does not mean it is becoming more just. Education is likely the most powerful tool for inspiring individual and/or social change. However, the opportunities for quality education are not fairly distributed. Thousands of international students receive the opportunity to study in countries like Ecuador each year, and there are many programs that provide those students with a top-notch education. Yet, we cannot forget that these students learn from, within or because of Ecuadorian communities. What do these Ecuadorian communities receive in return? (We speak not of the fortunate students to already be studying at Ecuador’s premiere universities, but of the community members who either serve that university, or serve the students in some way.) Fair Trade Study Abroad is a movement that strives to provide equal or greater educational opportunities to an equal or greater amount of community participants, meaning a student's tuition pays for the participation of the student and at least one community counterpart. They study and work together throughout the course of the semester. Thus, our model changes the very structures of how we do education in a globalized society.




How do I know that the credit will transfer to my university?


We have agreements with all of our partner universities that allow the easy transfer of credits. If your university does not have an agreement with Rehearsing Change (meaning we are not on their list of accepted international programs), it is the student’s responsibility to speak with their study abroad advisor to assure that credits will transfer. Be sure to tell your advisors that our program is accredited by Juniata College (PA), which will provide you with your transcript shortly after the conclusion of the semester. If there are questions, whether from the student or advisor, we encourage them to write us directly at info@rehearsingchange.org




How much does Rehearsing Change cost?


Our costs change slightly due to the nature of our program. Certain semesters will have slightly higher costs than others because of the location of our host community. At this time, the combined tuition & fees are $15,215. In most cases, we will have an official agreement with your school, meaning that all the financial arrangements will take place between you and your university/college. Your school would then arrange for payment with us.




What does my tuition pay for?


The comprehensive fee includes academic tuition, room and board (three meals per day), as well as regular academic advising. It includes all local transportation for program activities, orientation and the counterpart scholarship (an income off-set plan that allows the student’s counterpart to participate 3 to 4 hours per day for the entire semester). It also includes the following excursion costs: transportation to and from excursion sites, lodging and meals and activity fees for the international student and the community counterparts. It does not cover daily commuting costs for students during our Quito semesters or personal student travel, meals and lodging during the mid-semester break and other short vacations. Finally, it contributes to a Projects Fund that finances a project designed by the semester's cohort of international students and local counterparts to benefit the host community as part of our Design and Evaluation of Sustainable Projects course.




I go to a state school. Why is Rehearsing Change tuition higher than my US university tuition?


Our tuition is very competitive to other semester-long programs located in Ecuador, even less expensive in almost all cases. That being said, we understand that our tuition is higher than many international universities, most especially public institutions. However, the international student tuition pays for the counterpart’s educational experience, which means we are stretching these funds to serve community needs. It is basically a "2 for the price of 1" tuition model.




Are there scholarships available?


There are no regular scholarships available; however, we actively pursue donations to provide need-based scholarships. Please write us to ask if we have funding available for the semester for which you are applying.




I don’t want to or can’t study abroad for an entire semester; do you have short-term programs available?


We have to be extremely careful with short-term programming since such experiences often come across as tourism and do not serve community needs. That being said, many of our partner communities have accumlated such significant experience in working with international students that we are now co-creting customized programs between colleges/universities abroad and local Ecuadorian communities. In these programs, we maintain our fair-trade commitment by delegating leadership to experienced community counterparts. At this time, we only work with pre-arranged groups from partner colleges and universities, meaning that there are not opportunities for individual students to join existing short-term groups. Click here for more information.




Does Rehearsing Change provide insurance?


Rehearsing Change does not provide health and emergency insurance to students; however, we do offer need-based health insurance scholarships. If your home school does not provide you with the necessary insurance coverage, which you can find on our application, please inquire about applying for the health insurance scholarship via email.




What requirements does Rehearsing Change have of its applicants?


While we do have certain application requirements, we are willing to be flexible and view all of our applications on a case-by-case basis; we understand that someone's GPA does not tell their whole story. That said: as pre-requisites, successful applicants are generally expected to have an advanced level of Spanish (at least 4 semesters of university-level coursework or demonstrated equivalency). Students who do not meet this requirement will be interviewed in Spanish via Zoom to judge speaking and listening abilities. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the program, there are no other strict coursework pre-requisites for admission. Of course, students must be excited about living in challenging circumstances without certain amenities. Click here for more information on our requirements.




Is there an application fee? Is there a program deposit?


There is no application fee and we do not require a program deposit.




What is Rehearsing Change's refund policy?


We have a slightly stricter refund policy than some programs because of our work with local communities. For each international student, we invite at least one local counterpart to participate in the same program. If there is an international student withdrawal, we do all we can to maintain the participation of the local counterpart. At this time, we refer you to our Spring 2022 plans document, since we have a special refund policy during the pandemic.




Where can we find you on social media?


Our Spanish-language Facebook page is Pachaysana and our English-language, study-abroad Facebook page is Rehearsing Change: Study Abroad. We also have an instagram, @rehearsing.change, where you can find regular updates on our programming.




Where will my transcript from my semester abroad with Rehearsing Change come from?


Your official transcript comes from our accrediting university in the U.S., Juniata College, in partnership with Pachsayana. You will be able to access copies at your convenience through National Clearing House.




I am paying my tuition, fees, room and board directly to Pachaysana. Do you offer payment plan options?


Full tuition and all fees are due one month prior to the start of the program; however, payment plans are available upon request. Usually we divide the costs into 4 equal payments paid monthly starting the month before the program, but are happy to arrange a special plan for each student. Please note that transcripts will not be available until the final payment is received.





Rehearsing change

Is living in the Amazon Rainforest dangerous?


The Amazon rainforest does provide its share of obstacles, but most of them are unlikely to affect students. These include exposure to heat and humidity, the prevalence of insects, the very slight possibility of spider or snake bites, twisting an ankle or similar injuries due to the nature of rainforest trails, etc. While these are risks that all students must take into consideration, the possibility of a major health issue is extremely minimal. Chances of a safety incident in the Amazon, meaning a robbery or assault, are extremely low. Rehearsing Change takes the necessary precautions to prevent health and safety problems, and chooses its sites in accordance to reasonable access to medical resources/facilities. We also provide an extensive health and safety orientation in Quito.




Do I need to take malaria medication the entire time?


This is a decision that the student must make with his/her family and a medical professional. What we can offer are comments made by medical professionals in Ecuador, most specifically that there has not been a case of Malaria near our communities for many years. In the area of our current counterpart community, it has been more than a decade since a case of malaria. World Health Organization statistics show near eradication, measured at 0.14 cases per 1000 inhabitants in the entire Ecuador Amazon region.




What vaccinations are required?


There are likely no required vaccines; however, each semester is a bit different and sometimes we go into one of Ecuador's national parks that does require a Yellow Fever vaccination. If this is the case in your semester, we will let you know so you can decide whether to get it in the U.S. or in Ecuador, where it is either free through the public health system or very inexpensive (approximately $25) through the private system, which is much cheaper than the cost in the US. Other vaccinations are recommended by medical professionals, so please consult with your family physician.





Amazon-Specific