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Parent Information



Pachaysana is 100% committed to creating an experience that fulfills the needs & objectives of our students and partner communities. Pachaysana does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status, in any of its activities or operations. We respect and promote all forms of creating and expressing knowledge and identity. We seek to create spaces free of violence of any kind, where all feel safe to share and engage in fullness. We engage continuously in processes of reflection on how we can best support those with vulnerable identities in our spaces. 

It is both exciting and scary when your child decides to study abroad, and surely many questions come to mind. On this page, Pachaysana offers extra information for parents.

Rehearsing Change is different from any other study abroad program in the world; thus, if you want to fully understand what we do, it will require careful reading of this entire site. Here, we categorize the most common questions according to the subjects below. We also hope you will visit other pages, such as the Testimonials page where you will find what previous students and community partners have said. If you do not find what you are looking for in these pages, do not hesitate to write us directly.

Note that we value the privacy and independence of our students. Once they have been accepted into our program, all our communications must include a copy to the student. Once a student is "on the ground" and studying with us, unless there is an emergency, we will not communicate with parents without the full knowledge and permission of the student and their home school.


"My husband and I want to extend a sincere thank you for offering the Rehearsing Change study abroad program to your students. Our daughter, Liza, spent her 2016 spring semester in Ecuador and returned to the U.S. with experiences she could never have had in a traditional classroom setting. The program's unique approach to learning gave her insight to the diverse lifestyles, goals and challenges of the people in both Quito and the Amazon." 

Sherry Sweitzer, in a letter to American University

Health & Safety

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Because our programs are carried out predominantly in rural areas, our semesters provide a more significant health risk than safety risk. 

Rural Amazon and Highlands communities have almost no safety risks; however, due to varied temperatures (higher in the Amazon and lower in the Andes), changes in diet and the prevalence of insects, we spend extra time on health preparedness. The most typical problems are intestinal issues simply due to changes in diet. That being said, our host families are truly amazing and have adapted to the more sensitive stomachs. What's more, the food is completely natural, and vegetarians, as well as other special diet needs, are very welcome. We have experienced no issues with insect-born diseases (as they are not really present in our host communities); however, students who live in the Amazon should consult their doctor about taking preventative malaria meds.

None of our communities are isolated deep in the rain forest, and all are accessible by car. We are extremely prepared for medical emergencies and are ready to move students to a medical facility if it should be needed. We always have our own ground transportation on site and travel time to clinics and hospitals (depending on their level of attention) are 45 minutes to 2 hours away. If we need to get to Quito, we can make the journey from our furthest partner communties in 3 to 4 hours.

We rarely carry out extensive programming in Quito, a bustling urban center with nearly 3 million people; however, we do visit. Students need to practice sound awareness and common sense to prevent incidents. As a matter of preparation, Pachaysana provides the most extensive orientation of any study abroad program in Ecuador, with a week of immersive sessions. Regarding health care, rest assured that Quito has some of the best health facilities in Latin America with several excellent hospitals and clinics.

Natural Disasters: While earthquakes are more common in the coastal region, Quito does experience the occassional tremor. There are some nearby active volcanoes, albeit none are of a primary concern to our program sites. For all cases, Pachaysana has an Emergency Action Plan, which we regularly update according to potential threats.

Student emergencies: We believe in preparedness and being able to respond to any urgent matter with immediate action. In addition to our Resident Director, we have an entire team of coordinators who are on call 24-hours a day.​

More than anything else, our students' parents are concerned about the health and safety of their children. We appreciate your trust and by no means take it lightly. Please feel free to contact us with questions or concerns.

Living conditions

In all of our partner communities, international students live with host families. We have known and worked with most of these families for many years, and they are well adapted to international students and very prepared to deal with diverse diets and living habits. That being said, we ask students to adapt to the community and family customs. Accommodations are humble but extremely comfortable. Parents have visited our students in the past and lived comfortably in the same conditions. Pachaysana staff member is in the community at all times (24/7) during the semester.

In the Amazon & Andean rural communities, conditions vary greatly. In some communities, students have their own host family, and in others they live 2 per family, sometimes sharing a room. All meals are with the family or shared with larger groups from the host community. In the Amazon, all rooms are either completely screened in, or the beds will have mosquito nets. In some communities, bathrooms are inside the house, but in some cases they are outside the house. In a select few partner communities, students live in a guest housing similar to a dorm, sometimes with as much as 4 students sharing bunk beds in one room. In this case, they eat their meals in a community dining hall.

In Quito, we either stay as a group in a hostel or AirBnB, or students live with middle-class families, typically one student per family. Neighborhoods are safe and the homes are very comfortable. Rooms are private but most bathrooms are shared. Homes are older, which does mean that they can be quite drafty. 

Our people

The Rehearsing Change team is truly a family. Our Resident Director, Executive Director, coordinators, and faculty are all close friends who are fully committed to our mission. We believe all are equals (local community members, international students and faculty) and, each semester, we invite our students to share and grow with us. Pachaysana's Executive Director, Daniel Bryan, has more than 15 years of experience in international education. In addition to being one of our main faculty members, he is also an expert in health and safety. Sarah Lyon, Resident Director, and Daniel Acosta, Community Coordinator, are both leading young professionals in the field, and are with us on a day to day basis. Together with our local community counterparts (including host families), these are the main people who will constitute the student's Ecuadorian family.

In addition to the personalized approach to each and every student, our team are experienced program administrators and renowned educators. We like to believe that you would be hard-pressed to find such quality anywhere in the world.


Logistical: What to pack, what are specific notes that will help students get ready for life in partner communities? This is almost all covered in a Pre-Departure handbook that we send to students. (Parents can request a copy of this handbook ahead of time via email.) Then, we set up a private WhatsApp group so that all incoming students can ask questions and see everyone's responses. Finally, we have one or more pre-departure orientation via Zoom calls in the weeks leading up to departure to Ecuador. Here, everyone can get to know each other and ask real-time questions.

Technical: Some of the hardest stuff is getting all the paperwork done as well as completing bureaucratic processes. After our application, students must complete a health certification form in cooperation with a physician, officially enroll with our School of Record, Juniata College, and make their travel plans.

Visas and Vaccines: Students do not need a student visa for our semester-long program. Instead, as instructed by Ecuador's migration office in the Ministry of the Interior, our students should enter as tourists and extend their visa before it expires at 90 days. This has a cost of approximately $150. While they are responsible for paying the fee, we will assist them with this process.

No vaccines are required for our program; however, we recommend that students consult with their family physician (or school clinic) to decide if certain vaccines are right for youl (We also recommend consulting the CDC website.



All of our partner communitiers have high-speed internet connections. While this does not guarantee each host family has internet in their home, it does mean that students can easily access a connection (usually walking less than 5 minutes). Please do note that the electricity can go out (usually a couple of times per semester) and this means your children may go several hours without connection.

If students want to have cellphone call capabilities or data, we recommend they come with an unblocked cell that will work with a local SIM card. Most students get a SIM and then put on pre-paid minutes every month. Since the need for cell calls is limited, we notice that students spend between $10 and $15 per month. With regards to communicating back home, most students use Zoom and WhatsApp or similar programs.


Pachaysana will only communicate with student families in the event of an emergency and with permission from the home school. If we believe that parents might have cause for concern (for example, in April 2016, there was an earthquake in Ecuador's coastal region), we will send out regular health and safety briefings to the home school partners and they will send them to parents. 

Costs & Payments

In almost all cases, our students attend universities that have formal agreements with us, meaning that students' families pay the university and the university pays us. In other cases, families or students pay us directly, and sometimes students just pay our room/board costs. As of Spring 2024, the direct tuition and fees cost is $16,250 for the semester, of which $3,325 is the cost of room/board. If you would like to understand more about what these costs cover, please visit our FAQs page. There you can also learn more about our cancellation and reimbursement policies.

Partner Orgs

Pachaysana is a non-profit organization that excels due to strong networks. Our most important partners are the communities with whom we live and work. We build relationships and trust over a period of years before we invite students into the communities. When parents talk to students about our communities, they are immediately set at ease because they can sense how much the community members are caring for their child. The community is clearly our greatest ally for all needs.

Our academic partner, Juniata College, accredits our programming and provides the final academic transcript to our students. To date we have had no issues with transferring credits. 

We also maintain numerous local partnerships that build our support system. Examples include our friends at Fundación Quito Eterno, the Nina Shunku Association and our many host communities.

Our extensive and carefully crafted partnerships provide our small organization with a large organization infrastructure.

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