“Rehearsing Change… cannot be described in words, but by way of active participation in the program… The people that one meets during Rehearsing Change are incredibly creative and driven, and the impact of those relationships on a student coming the midway point of his/her education at a U.S. university can't be substituted.”
– Kayla Gangemi, American University
"I like how this semester was a collective learning experience. It wasn't just teachers lecturing us; it was everyone learning from everyone."
– Claire Detrick-Jules, Brown University
“It's hard to overstate how much I loved the past four months. I came upon Rehearsing Change by accident, but it's one of the best things that ever happened to me. It's changed my entire perception and imagination of what education can be. It's made me care about education. It's even made me wonder if I want to be an educator of some sort, which I assure you no other class, program, or institution of education has ever made me do. Basically--it mattered to me. It meant something. Because of the classes, excursions, and people, but most of all because of the model of education (that focuses on true learning, exploration, and dialogue instead of memorization / regurgitation), it helped me grow as an activist and as a person. For the first time in my life, I was proud to identify as a student.”
– Alice Markham-Cantor, Wesleyan University
"People need this (Rehearsing Change) and are looking for this too!!!"
– Sophie Schectman, University of Virginia
“Our Rehearsing Change experience was fundamentally shaped by the communities where we lived and studied. In some ways I think Rehearsing Change is more of an Ecuadorian education program that a few incredibly fortunate international students get the chance to do.”
– Ruby Goldberg, Brown University
"We shared experiences, work, and knowledge while working in a team, traveling to many places and exchanging opinions with all. I have so much more to learn and I am ready for the next step."
– Andres Alvarado, Kichwa Community of Tzawata
“This program pushes you to live with and understand others from backgrounds which can differ dramatically from your own. In this program you are not just studying in a country, you're studying with a country. You work alongside people who have new perspectives and ideas that will stick with you.”
– Evan Oravec, American University
"We learned to express ourselves more effectively while discovering more about our own history... extremely important for the exchange of ideas and understanding our world."
– Lupe Romero, Community of Mariscal Sucre
“I was looking for a challenging, different abroad experience, and Rehearsing Change pushed me to reach beyond my potential, forge international friendships, and develop new perspectives... I never could have imagined how rewarding this program would be.”
– Liza Sweitzer, American University
"Rehearsing Change has converted itself into a process of liberating education that has strengthened us as an organization, and encouraging us to work as a collective"
– Comments from the Collective Nina Shunku, written by Shadira Ruiz
“I never imagined a study abroad program could be this rewarding. Rehearsing Change has impacted me in a way I never thought possible. I've made new friends in extraordinary places, study topics I never thought I'd study, and grew as a person in a way I'm truly proud of... The decolonial model of Rehearsing Change should be the new standard for study abroad programs (and normal education) all around the world.”
– Stephanie Kridlo, American University
"Learning to appreciate knowledge that comes from our myth."
"Broadening my knowledge while reconnecting with our roots."
"The wisdom of who I am and where I come from."
"To know that each person has her own story."
"An unforgettable experience because it helped us go beyond the apparent reality of our community"
– Kimberly Alvarado, Kichwa Community of Tzawata, who wrote in bullet points
“This was the most liberating educational experience I have had in my 21 years of learning. Although considered "higher education", I felt I held agency as a student and thinker and felt space and encouragement to grow and share in fullness.”
– Bronte Velez, Brandeis University
“This really molded my perspectives on justice, system change, and solidarity. I uncovered my personal story, the power of creativity, liberation through art, organization, and ecology, and the need to use new relationships as a foundation for an alternative future.”
– Anthony Torres, American University
“(Rehearsing Change) pushed me so much, or pushed me to push myself so much. I feel like a bigger person - I'd like to think that I am not only more compassionate and sensitive, but also generally aware of more. It especially inspired me to continue my pursuit of something I wasn't entirely sure I could achieve - sustainable community development and cultural empowerment based in mutual relationships rather than from the top/down or outside/in.”
– Ellie Rice, Juniata College
“An incredible experience. I never imagined that an Ecuadorian and North American had so much in common.”
– Edil Cabrera, Community Participant from Mariscal Sucre
"(I am) able to support my community with the knowledge I gained.”
– Andres Alvarado, Community Participant from Tzawata
“A give and take of knowledge, experiences, problems, and to realize we are fighting for a free world and a greater level of consciousness.”
– Daniel Acosta, Community Participant from Nina Shunku (Quito)
“I learned that my body is also a means of expression for resolving conflicts, a tool for empowerment... I broke through fears and paradigms... it was beautiful to see the transformation and evolution of everyone.”
– Chandra Bali Arape, Visiting Venezuelan Community Participant from Nina Shunku (Quito)
“Thank you so much for offering us such a life changing experience. I'll never view tourism and study abroad the same again.”
“…one of the most enriching and eye-opening experiences of my entire life.”
– Katie Collins, Denison University
(crossing the river with Juan Kunchikuy)
“The knowledge that I gained and had the opportunity to share still does not seem real to me yet.”
- Maria Nachbor, Juniata College
(sitting with children of the community Mariscal Sucre)
“An experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
– Aliese Gingerich, Eastern Menonite University
(playing a Theatre for Social Change game)
“We want more experiences like this. My eyes are open to new things. We have to show solidarity with our indigenous brothers.”
- Roive Yumbla, community Mariscal Sucre
(Pictured recreating a scene of our experiences with a Shaman)
“The Toxic Tour was unforgettable, we never had a clue that this kind of thing exists, and we are very sad to see the contamination and the affected people who live in the oil areas. But it was also pleasurable because we did it together with the foreigners. ”
- Fray Rivera community Mariscal Sucre (Pictured crawling.)
“your love of this work and the work itself are huge inspirations for me!”
– Kayla Meyers, Elizabethtown College (Playing an improvisation game with David, an amazing child from the community of Mariscal)
"The Rehearsing Change program in Ecuador is truly like no other. In its creative use of arts-based methodologies within a rigorous academic structure and based in an immersive living environment with local communities, students are challenged in new ways to use their education to 'be the change they want to see in the world'. American University is excited to be one of Pachaysana Institute's new partners."
Sara Dumont. Director, AU Abroad (American University)
"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
"One of the most creative, innovative, exciting, original, and extremely bright students I've had in decades at Brandeis was a pioneer in your program. A woman of great energy, discernment, and determination, she was thrilled with the program and raved about it from Ecuador and after her return to college. The program opened up so much both for and in her. I envied her the experience with you and hope I will be able to persuade other students to trod that path that took my student to you."
Dr. Gordon Fellman, Professor of Sociology and Chair, Peace, Conflict, and Coexistence Studies (Brandeis University)
"Rehearsing Change is a beautifully conceived, meticulously run project of intellectual scope and great heart. Reciprocal, hands-on, immersive, and interdisciplinary, it is solid pedagogy. While I haven't had the good fortune of joining the team in Ecuador, all signs point to an indelible experience."
Erik Ehn. Professor, Department of Theatre and Performance Studies (Brown University)
"Rehearsing Change is a revolutionary educational program that shows us how to blend local needs and interests with international student needs and interests. On a basic level, it presents a way for members of various communities to work together creating tangible solutions to real problems, while offering rigorous, stimulating college-level coursework. On a broader level, it inspires each educator and learner to work harder, think bigger, and remain truer to our ideals of justice and peace."
Erika Ryser-Garcia. Assistant Vice President of Progam Management and Development (Institute for Study Abroad - Butler University)
"Rehearsing Change did a superb job of conducting a workshop and lecture for my classes on sustainable development at the University of Texas. They have assembled a team of outstanding quality bridging the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Their new international program has my highest possible recommendation."
Dr. Gregory Knapp, Associate Professor of Geography (University of Texas at Austin)
"Your presentation / workshop with my students was so meaningful, useful, and stimulating. The Image Sculpting showed us all a different, creative, and intellectually energizing way to reconceive how we make art that is designed for positive transformation within individuals, communities, and societies."
Elmo Terry-Morgan. Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Theatre and Performance Studies and Artistic Director of Rites and Reason Theatre (Brown University)
Friends and Former Program Participants
Please send us your photos and testimonials to be uploaded on our webpage and/or Facebook pages.