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Rehearsing Change rethinks what study abroad is, and what it can be. Years of experience in international education led our founders to the realization that we are barely scratching the surface of its potential.  While well-intentioned, study abroad can actually perpetuate a hierarchical relationship between the academy (universities and large study abroad program providers) and local communities, especially in the Global South. Such top-down (or outside-in) education models can even hinder community empowerment.  When this occurs, we refer to it as colonial education or colonizing study abroad.


Being able to study for a semester or year in another country needs to be seen as both a privilege and responsibility, especially when we consider that most local community members do not have access to the same opportunities.  Additionally, for almost all smaller communities, it is impossible to access quality education.

Thus, almost everything about our program is different:


  • The program is integrally linked to an organizational mission and practical application of education for social change. In other words, a focus on community-based social justice activism empowers study abroad, and study abroad empowers community-based social justice activism

  • Fair Trade Study Abroad: This program creates a new model for educational exchange, in which the tuition also funds local education programs and immediate, real-life projects The students live and learn in partnership with local communities.

  • Decolonizing 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 community members.

  • Our research indicates that this is the only semester-long, community-based, language immersive program that works exclusively with Indigenous communities of the Andes and Amazon Regions in Ecuador.

  • Our research indicates that this is the first semester-long program in the world with a primary focus on Arts for Social Change. Our world has complex problems that require creative solutions, and creativity must first be practiced. 

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