This is where it all began. The idea for Performing Arts Abroad grew out of collaboration with a Theatre for Development (TfD) group in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya using acrobatics, music, dance, and theatre to address pressing social issues like HIV/AIDS, drug abuse, prostitution, and xenophobia. The first program was launched, and it remains an option today.

On our Arts for Social Change programs, you’ll directly contribute to many forms of development by focusing on empowerment, self-expression, and self-confidence through music, dance, theatre, or film. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you are going somewhere to “help people.” You will be joining existing movements, mostly of young people, who are well aware of the incredible power of performing arts to change their communities. You will come back from this experience profoundly changed, and we hope that in the end, you are inspired to change your own community for the better.

Experience the power of international service learning and appreciate the impact that performing arts can make on communities around the world.  Be part of a truly grassroots social movement and see firsthand how the arts can transform a difficult situation into a tool for inspiration and growth.

There’s no better time than now to take this next step in your artistic journey.

Our Arts for Social Change Programs

Dance Education in the Galapagos Islands

Share your dance and collaborate with local artists in San Cristobal. Giant tortoises, blue-footed boobies, and lazy seals await you on the oldest island in the Galapagos, and the first landing point for Charles Darwin in 1835.

Dance for Social Change in Kenya

How can dance save lives? Find out as you collaborate with young people in Nairobi, Kenya using the arts to pass critical social messages to their communities.

Dance Therapy and Education in Ecuador

The language of dance and movement transcend cultural borders. Find out for yourself as you collaborate with locals in Ecuador, using the power of dance for social change.

Dance Volunteering in Costa Rica

Use the universal language of movement to inspire and be inspired. Let the beauty of Costa Rica and its people wash over you and infuse your dance practice.

Music Education in South Africa

Join an academy empowering youth through music, ride an elephant, jam with local musicians, and discover a new part of yourself in White River, South Africa.

Music Education in the Galapagos Islands

Let the rhythm of the islands wash over you as you share your musical knowledge with the young people of San Cristobal in the Galapagos. Spend your free time at the beach, snorkeling, scuba diving, or exploring the ecological diversity that makes the Galapagos famous.

Music for Social Change in Kenya

Music is changing lives for the better in the slums of Nairobi. See for yourself as you lead workshops and collaborate with musicians who will change your perspective on music forever.

Music Therapy and Education in Ecuador

Experience the awesome power of music to create social change as you volunteer abroad with a foundation offering music therapy and education to people with disabilities.

Music Volunteering in Costa Rica

In a country with no military, many government funds support music education. Join a powerful movement to bring music to every young person in Costa Rica, and live with a homestay family in the bustling capital of San Jose.

Music Volunteering in the Philippines

In an area where most musical instruments were completely destroyed by a devastating typhoon, your contribution as a guest music teacher will make all the difference.

Theatre for Social Change in Kenya

“You will just be remembering one character, and that character will change your life.” This is Lizzet’s story, and the story of thousands of young people in Nairobi’s slums. See firsthand the incredible power of theatre to change communities for the better.

“As an Arts Educator, the Circus Arts program in Costa Rica provided me with a great professional development opportunity. I was given the once-in-a-lifetime chance to infuse my art with teaching and learning experiences in a beautiful new setting, at once exciting and challenging. My understanding of arts Education has been broadened by my amazing experiences in Costa Rica, and will undoubtedly inform my future arts projects and teaching practice in many ways.”

From the blog


Never Wake A Sleeping Sea Lion

Kayla Mernoff stops by to let us in on her summer music volunteering in the Galapagos! Within minutes of arriving on the island of San Cristobal for my music volunteering program in the Galápagos, I had already seen a beach,…


On Running Away and Joining a Costa Rican Circus

Emily Price is a senior studying Creative Writing with minors in Theatre and German at Arizona State University.  This summer she went on PAA’s Circus Arts (Theater) in Costa Rica program where she had the time of her life learning Spanish…and…


An Invisible Impact: Music Volunteering and Social Change in Costa Rica

Mary Kate Mutze studies Music Education at Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Queens College.  She dreams of becoming a high school music teacher in her home borough – the Bronx.  She volunteered with PAA’s Music Volunteering in Costa Rica program.  (And…


Confidence to do Anything: Music Volunteering in Costa Rica

Bailey Cook studies Vocal Music Education at Iowa State University. This summer she volunteered on PAA’s Music Volunteering in Costa Rica program. Before I left for Costa Rica, multiple people told me that the trip would be “life-changing”. I thought that…

Apply Now