SIT Study Abroad

Provider

SIT Study Abroad is a program of World Learning, a private, nonprofit international organization that has been in existence for more than 75 years. World Learning works globally to enhance the capacity and commitment of individuals, institutions, and communities to create a more peaceful and just world through international education, exchange, and development programs.

SIT students step beyond the boundaries of a traditional classroom to analyze critical issues shaping local communities around the globe. Students become deeply engaged in a topic and undertake their own research, case studies, in-depth practica, or community projects. SIT Study Abroad is deeply embedded in local communities around the world. Program components are designed to respect the strengths of local partners to foster enduring relationships.

SIT Study Abroad on GO Overseas

Programs from SIT Study Abroad

Program Reviews

  • L
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Yardley
    Swarthmore College
    4/10
    some luxe field trip
    05/15/2016

    If your goals for study abroad include:
    -meeting people from your host country
    -having substantive opportunities to practice a new language outside of class
    -thinking critically about how race works in a different society
    -doing a cool internship or volunteer thing in your spare time
    -having the chance to take weekend trips or go camping
    -forming close relationships with professors and getting letters of rec for fellowship apps
    -any kind of academic rigor at all

    DON'T DO THIS PROGRAM.

    Classes are 100% lecture-based and given by a rotating cast of professors, which means you will hear the same introduction to the issues basically every day, never get a chance to form a close relationship with someone, or hear how the different themes the lecturers present are seen to relate to one another. The management actively discourages weekend trips and forbids volunteering and internships. When our methods class got in a fight after they claimed there was no racism against Afro-Peruvians, they managed to backtrack more or less, but told me afterwards that they normally try to avoid the topic of race altogether (in a program titled "Indigenous Peoples and Globalization"!!!!!). Their philosophy is that Peru and the USA are totally incomparable as societies, but also that we are somehow 100% capable of understanding deep and complicated issues within Peruvian society by taking cursory bus tours of indigenous villages and popping in and out of schools. They believe in Humala's consulta previa in the context of government negotiations, but doesn't believe in consulting indigenous subjects before writing anthropological observations of them. They believes in the left's proposals for intercultural bilingual education, but don't seem to care that their classroom is basically absent the intercultural part since there is no space made for connecting with Peruvians. I arrived speaking Spanish fairly well and so have had the chance to discuss some of my concerns with them but they barely give the time of day to people who struggle more with the language.

    A side note: It is also very difficult if you get sick on this program because the staff is very liability-conscious and will make you follow the doctor's recommendations exactly, even though they are also aware that the doctor overprescribes. I stopped taking bronchitis medicine a few days early because it cost 13 soles a pill and was giving me hand tremors, and the director said they would send me back to the US for breaking the code of conduct. He also shamed me for being hesitant to waste so much money by implying that I was rich (the SIT insurance makes you pay for everything out of pocket and doesn't reimburse you till you get back). So far I have paid $186, which is over 600 soles, about a quarter of our month's budget for independent research.

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  • Francis
    Age: 19-24
    Male
    Fort Collins, CO
    Colorado State University
    9/10
    The most authentic way to experience both urban and rural China
    03/17/2016

    The SIT Study Abroad program in China gave me the opportunity to interact in depth, in a meaningful way, with the local culture. Throughout the entire experience, you are engaging with local people. From day one, nearly all meals are on your own and you are given a stipend to find breakfast lunch and dinner at restaurants around the city. In addition to quickly improving in my basic language skills around food and money, I learned the stories of restaurant owners and learned to appreciate the incredible variety of food in this rather foreign culinary culture.

    The assignments, especially in the Field Methods and Ethics seminar, get you out talking to people even more. One assignment focussed on learning one person's life history through interviewing in Chinese. I dove into the story of a hardworking couple from a small rice farming village in Anhui province who immigrated to Kunming to open their own dumpling store. Neither of they had attended middle school, yet they worked 6AM to 10PM seven days a week to support their son through college. Through that one interview alone I gained stunning insights about the mass migration of farmers to the cities and the incredible value parents place behind education in this country. And that was only a single project out of many more over the 15 weeks of the program.

    The language teachers do an incredible job of preparing you for these kinds of experiences. Classes are super intense, with only a couple students per teacher. You fly through the material at breakneck pace and they keep you very busy. Yet language is the backbone of this educational experience, where the majority of what you learn comes from the local people themselves.

    The assignments outside of the language classes are hardly conventional. Upon arrival we were given characters on a piece of paper and then told to find the place in the city and navigate back to campus--we learned life skills of how to navigate and survive in a Chinese city through immersion. These exercises started off small, in groups where we could rely on each other to accomplish the tasks. But by the end of the semester the task is much more daunting: live independently anywhere you choose in the country and conduct novel research on any topic that interests you. You work up to this point throughout the semester. You are given a week to travel where you please for vacation. You are asked to develop a miniature research project independently in a Bai ethnicity village during a week long rural homestay where the program staff are only a few kilometers away. But the whole time you must prepare for the Independent Study Project, where you will be on your own for four weeks. The program staff are there to help every step of the way, but they give you incredible freedom. This is not only about learning Chinese language and culture, it's about developing into a stronger person.

    I loved the experience. It was one of the most intense three months of my life, and it was very, very stressful at times. Yet every day you are learning. I feel like I am more enlightened.

    How could this program be improved?

    If I could change this program, it would be to improve the language classes. They need to stop using textbooks to teach vocabulary and reading, because the textbooks focus on formal, "book language" that is not very useful in the practical situations we encounter regularly on the streets. Although classes were intense, they were inefficient, and I felt I wasted precious time memorizing uncommon words and deciphering obscure passages about subjects I never encountered during my semester there. Instead, they should use articles from newspapers or magazines or the internet discussing current local issues and derive vocabulary from those primary sources. Grammar can still come from a textbook, of course.

    Furthermore, leading up to the ISP period, I received nearly no feedback at all on the draft project proposals we were supposed to submit. While they are correct that the best experiences can happen without much forethought, I think they could have given much more advice and help to all the students about how to structure a good research question and what are the best methods and study designs for answering those kinds of questions. This would not only reduce student stress during the planning process, but it would also help students produce higher quality projects.

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  • Joan
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Boulder, Colorado
    University of Colorado- Boulder
    10/10
    listening, learning, and living: a life-changing South African experience
    03/07/2016

    i really couldn't say one bad thing about my experience with sit in South Africa! it was really really amazing and the program did an incredible job of ensuring that we were given the opportunities to make the trip such a special and life changing one. I did the homestay and that part was a great way to get immersed in the people and culture within the township of Cato Manor. I learned how to cook with my mama, was exposed to the ways of living for both children and adults in this community, and was able to gain experiences that could never be taught in a classroom. Going out at night, meeting people our age and hearing of their lifestyles and interests was another really special aspect of the trip. I can honestly say that i have made life long friends from around the world as a result of my ventures out with other SIT students. The program and its structure constructed a great balance of learning about traditional zulu culture and history, in tandem with experiencing contemporary durban culture for young adults in our same place in life. The field based work was really special as well because we not only learned from the best professors in durban (which imraan and the team did a terrific job of scheduling for us) but we also were able to apply that learning to our observations in classrooms across the province. From staying in rural, tribal lands, to visiting prisoners and learning about other systems like the prison system, to going out with amazing people from around the world, to visiting museums and art galleries across different cities, to hearing from young and old students and educators, the experience really could not have reached a more vast and diverse range. I can genuinely say that this program was flawless in my mind.

    How could this program be improved?

    NA

    Photos:
    Durban friends that took us under their wings and showed us durban's treasures.
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  • Anwyn
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Brattleboro, VT
    University of Massachusetts- Amherst
    10/10
    Do This
    02/19/2016

    A lot of people say that study abroad will change your life and it seems super cliche and silly. But this experience was without a doubt the best thing I did in my entire life and brought back to me some things that I had lost. I learned so much about tropical ecology and conservation and culture but also a lot about myself. We travelled around the country, saw so many different places and cultures and learned amazing things. We took the time to have fun and go on adventures on our free days and saw an unbelievable amount of beautiful wildlife. It was intense and absolutely beautiful. To anyone considering this program, do it. It was paradise.

    How could this program be improved?

    Make it longer. A week less time in the city.

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  • Elizabeth
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Lewisburg, PA
    Bucknell University
    10/10
    Beyond My Dreams
    02/17/2016

    My experience in Peru with SIT was more than I could have ever dreamed of. The program was structured so that I was able to experience the most amount of cultural immersion possible while traveling around Peru and learning about the challenges it faces in a globalizing world. I never thought that I would learn Quechua and live with an indigenous community on an island in the middle of the highest navigable lake in the world! I have made life long friends on this journey and created memories that cannot be gained any other way. I highly recommend this program, it gives you the opportunity to conduct field based research, become fluent in a foreign language, and culturally and politically explore another country.

    How could this program be improved?

    I would love to spend more time on each of the cultural immersion trips.

    Photos:
    Mountain Watching
    The Amazon
    Isla Taquile
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