SIT Study Abroad


SIT has been providing immersive, field-based study abroad programs for undergraduates for more than 50 years. SIT offers more than 70 programs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as comparative programs in multiple locations. In addition to its rich history, SIT Study Abroad has a number of unique qualities that make it an ideal choice for an extraordinary, transformative study abroad experience.

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.



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Yes, I recommend this program

SIT Ecuador: Development, Politics, and Languages

I absolutely loved this program. It's so cliché to say, but it really was a life-changing experience for me. I found the academics to be extremely stimulating, but the outside-the-classroom workload was reasonable, which left plenty of time to explore the country. I was especially impressed with how the coursework was accessible to everyone, regardless of Spanish-speaking ability. We had a wide range in our cohort, from native speakers to total newbies, but somehow everyone seemed to feel comfortable and appropriately challenged. As others have noted here, the excursions to the Amazon, Galapagos, and Intag cloud forest were absolutely amazing, in terms of both the ecological and cultural diversity that we had the opportunity to engage with. Our cohort was larger-than-average, with about 24 students, but we were very close. I think everyone felt that they had a solid group of friends to go out and explore the country with. Faba and Sofia were are just the best, very supportive but not at all helicopter-y. The class discussion was very open-ended, with wide variety of viewpoints, as we had students of a variety of nationalities. This was sometimes challenging and very intellectually engaging. My homestay experiences were both excellent, as most or all of the homestay families have long-standing relationships with the program directors and have lots of prior experience hosting foreign students.

For me, the most impactful part of the program was the Independent Study Project (ISP). For this project, we were allowed to stay just about anywhere in the country for four weeks, and work on a research project of our own design. However, we had to partner with a community organization in our project location, and the program directors have relationships with organizations all over, so no one had to be truly "out on their own" if they didn't want to be. I chose to work with a social movement that was protesting state-sponsored mining in the Intag cloud forest. I had such a good experience, and built such strong relationships with community members there, that when I got back to my university in the US, I immediately started working on a way to go back. Ultimately, I assembled a student team, and we were awarded over $20,000 in funding to return to Intag. So, I spent three more months in Ecuador supporting the work of multiple community organizations after graduating from UVA in 2019. I stayed with the same homestay family that I had met in 2018, and I am still in touch with them today. So, I would say that the was not only a great way to forge long-lasting relationships with local people, it also went a long way towards advancing my young career. As soon as it is safe, I can't wait to go back!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Cuy, obviously! But don't worry, I had to go out of my way to try it, no one is going to force feed you.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a lifetime!

SIT Morocco was an incredible, life changing program! Living in Rabat and engaging with CCCL Staff not only allowed me to obtain an in depth, extensive experience of the geopolitical histories of Morocco, but I was able to visit a multitude of diverse places across Morocco, including Chefchaouen, Marrakech, Tetouan, the Sahara Desert, and so many more! Not only were the staff incredibly helpful and supportive, but the people in the program were all excited to be there and learn, and I met some of my best friends from this program!!

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Yes, I recommend this program

The BEST experience!

There are not enough words to describe how life changing this program was for me! The academics were challenging in that it taught me to see from a different perspective and imagine different ways of being and living. Classes were very relaxed though and open for everyone to share their thoughts and experiences. We also frequently had guest speakers who were prominent community leaders or government officials. Additionally, we were able to directly apply our knowledge in breathtaking excursions to the Amazon Rainforest and the Galapagos Islands (more were planned but the program was unfortunately cut short due to COVID-19). During these excursions, we stayed in the nicest places I have ever been to! In the Amazon we stayed at a sustainable finca, hiked through the rain forest, were spiritually cleansed, and listened to a presentation by an important community activist. In the Galapagos, we hiked through volcanos, snorkled with sharks, sea turtles, and sea lions, and experienced some important local community organizations. The most impactful aspect, though, were the people I met here. I have never been surrounded by a more kind and loving group of people. The entire group developed such a close bond from the get-go and we spent the whole program together, planning activities after class and even going out of town on the weekends.
It is also important to note that I never felt unsafe here. Although I was studying abroad during the beginning of the pandemic, SIT and my program directors did everything they could to ensure the health and safety (and even happiness) of their students. The academic directors, Faba and Sofia, were incredible in helping us navigate the unprecedented conditions we were experiencing.
This program has so much to offer and allows you enough free-time to craft it into the perfect study abroad experience. I am now the person who can't shut up about their study abroad experience!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The first weekend we were in Quito, the whole group decided to hop on a 10-hour bus-ride to go to Banos. One day, we biked for 14 miles to see 7 different waterfalls--even climbing through a cave to see one of them! We also zip-lined over a valley and rode a suspended cart right up to a waterfall. These are things I would normally be too scared, and definitely no fit enough, to do, but I'm so so so glad I did!
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Yes, I recommend this program

The Most Incredible Semester

SIT Jordan was an outstanding experience. From academics, to social life, to professional opportunities, I felt that SIT offered it all! Academically, I learned a great deal about the country and region from local lecturers, the perspective of SIT administrators, and course readings and discussions. I also improved my FusHa Arabic, and learned a lot of survival Aamiyah which was key during my internship. My cohort of 30 was unusually close, often opting to go out for lunches or nightlife in large groups, and spending a lot of our free time together.

SIT offered amazing excursions to Ajloun, Jerash, Petra, the UAE, and more! When outside of class, I felt completely immersed in Jordanian culture and loved every minute of it.

I had the opportunity to complete an internship as a teaching assistant, and that really improved my speaking skills and confidence, while also giving me a better idea about disability in the Jordanian context.

Amman is a vibrant, lively city with things to do on every corner. I explored Wasat al Balad, tried new foods, found hidden bars, and met locals who were always thrilled to speak with Americans. Jordanians are some of the loveliest, most kind-hearted people out there.

I would not want to have done my semester abroad anywhere else with any other study abroad provider.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Lean into every uncomfortable moment with all you've got! Use your Arabic, even if you're just spitting out single words, and expect the best from strangers around you. Don't be afraid to ask locals for help or questions because you just might make some new friends! And definitely seek out clubs or local organizations, like Amman Running or Shams Table.
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Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing experience!

I was abroad in Prague for the fall 2019 semester, and I have thought about it every day since! It was an incredible experience unlike any other and exceeded all of my expectations. I adored exploring the city and learned so much about Czech history, literature, and culture. I find myself referencing books and facts I learned all of the time—I've turned into that girl who's always starting conversations with "when I was abroad …" I had the loveliest host family; they really made me feel like I was part of their real family, and it was incredible to have the practical experience of cultural norms rather than just learning about them in the classroom. We lived on the northern outskirts of the city, making my commute to school around 45 minutes, but every minute was worth it because I got to explore different districts and see so many cool landmarks that way. The professors were awesome—they all had firsthand experience with the historical events we learned about—and I still keep in touch with my classmates. My favorite part was definitely the independent study project, where I researched underground literature from the communist era and interviewed some really impressive people who helped create and distribute it! Another thing I loved was being there for the thirtieth anniversary of the Velvet Revolution (the fall of communist rule). If you're in search of an adventure in a super cool city where you can learn a lot about art and history, this program is for you!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Explore as much as you can! I spent a lot of time wandering around the city and discovered so much that way. I also traveled to the Bone Church and Terezin on my own, both easy day trips that showed me a different side of Czech culture.


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I knew I wanted to go to Peru for my semester abroad, but also for its theme and academic focus.

Indigenous people and their cultures are a topic rarely discussed in academia, even though they have made many important contributions to societies all across the globe. I wanted to learn more about indigenous groups in Peru and how they are adapting to a constantly changing world.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The SIT website had several pre-departure documents, checklists, and other prep materials available in order to help me feel more ready for my semester abroad. The program admissions counselor and alumni contact I had were both very helpful in answering all of my questions as well. The syllabi for the academic courses were also clearly outlined on the program site.

On my own, I had to put in the effort to practice my Spanish before leaving. I was also in charge of determining my own flights and how long I would stay after the program ended.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

It's okay to be nervous or anxious! Although adjusting into a new culture and language will be challenging, once you settle down into a routine the city you're in will feel like home in no time. Overcoming any personal obstacles that arise during your time abroad will make you a stronger, more confident person.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

During the week, you'll typically have classes from 8:30 AM to around 12 PM or 12:30. These classes include Spanish language, history, research ethics, and more. After class, you'll eat lunch with your host family.

You can spend your free time in the afternoon doing a number of things. You can relax and study at a cafe, go see a movie, or walk to the Plaza de Armas to do some shopping. There are lots of nice gardens and parks all around the city, too. I took dance classes (hip hop and salsa) at a local dance school, which was super fun!

On the weekends, you can spend a whole day traveling to the mountain outskirts of Cusco and go see some pretty cool sights. My favorites were the famed Rainbow Mountain and the incredible Lake Humantay. Both are great sites for doing some hiking! There are also several Incan ruins close to the city that you can visit, including Saqsaywaman and Puka Pukara.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear going in was feeling isolated or lost. I was worried that I wouldn't make any friends in my program, or that I wouldn't like the feel of Peruvian culture. I was also concerned that I wouldn't feel safe in Cusco.

Contrary to my fears, I made friends quickly. Everyone in my program (a small group of 11 people) was kind, friendly, and easy to get along with. We all became very close after a short period of time. These people became my biggest support in Peru, and we had a lot of fun hanging out at cafes together or going on hiking trips.

Thanks to my new friends, my transition into Peruvian culture was much easier. I also had a lovely host family that made me feel very welcome and accepted. It did take a fair amount of time, but eventually, I became much more comfortable and settled into my life in Cusco. The city was also much safer than I expected, so I felt silly after worrying so much about safety.

The most important thing about adapting to a new culture is to have an open mind. If you don't open yourself up to new opportunities to interact with people and learn about their ways of life, then you aren't taking full advantage of the joys of being abroad. Be accepting of any new chances that come your way!

What was your favorite thing about Peru?

It's hard to pick just one! From the abundance of adorable llamas and alpacas to the delicious variety of maracuya (passionfruit) flavored foods, I loved practically everything about Peru.

I think I felt truly happiest when I hiked to the top of Lake Humantay with my friends. It was a really tough hike and we were all very tired when we reached the top, but the beautiful view made it worth it.

Living with a host family was also a wonderful experience. I became really close with them and we are still in touch today!

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Eric Wirth

Nothing goes better with a cup of morning/afternoon/late night coffee than getting to know Eric Wirth, the director of admissions for SIT Study Abroad, and the culture of SIT Study Abroad a little bit better.
Mountain Watching

Tell me a little about yourself. What has been your career path so far?

My passion for education abroad began after spending a year abroad in Elche, Spain during my junior year of high school. I landed my first job after college as an admissions counselor for a study abroad provider. After several years in the work force, I returned to graduate school at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where I had the opportunity to serve for a year as the resident director to one of the university’s programs in Spain. After finishing my MA, I reentered the world of international education with greater knowledge and an enhanced perspective on higher education and learning abroad.

Did you study abroad after high school?

I’ve studied abroad a total of four times; once in high school, twice in college – one semester and one summer – and then for a year as a graduate student. Each time in Spain. Through each experience, I learned more and was able to take my level of cultural and linguistic understanding to a deeper level. I suspect one day I will work toward a doctorate, and I can guarantee I will study abroad again. My first instinct would be to return to Spain to delve back into the culture and languages I adore.

As for SIT, what are the core principles that you strive to achieve?

At our core, SIT Study Abroad programs foster academic rigor, intensive cultural immersion, substantial community involvement, and an emphasis on field-based research.

What does the future hold for SIT? Any new exciting programs to share?

This spring we are running two new programs in the Middle East: one in Egypt focusing on urban studies and the other in Morocco focused on journalism and new media. We have also launched a new summer program that explores traditional approaches to healthcare in India. We continually strive to provide our students with the most interesting and relevant coursework and locations.

And the future of the industry - how do you think study abroad and international education will change over the next 10 years?

We’ll see the usual demographic shifts in mobility as a response to global politics, world events and markets. What will be interesting to watch is how governments and individual institutions address these shifts to meet demand and capitalize on market share. My hope is that more and more we will learn to become better citizens of the world and will travel abroad because we crave learning and connection with one another. Talking to people around the world is increasingly easier, but meaningful communication and understanding remains a challenge.

I'm continuously impressed with the depth and variety of programs offered by SIT Study Abroad. Their emphasis on field base learning is especially intriguing, as well as their commitment to cultivating relationships locally in host areas. I sincerely admire and hope to echo their attitude for turning every experience into a learning experience!

Over the last 10 years working in the field of international education, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to Cuba, Czech Republic, England, Greece and Serbia. There are many fascinating countries and continents with amazing things to teach us.

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