SIT Study Abroad

SIT Study Abroad

About

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.

Founded
1932
Headquarters

1 Kipling Road
Brattleboro, VT 05301
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Annie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This study abroad program takes you to Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rabat, Marrakech, Essaouira, and other Dutch & Moroccan cities. The professors expect students to be fully engaged, to do the work and to participate in small classes. The program center is very close to the center of Amsterdam and the commute to class every day was actually quite enjoyable because of the city's great public transit. Students stay in homestays with friendly Dutch families and fully immerse themselves in their neighborhoods.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
It's windy and rainy, so bring warm layers and good gloves!
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Allegra
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My semester in Cameroon was one that I will remember for the rest of my life. Through home-stays, trips and classes, SIT strove to immerse us in the cities that we were studying in. I had wonderful host families that welcomed me into their homes and made me feel at home. Classes were interesting and challenging but tightly linked to what we were experiencing there which made them relevant and important to my growth as a student. My fellow American and Cameroonian students became some of my closest friends and I'm still in touch with many of them. Unfortunately, my semester there was cut short due to Covid-19 and we had to leave abruptly. Leaving was so painful, it felt like I was leaving my family. I really hope that I can return one day soon to see my host siblings and parents, SIT staff who were like older siblings and parents to us, and get to spend more time there. I miss them all so dearly.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
During orientation we were dropped off without supervisors and had to find our way around the city to different landmarks before getting home. My partner and I spoke little french and it was our first time in the city. At first we were really nervous but as soon as we stopped thinking of it as scary, we had so much fun. We tried to act like those around us, relaxing and taking in our surroundings. It ended up being one of the most exciting parts of orientation.
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David
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Although my experience in the [perhaps too] bustling city of Yaoundé was, tragically, cut short due to COVID-19, I absolutely loved my time on this program. Make no mistake - as other reviews here have mentioned, this program is not for the faint of heart and can be a real challenge. But through it all, I learned about the world economy, the legacy (see: perpetuation) of colonialism, and french in a way I wouldn’t have if not for this program.

I would feel dishonest if I didn’t mention the many, many privileges I was awarded in Cameroon because of my being a white American man. As the only American guy on the program, I was never victim to street harassment in the way my fellow students were nor particularly cautious with strangers’ intentions. I say this not to dissuade you but to give you the most accurate picture you can of the place you may be calling home for a semester.

In any case, I would unequivocally recommend this program. While at times I felt a bit babied (see: 7pm curfew and living in the richest area of Yaoundé), I gained so much from the out of classroom learning and the lecturers. Don’t be afraid to make some friends and experience as much of real Cameroonian life as possible. You won’t regret it - I know I don’t.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do NOT solely surround yourself with the other Americans on the program. While they will likely be incredibly people, branch out and try to make friends with some locals. You're gonna hang with Americans the rest of your life, why do it in Cameroon too?
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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Prague and the greater Czech Republic provided some of the best days of my life, new experiences, adjustments, lessons, friendships, and family. Our schedule was full to the gills, with too many amazing optional performances, gallaries, exhibits, and showcases to attend paid for by my program, so long as we were interested(!!) My commute each morning and night to my host family was a 45-50 minute tram ride, giving my time to read and study czech while weaving through the most beautiful city just outside my windows (though most student had a shorter commute). My host family became my second family and they welcomed me into their routine as if I were her oldest daughter and their older sister. I fell in love with my super small program and we all enjoyed each other's company so much; the size allowed us so much fun flexibility for learning spaces and course direction, and I was so lucky to meet the students I did.

Once we were sent home the online courses were good and it was nice to see everyone virtually, but the experiential learning method can not be replicated online.. so yeah, don't plan to study abroad during a global pandemic. But 100% chose this program if you want a once in a lifetime experience with great people, true cultural exposure, and fun once this pandemic ends. Best program ever - experiential learning means exploring and having a good time out in the city as part of the learning, dream program for me.

What would you improve about this program?
As someone who doesn't eat meat voluntarily, the culture is pretty meat heavy. I was able to find something on the menu at every meal out (main dish as fried cheese and potatoes, a czech classic and often the only meatless dish on the menu..), this isn't something the program could've fixed but just something to note if you don't eat meat you'll have a bit less options! Improvement: either eat meat or love cheese lol
Default avatar
isha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience was amazing and wholesome despite the fact that it was cut short because of the pandemic. It was stressful but SIT handled it well.
The workload in this program is as extensive as you want to make it, this is not to say that you can slack off but that there is still enough room to explore the country and make use of the swiss pass. However, if you choose to spend more time exploring one of your projects you can still arrange for that depending on the circumstances. There are also some opportunities to interact with the locals to understand the culture and build a network for the future. If you enjoy being in a host family to practice your french and build a long-lasting relationship, this is it! Overall, it is a great program and you can make whatever you want to make out of it. Our program included people from many different fields of study, interests, and future goals and that made the program more interactive and unique as each of us was gaining new perspectives.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 111
SIT Study Abroad
SIT Ecuador: Comparative Ecology and Conservation
Ecuador
9.47 •19 reviews

Ecuador is home to more than 1,600 species of birds and 10 percent of...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT Study Abroad Peru: Indigenous Peoples and Globalization
Peru
9.13 •15 reviews

While studying and living in Cusco, Peru, one will examine Peru's...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT Chile: Identity, Justice & Comm. Development
Chile
9.79 •14 reviews

Explore Chile’s recent political and social history and discover how...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT: Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems
Panama
9.75 •12 reviews

Experience the critical environmental and social issues affecting one...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT Study Abroad: Social Movements in Argentina
Argentina
9.5 •12 reviews

Discover the diverse social movements and struggle for human rights in...

SIT Study Abroad
Transnationalism & Comparative Development in South America
Multiple Countries
9.4 •10 reviews

Examine the social and economic development strategies of South...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples
Tibet
9.9 •10 reviews

Examine Tibetan and Himalayan politics and religion and the...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT Chile: Public Health & Traditional Medicine
Chile
8.22 •9 reviews

Gain unique insight and exposure to healthcare policies, politics, and...

SIT Study Abroad
IHP Health and Community: Globalization, Culture, and Care
Multiple Countries
9.5 •8 reviews

Investigate how communities can ensure the health and well-being of...

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.

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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