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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

Scholarships

SIT Robert Kantor Memorial Scholarship

Each year one student will be granted $10,000 in scholarship aid to study abroad with a SIT program. Funded by individual donors and foundations, the requirements are tight: seeking first-generation college students who've never traveled abroad before, currently attend an HBCU, and demonstrate strong financial need.

Value
$10,000

Reviews

Default avatar
Hannah
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Challenging and Invigorating!

In every aspect and level of the program I learned something. From the most basic demonstration to doing things for the first time myself, there was always support and encouragement. The excursions built off the classes in a purposeful way to create a complexly intertwined learning experience. I got to go so many places and was met with welcoming and great food at each place. The faculty was extremely kind and made me and the other students feel like family and having a smaller group of students was a great benefit for making friends.

The speed of the program is purposefully planned so that you can feel integrated right away and have all your questions answered when you first get there. We spent a week in a hotel away from the big city getting the first few steps in relationship building, planning for the semester, and taught about the health concerns, what to do in emergencies, and more. Moving into our first homestay seemed hard, but it was those things (the feel-like-home things) that got a lot easier during the program, as the academics and time spent away from school got harder. I enjoyed both my homestays and felt extremely welcomed by each Ecuadorian I met. The excursions were flawless and some of my favorite learning experiences. I chose to do my ISP away from everyone else which was very hard after making such great friends with everyone. I knew I could always turn to Faba, Sofia, or any of the SIT mental health resources at any moment.

Fabian and Sofia, the program directors, taught us along the way and were there to make sure we had everything we needed. They helped in every transition, from the introduction week to the first and second homestays, and each of the excursions. I felt as prepared as I needed to be for each experience. I loved my time there and am so grateful for everyone who made it perfect.

Pros
  • Faculty
  • People
  • Excursions
Cons
  • Not food allergy friendly
Default avatar
Emma
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

A splendid semester in Ecuador

The SIT Development, Politics, and Languages Program in Ecuador was a fabulous experience. Between the interesting classroom discussions, super fun excursions, and amazing people I met, I had an incredible semester.
The academic director, Fabian Espinosa balances fun, laid-back chats with deeply interesting talks by him and other guest lecturers. Sofia, the program coordinator, was like a second mother and made sure we were always safe, comfortable, and happy. My host families (I had two during my semester) were incredibly welcoming and made me feel like a part of their family.
In terms of academics, I learned so much both in the classroom and out in the country. The experiential learning approach was an amazing way to learn about issues from multiple disciplines and beyond a traditional classroom setting. We learned about traditional medicine and community resistance strategies on our excursion to the Amazon, we studied biodiversity and environmental protection on our trip to the Galapagos (plus we got to snorkel), and we heard from amazing activists and political figures with a wealth of knowledge in our daily classes.
During the ISP period, I lived in an apartment in Cuenca with one of my friends from the program, and we both worked at organizations in the area, while simultaneously doing research for our respective projects. This independence was such an important opportunity to explore the country on my own and build deeper connections with local communities and with the other SIT students.
At the end of the 3.5 months, it was hard to say goodbye. To say that the experiences I had in Ecuador changed me would be an understatement. I felt transformed, not only by all of the things I had learned and the people I had met, but by the personal growth that had occurred as a result of all of these things.
If you want to improve your Spanish and spend several months in a beautiful and welcoming country, I highly recommend this program. I learned so much and I am so grateful to my host family, Faba and Sofia, and my wonderful friends from the program for making it an unforgettable trip.

Pros
  • Amazing excursions in a beautiful country
  • Super interesting lectures and classroom discussions
  • Unforgettable connections with fantastic people
Cons
  • Can experience culture shock and may take time to adjust
Default avatar
Cici
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Iceland: Experience of a Lifetime!

SIT's Iceland study abroad program is amazing. From experiencing the city in Reykjavik, to traveling the country, to staying in Isafjordur with host families, it is truly life changing. Being extremely interested in Climate Change, this program fostered everything I love about the subject. My favorite part was the Independent Study Project, where I research how Iceland teaches the next generation about climate change. You also get to choose where you live for your last month to conduct your research which is the best part. I chose to stay in Isafjordur, where we are located with host families, because so many of us fell in love with the town.

Pros
  • The culture
  • Host Families
  • The Outdoor Experience
Cons
  • Not great if you love cities
Default avatar
Leif
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Influential, fulfilling, eye-opening

This program will deepen you as a human, sharpen you as a scholar, and broaden your perspective on social justice, coloniality, and environmental politics. Faba, the academic director who has led this program for 20 years, is one of the wisest, kindest mentors I have ever had. He is deeply embedded in many communities in Ecuador. Sofia, the program coordinator, is incredibly warm, wonderful to talk and laugh with, and extremely capable. Together, they will make you feel welcome from the moment you arrive.

I loved my experience with my host families, all of our excursions--to the Galapagos, the Amazon, Intag--were impeccably planned and so much fun, with beautiful lodging and delicious food. Our group bonded well and had a blast on all of our trips and while exploring Quito and other locations independently. We were given a lot of autonomy over our choices and treated like adults, while having just the right amount of structure and guidance to make our free time safe and enjoyable.

The guest scholars and community activists that lecture in the class are well known throughout Ecuador and you will learn so much through conversations in class. The academics were less traditionally rigorous than at my home university but I learned so much through the experiential components and class material. The chance to develop my social science research skills while living alone and completing an independent project (ISP) was invaluable for my honors thesis and future research.

The chance to go from lush Amazon in Pastaza to the snow-capped peak of Volcan Cotopaxi in 24 hours captures the beauty of studying in Ecuador. The friends I made at local universities and my host families I am still in touch with capture another facet of what makes Ecuador so special. Choose this program; you won't regret it.

Pros
  • Research experience
  • Incredible natural landscapes
  • Well-organized and fun instructors
Cons
  • Due to safety concerns and poor walkability, Quito is sometimes hard to feel at home in
Default avatar
Ava
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

SIT's study abroad program in Prague was amazing!

My study abroad experience was filled with cultural immersion and experiential learning. I learned how to live independently and interact effectively with people of different cultural backgrounds. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to complete and conduct an independent research project during the last month of my study abroad program. I wish I had known how challenging this process would be; however, it was an amazing opportunity and I learned a lot from this demanding and fulfilling experience.

Pros
  • Cultural Immersion
  • Experiential Learning
Cons
  • Organization

Programs

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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.

Professional Associations

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