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
Jordan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SIT Malaysia and China was an experience in watching how eastern principles develop a western, global economy. The development of my understanding of Islamic finance in a country that is paving the road for its use in the mainstream economy while still taking steps to integrate itself with regional economies was perhaps one of the most challenging yet engaging parts of my time on the program. The incorporation of China’s One Belt, One Road development strategy into the pedagogy of economic diplomacy and shifting trade networks made the program responsive to both Malaysia’s important role and that of the other nations within ASEAN. As an Economics major at a liberal arts school, the interdisciplinary approach to this Economics-forward coursework was so engaging.

Beyond the classroom, the abroad experience was amazing. Though the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the excursion to China from happening, we were able to plan different excursions to replace the lost experience, mostly at the insistence of the program director who was deeply committed to ensuring we had the experience we signed up for. On our visit to Penang, it became clear that our director was connected to many people in the country that could speak with us and expand our course offerings outside of the classroom; she was also never afraid to ask anyone we requested to join us.

The student support was great during the program and a lot of that was due in part to the swift actions taken when we would indicate any issue, regardless of severity. Perhaps the most fulfilling part of the program was the host family assignment which was delayed by a week so that our program staff could understand us a bit better then place us with the family that fit best. This worked perfectly because I loved my host family and am still in contact with them today.

There were eight students in my cohort including myself. It felt like the perfect size where we were able to know everyone around us without feeling like we were stuck. Living in Kuala Lumpur and attending classes at University Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) assisted in making sure that we did not feel stuck; only 30 minutes away by train from the city center, there were always opportunities for us to break off and explore on our own or with friends we made at our university. The UKM Global office assigned each of us a “student buddy” that could assist us with language but also with getting acquainted with the campus; this was an invaluable asset upon our arrival and many of them we each still call friends.

Overall, the theme of the program and its staff was that it was not unlike them to go above and beyond for us. Even as we were required to return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were kept in concern with daily messages and frequent video chats to help us complete our coursework.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Not traveling internationally during a global pandemic.
Default avatar
Robert
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Unfortunately, my semester was canceled early due to COVID-19. But that doesn't mean that I still had a blast in Malaysia! The academics focus on international trade, language, and culture. For the language, I took Mandarin Chinese and took advantage of many opportunities to speak to the locals. Before registering for the program I was already interested in international trade and investments, so the program was a perfect fit. However, the most surprising part of the program was how immersed I became in the Malaysian culture. For most of the program, you are assigned a Malaysian family to stay with. My family taught me all about Malaysian food, customs, holidays, and traditions. Living with a family is the best way to be fully immersed in the culture.

But the program separates itself from others because of the way it prepares you for your post-college career. During the final month, everyone does an internship. The internship varies student to student depending on what you want for a career. Students had a variety of options to choose from such as trade councils, investment banks, oil companies, and many more. Malaysia was an unforgettable experience, and I would absolutely recommend this program to other students.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Take the initiative to make more Malaysian friends. I made plenty of friends while I was there, but it never hurts to make more!
Default avatar
Klara
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IHP is a study abroad experience like no other. It is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel in a completely unique and uncomparable way. The network that IHP has built in all of it's locations allows for unparalleled immersion and absorption of culture and lifestyle of all communities visited. The connections made with fellow students, professors, and local staff are deep, meaningful, and have changed me as a person. If you are flexible, open to new experiences, and keen to explore, IHP will offer a path like no other to learn, see, do, and come out of it looking at the world and the places you're in in a completely different way.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Embrace and lean into every experience! You will be pushed out of your comfort zone but only look back thankful for how much you grew, learned, and loved every second.
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Cassandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IHP is an educational experience like no other. I studied abroad on a direct exchange program with another university in the fall, and my experience with IHP was far more rewarding in many ways. By facilitating meaningful and relevant discussions among a tight-knit cohort of students, the program intellectually challenges everyone. Through lectures, site visits, and interviews I found myself questioning my own assumptions, and growing academically, personally, and socially. Course content is reasonably challenging. While not being overly easy, it appreciates the considerable time requirements of the program overall.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be completely open to the experience. Appreciate the time and effort your country teams are investing into the program. They understand how to transform this program from a mere academic course into a social, personal, and intellectual exploration. By stepping outside your comfort zone, you will have a better appreciation for your cultural context, which deepens your academic studies.
Default avatar
Rachel
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Participating in this program was the best decision I’ve made in my college experience. I’m studying Environmental Policy at Duke University, and I had wanted to study abroad since I learned about that option in high school.

IHP Climate Change is an incredible program. We studied some of the most pressing issues the world is facing right now, and heard from people directly affected by them. From guest speakers to site visits, we learned about the struggles and fights of people all around the world, directly from them. We learned the importance of lifting up those voices who are usually suppressed, with readings, discussions, and actually hearing those voices. In many cases we heard both sides of controversial issues. Through class lectures, group discussions, and community building sessions, we became closer as a group and grew as young people in the fight against climate change.

This program really taught me perspective. The academics were really interesting, and I learned a lot about climate change, but the main focus was climate justice. We learned that everything is intersectional, and climate change is both a threat and a threat multiplier. This program truly changed the way I look at the issues facing our world today and how to solve them. The program requires a lot from you in terms of actual scheduled programming, but it was the right format to get the most out of the experience.

We had a lot of time to learn about the countries we were in, spend time with our homestay families, travel, and get to know each other as a group. We really became close as a group, and I now have a whole new set of friends. I learned more from this semester than any other semester of college. It’s a great balance of fun, analyzing, learning, and growth. I miss it a lot, and I’m super grateful that I had the experience to do something like this.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Please please apply for this program!! It was the best decision I made in my college experience. I learned so much from this program, and I’ll use it in the future in so many ways. Another piece of advice though - pack less than you think need!

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 84
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
SIT Nepal: Tibetan and Himalayan Peoples
Tibet
9.9 •10 reviews

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

SIT Study Abroad
Transnationalism & Comparative Development in South America
Multiple Countries
9.33 •9 reviews

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

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

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

8 new reviews
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.

Olivia Snyder

Olivia has a great passion for learning new languages and traveling abroad in order to practice them. She hopes to someday work as a trilingual interpreter or translator.

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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