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
Connie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I enjoyed studying abroad with SIT in Durban, South Africa! I liked the mix of coursework that we had that revolved the Social Determinants of Health and Approaches to Community Health in South Africa -- I found the coursework to be easier than a typical course load at my home college. We also went on many excursions to local NGOs like Blue Roof, AFRA, SDCEA, etc. and local community health centers. I also enjoyed the homestay component -- the homestay communities were so wonderful and welcoming!

I think there could have been a better balance of our day to day schedule because somedays were a bit lecture heavy, but I really enjoyed the overall study abroad experience!

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

This experience was truly eye-opening and I am so grateful for it. The focus of the overall program was migration, however, it brought so much more to light politically, socially, and economically, allowing students to approach it from various lenses. The program is based in Rabat, allowing us to study within the walls of the Medina (the old city) and also experience life outside of the Medina. Our classes were lectured based, something I was not used to, coming from a smaller college with discussion based classes, however I appreciated having the opportunity to listen and learn from the perspectives of academics and organizations in Morocco. The lectures and themes of the week also led to excursions to different cities in Morocco such as Fez, Tangier, and Chefchaouen, but I will still admit Rabat was by far my favorite city. We also had a one week excursion to Amsterdam when learning about the Moroccan diaspora beyond Morocco. We covered so much in the first two months in classes, so when the Independent Study Project/Internship period arose, we were able to independently work on our chosen projects/sites. I also was not expecting to be able to speak so much Darija! My arabic class would definitely be one of the most engaging and fun classes I've ever taken in my whole college experience. I came in with no knowledge of Arabic, was extremely nervous to take the class, and left wanting to pursue it more! Finally, my host family experience is something I will forever cherish; even months after my return, I have stayed in communication with my host mother and sister almost every week and frequent video calls. This program is for the student that loves to take initiative, ask questions, and critically reflect.

What would you improve about this program?
One thing I would improve is for classes to be half lectures, half discussion. I think the lecturers that come in are really valuable, but I think having the opportunity to discuss afterwards either with them or after they leave would be beneficial for students to think even more critically about its relation to its larger application to that week's theme or the course description.
Default avatar
Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This program gave me the opportunity to meet incredible people and learn about the multicultural country of South Africa by immersing myself in the culture. All four homestays were unique and provided insight into the diverse cultures of South Africa. The host families were welcoming, kind, and eager to share their life with students. This program is incredible in giving students the confidence to explore a new country, meet new people and learn about this unique country. I learned how to become comfortable feeling uncomfortable and how to see the beauty in each day.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Sheepshead also known as "smiley" is a common dish in South Africa. It is named smiley because a sheep's mouth curls up into a smile when it is boiling.
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Anna
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I learned a lot while abroad, focusing on race helped me better understand how I perpetuate white privilege which was valuable. I met a lot of wonderful people and had good conversations about the program and South Africa. The academic part of the program was less rigorous than I had expected and I wish I had known how much SIT would run my life while abroad. However, there was also a large lack of information and structure which was frustrating as I never really knew what was expected of me and it felt like I was sitting around doing nothing a large percentage of the time.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Trust the program staff. Ask them questions. They are there to help you and they want to do so. They are incredible people and you should rely on them.
Default avatar
Naomi
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you’re thinking about it, do it. This is a really great program for aspiring/student journalists or anyone who is remotely interested in journalism; no prior experience is needed. The staff at the center you take classes at are really great, the program staff are amazing (shout out to the academic director, Dan, and the program coordinator, Samad), and it was super cool to work with/get feedback from our advisors (freelance journalists/photographers for NY Times and AP). The partnerships you form with the Connect Institute students for the independent study portion of the semester are also a valuable part of the experience. The city of Rabat is also beautiful, the food is amazing, the people are nice, and there are so many places to explore. If you get a chance, I recommend hiking Mt. Toubkal. I definitely came out of the program very confident and gained research, interviewing, and storytelling skills.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The independent study portion was difficult if you don't do a good job preparing during pitch week. But the advisors and academic director are super supportive throughout the entire process. Everyone came out of the independent study period with really cool projects. Some of them even got published!

Programs

Displaying 10 - 18 of 81
SIT Study Abroad
South Africa: Human Rights and Multiculturalism
South Africa
7 reviews

Explore issues of human rights, multiculturalism, ethnicity, and...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT Bolivia: Multiculturalism, Globalization & Social Change
Bolivia
7 reviews

Explore how concepts of development and cultural identity are being...

SIT Study Abroad
Study Politics and Religious Integration in the Mediterranean
Multiple Countries
6 reviews

In Tunisia and Italy, crossroads of the Mediterranean, study the...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT South Africa: Community Health & Social Policy
South Africa
6 reviews

Examine community-based health concerns from a South African...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT Nicaragua & Cuba: Youth, Literacy & Media
Multiple Countries
6 reviews1 interview

Explore Nicaragua a generation after the revolution and investigate...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT Ecuador: Development, Politics, and Languages
Ecuador
6 reviews

Study Ecuador's development processes while considering the...

SIT Study Abroad
IHP Health and Community: Globalization, Culture, and Care
Multiple Countries
6 reviews

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

SIT Study Abroad
SIT South Africa: Social & Political Transformation
South Africa
5 reviews1 interview

Explore the dynamic socioeconomic, political, and cultural processes...

SIT Study Abroad
SIT Chile: Comparative Education & Social Change
Multiple Countries
4 reviews

Study educational policies and pedagogies in Chile and Argentina...

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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