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

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Eli
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

From the homestays, to the excursions, to the staff’s expert understanding of local custom, and to the final Independent Study Project (ISP), the program from start to finish helps dip its participants into Indonesian culture. By the end of the program, I felt confident in my ability to navigate Indonesian life and problem solve unfamiliar situations there; and I gained life-changing skills that have followed me out of Indonesia.

On the other hand, the academic assignments (with the exception of the ISP) left much to be desired. It was clear that the staff was unfamiliar with the Western-esque standards of oral presentations and essays. As a result, rarely could the staff provide assistance with said assignments--either help during the process of crafting the assignments themselves or afterwards when locating areas for improvement--and they graded only on the basis of whether or not we followed basic instructions such as the correct page limit and citation style, rather than grading for content, structure, and/or style.
If these assignments weren’t going to end up on our transcripts, then I could let this oversight go; but the fact remains that our academic work in Indonesia has consequences back in America.

What would you improve about this program?
We spend too much time in Bali--we perhaps spent three weeks out of three and a half total months outside of Bali. Considering that the program is about Indonesia (and not Bali exclusively), I would suggest branching out.
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Henry
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The instructors had diverse expertise and pushed me to challenge myself intellectually while providing superb support; the Tibetan language instruction was top-level, with daily opportunities to practice with local Tibetans and my homestay family; and the opportunity to conduct a month-long research project on a subject of my choosing was one the most valuable undergraduate academic experiences. I made friends for life and got to immerse myself in Tibetan and Nepali culture, learning for the first time about this fascinating part of the world. Can not recommend this program enough!

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Morgan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SIT Panama is an incredible abroad program for students who love the environment and traveling. You will learn how to do all kinds of field work, learn/improve your Spanish, and make incredible friends and memories for a semester. The program is very travel-heavy, and you'll likely only stay in one place for a maximum of one week. You and the other students will be learning in the field with professors who are at the top of their field. You will have plenty of time for exploring and relaxing in various towns and the City.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
We saw so many tropical animals, like toucans, sloths, ant eaters, monkeys, parrots, etc.
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Isabel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I absolutely glow even just thinking about SIT Bolivia, because the months I spent in this program were so powerful, important, path-changing, and transformative for me. My group of 16 meshed very well because we all wanted to be there and really wanted to be doing the difficult work of re-shaping our brains, our western assumptions and thought patterns, and how we might actually work to make positive change. I fell in love with Cochabamba and my host family, I felt safe, taken-care-of, and loved by our amazing academic director and program staff, and my Spanish improved a Lot! If you are looking for a semester that digs in deep to histories of colonialism, repression resistance and resilience, community and nation, development, environment, art and politics as ways of making change, and on and on and on--this is the program for you.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
On one of the experiential learning excursions, we traveled to the eastern part of Bolivia. We visited the BIG city, Santa Cruz, and also did a three-day village stay in a rural village in Santa Rita. It was jarring to move from the village homestay to the city, which is the most outwardly "westernizing" and consumer-capitalist part of Bolivia (we visited a giant mall). This was, I guess, surprising, to realize that so many conflicting things could be held beneath the surface of a country we once knew only from a distance! It provoked very thoughtful and productive conversations about development.
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Maya
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience was unique because there were political protests for over a month during my time in Chile. However, I found most staff members to be supportive of our wellbeing and receptive to any issues that came up. The trips to Temuco and Putre were very fun, as we were able to visit local health facilities, learn about traditional medicine practices, and have fun outings to hot springs and natural areas nearby. The homestay was a great experience as well, and I feel like I improved my Spanish the most by talking to my host parents at meal times and around the house. The academics were interesting, but not quite as hard as a traditional college semester in my experience. I had a good experience with my final project at the end of the semester as well, with a great advisor.

What would you improve about this program?
I would improve some of the academic resources and sites. I studied during a time of transition, when the readings and assignments were sometimes hard to keep track of and not all in one place.

Programs

Displaying 37 - 45 of 81

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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