SIT Study Abroad

Program Reviews

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Patrick
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SIT Ecuador: Development, Politics, and Languages

I absolutely loved this program. It's so cliché to say, but it really was a life-changing experience for me. I found the academics to be extremely stimulating, but the outside-the-classroom workload was reasonable, which left plenty of time to explore the country. I was especially impressed with how the coursework was accessible to everyone, regardless of Spanish-speaking ability. We had a wide range in our cohort, from native speakers to total newbies, but somehow everyone seemed to feel comfortable and appropriately challenged. As others have noted here, the excursions to the Amazon, Galapagos, and Intag cloud forest were absolutely amazing, in terms of both the ecological and cultural diversity that we had the opportunity to engage with. Our cohort was larger-than-average, with about 24 students, but we were very close. I think everyone felt that they had a solid group of friends to go out and explore the country with. Faba and Sofia were are just the best, very supportive but not at all helicopter-y. The class discussion was very open-ended, with wide variety of viewpoints, as we had students of a variety of nationalities. This was sometimes challenging and very intellectually engaging. My homestay experiences were both excellent, as most or all of the homestay families have long-standing relationships with the program directors and have lots of prior experience hosting foreign students.

For me, the most impactful part of the program was the Independent Study Project (ISP). For this project, we were allowed to stay just about anywhere in the country for four weeks, and work on a research project of our own design. However, we had to partner with a community organization in our project location, and the program directors have relationships with organizations all over, so no one had to be truly "out on their own" if they didn't want to be. I chose to work with a social movement that was protesting state-sponsored mining in the Intag cloud forest. I had such a good experience, and built such strong relationships with community members there, that when I got back to my university in the US, I immediately started working on a way to go back. Ultimately, I assembled a student team, and we were awarded over $20,000 in funding to return to Intag. So, I spent three more months in Ecuador supporting the work of multiple community organizations after graduating from UVA in 2019. I stayed with the same homestay family that I had met in 2018, and I am still in touch with them today. So, I would say that the was not only a great way to forge long-lasting relationships with local people, it also went a long way towards advancing my young career. As soon as it is safe, I can't wait to go back!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Cuy, obviously! But don't worry, I had to go out of my way to try it, no one is going to force feed you.
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Malak
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a lifetime!

SIT Morocco was an incredible, life changing program! Living in Rabat and engaging with CCCL Staff not only allowed me to obtain an in depth, extensive experience of the geopolitical histories of Morocco, but I was able to visit a multitude of diverse places across Morocco, including Chefchaouen, Marrakech, Tetouan, the Sahara Desert, and so many more! Not only were the staff incredibly helpful and supportive, but the people in the program were all excited to be there and learn, and I met some of my best friends from this program!!

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Chloe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The BEST experience!

There are not enough words to describe how life changing this program was for me! The academics were challenging in that it taught me to see from a different perspective and imagine different ways of being and living. Classes were very relaxed though and open for everyone to share their thoughts and experiences. We also frequently had guest speakers who were prominent community leaders or government officials. Additionally, we were able to directly apply our knowledge in breathtaking excursions to the Amazon Rainforest and the Galapagos Islands (more were planned but the program was unfortunately cut short due to COVID-19). During these excursions, we stayed in the nicest places I have ever been to! In the Amazon we stayed at a sustainable finca, hiked through the rain forest, were spiritually cleansed, and listened to a presentation by an important community activist. In the Galapagos, we hiked through volcanos, snorkled with sharks, sea turtles, and sea lions, and experienced some important local community organizations. The most impactful aspect, though, were the people I met here. I have never been surrounded by a more kind and loving group of people. The entire group developed such a close bond from the get-go and we spent the whole program together, planning activities after class and even going out of town on the weekends.
It is also important to note that I never felt unsafe here. Although I was studying abroad during the beginning of the pandemic, SIT and my program directors did everything they could to ensure the health and safety (and even happiness) of their students. The academic directors, Faba and Sofia, were incredible in helping us navigate the unprecedented conditions we were experiencing.
This program has so much to offer and allows you enough free-time to craft it into the perfect study abroad experience. I am now the person who can't shut up about their study abroad experience!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
The first weekend we were in Quito, the whole group decided to hop on a 10-hour bus-ride to go to Banos. One day, we biked for 14 miles to see 7 different waterfalls--even climbing through a cave to see one of them! We also zip-lined over a valley and rode a suspended cart right up to a waterfall. These are things I would normally be too scared, and definitely no fit enough, to do, but I'm so so so glad I did!
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Nora
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Most Incredible Semester

SIT Jordan was an outstanding experience. From academics, to social life, to professional opportunities, I felt that SIT offered it all! Academically, I learned a great deal about the country and region from local lecturers, the perspective of SIT administrators, and course readings and discussions. I also improved my FusHa Arabic, and learned a lot of survival Aamiyah which was key during my internship. My cohort of 30 was unusually close, often opting to go out for lunches or nightlife in large groups, and spending a lot of our free time together.

SIT offered amazing excursions to Ajloun, Jerash, Petra, the UAE, and more! When outside of class, I felt completely immersed in Jordanian culture and loved every minute of it.

I had the opportunity to complete an internship as a teaching assistant, and that really improved my speaking skills and confidence, while also giving me a better idea about disability in the Jordanian context.

Amman is a vibrant, lively city with things to do on every corner. I explored Wasat al Balad, tried new foods, found hidden bars, and met locals who were always thrilled to speak with Americans. Jordanians are some of the loveliest, most kind-hearted people out there.

I would not want to have done my semester abroad anywhere else with any other study abroad provider.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Lean into every uncomfortable moment with all you've got! Use your Arabic, even if you're just spitting out single words, and expect the best from strangers around you. Don't be afraid to ask locals for help or questions because you just might make some new friends! And definitely seek out clubs or local organizations, like Amman Running or Shams Table.
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Thea
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing experience!

I was abroad in Prague for the fall 2019 semester, and I have thought about it every day since! It was an incredible experience unlike any other and exceeded all of my expectations. I adored exploring the city and learned so much about Czech history, literature, and culture. I find myself referencing books and facts I learned all of the time—I've turned into that girl who's always starting conversations with "when I was abroad …" I had the loveliest host family; they really made me feel like I was part of their real family, and it was incredible to have the practical experience of cultural norms rather than just learning about them in the classroom. We lived on the northern outskirts of the city, making my commute to school around 45 minutes, but every minute was worth it because I got to explore different districts and see so many cool landmarks that way. The professors were awesome—they all had firsthand experience with the historical events we learned about—and I still keep in touch with my classmates. My favorite part was definitely the independent study project, where I researched underground literature from the communist era and interviewed some really impressive people who helped create and distribute it! Another thing I loved was being there for the thirtieth anniversary of the Velvet Revolution (the fall of communist rule). If you're in search of an adventure in a super cool city where you can learn a lot about art and history, this program is for you!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Explore as much as you can! I spent a lot of time wandering around the city and discovered so much that way. I also traveled to the Bone Church and Terezin on my own, both easy day trips that showed me a different side of Czech culture.
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Annie
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Exploring Gender & Sexuality in Amsterdam & Morocco

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

I only wish I never had to leave

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

Pretty Good!

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

experiential learning model = best experiences & 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
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isha
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A program fit for anyone and any major!

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.