Cities in the 21st Century Study Program

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Explore how geography, politics, and culture affect whether people can thrive in cities.

The Cities in the 21st Century program examines the intentional and natural forces that guide the development of the world's cities. It combines an innovative urban studies academic curriculum with fieldwork involving public agencies, planners, elected officials, NGOs, and grassroots groups in important world cities where exciting changes are taking place.

Students learn how to "read a city"—an iterative process that hones the ability to observe, question, document, research, and communicate—leading to a better understanding of the interconnected social, physical, economic, environmental, and political systems that affect urban environments.

Questions & Answers


9.75 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 100%
  • 7-8 rating 0%
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  • Academics 9
  • Support 9.8
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 8.8
Showing 1 - 4 of 4
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Yes, I recommend this program

Life-changing experience

Great support and learning opportunity. This experience made it possible and enriching to live and study in a part of the world where I would never have dreamed possible. This program pushed my understanding of how cities and communities grow together. I gained so many wonderful experiences while living and working with local colleagues. This program offered me the chance to do really powerful learning but also experience so many different parts of the country.
I can't wait to return to Vietnam in the near future. This program has ignited a love for learning and a deep interest in the wonderful richness of Vietnam.
The program felt really well designed and safe. I'd highly recommend this program to anyone willing to step off the well-tod path and explore a new place and way of learning.

What would you improve about this program?
Nothing at all. The flight to Vietnam is amazingly long, but that can't really be changed.
Yes, I recommend this program

I Loved the Experience!

I did the SIT IHP Cities in the 21st Century program this spring of 2018, and it was the best decision I could take for myself. My track went to Ahmedabad (India), Sao Paulo (Brazil) and Cape Town (South Africa). I had wanted to go to India and Brazil for a long time and getting the chance to visit through the program was amazing because I got to engage critically with the cities we stayed in and got to know it beyond its tourism(which can often be superficial and harmful). The wonderful country teams that hosted us were open and insightful about the way their cities functioned, the problems they faced, and all the forms of resistance they held. We learned about the cities from so many different angles and teachers - visiting professors, working professionals, activists, community organizers, etc. I also loved the homestay component of the program because the families made us feel welcome and showed us the city in their own eyes. The group of students I became a class of were another big part of the experience since we spent 4 months together! We actively built community throughout the program and got to know each other quite well. The 4 months were obviously not without difficulty of adjusting to new places, dealing with different personalities, balancing the school work with exploring the cities, etc but it was overall enriching and positive. I recommend to anyone who loves to experience new things and is open to it. And of course, people who love urban studies! (ps. I am not an urban studies person, I study history, and I still loved it)

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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing experience

I could not have anticipated the amount of growth that would happen on this trip. I was challenged in ways that I didn't even know I had to be challenged and met the most inspiring people along the way. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone who is looking to push their limits academically and socially. A highlight was definitely getting to know my homestay mom in Langa Township in Cape Town, South Africa. I enjoyed all of my homestays, but this one in particular stuck with me. It seemed like we had to little in common at first, but she really took me in and became my grandma, reaching me her language, cooking amazing food, and just making sure I was doing alright. I have so many stories, but they all include so much learning and questioning of concepts I thought I knew so much about.

What would you improve about this program?
If I had to change one thing I would have the program last a year instead of just a semester. Also, maybe more information about the academic rigor pretrip in order to prepare a little better.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Around the World in 120 Days

There is no typical day on an IHP Cities trip. Every day is new, you meet a new local leader, you voyage to a new organization, community, city, country, you understand new things or old things in new ways. That's the greatest part of IHP, you are constantly confronting your preconceived perceptions and re-evaluating your understanding of cities and people. One day you could find yourself standing on the site of a house recently demolished by the state as part of an unjust eviction campaign talking with the community leaders who stopped the rest of the neighborhood from being turned to rubble. Another day could meet you on top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, looking at the portions of the city developed during the Apartheid and how much they haven't changed since the end of legal racial segregation. Yet another day could find you in a city planning museum in Hanoi, watching elaborate movies and light-up maps depicting just how Vietnam will transform itself into a developed nation. Or maybe you spend a Saturday sipping fresh coconut milk in Sao Paulo's Iberapuera park, watching kids feed the geese and throwing a frisbee with your host family. IHP is a challenge, but it is a worthy, important and incredible experience.

What would you improve about this program?
There were a few kinks in the administration of the program during my semester, but I believe that was due to their recently fostered partnership with SIT. Those kinks should be worked out by now.