Climate Change: Politics of Food, Water & Energy

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About

Explore the social impacts of climate change through the political economy of food, water, and energy in some of the world’s most productive and vulnerable landscapes.

This program examines the interconnections between the economics, politics, geography, and science of climate change and its effects on human society. The program takes place in the US, Vietnam, Morocco, and Bolivia.

Students will learn about the varied impacts of climate change — extreme weather, desertification, ocean acidification, melting glaciers, rising sea levels, loss of biodiversity, and dangerous social upheavals — and will be encouraged to think seriously about realistic solutions.

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Reviews

9 Rating
based on 3 reviews
  • Academics 8.3
  • Support 9
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 8.3
  • Safety 8.3
Showing 1 - 3 of 3
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Wassa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An Incredible Incredible Program

This program is an INCREDIBLE opportunity to study climate justice with people at the frontlines of the climate crisis. I think this program is essential to understanding environmental justice outside of the US. It not only explores the local forces that lead to environmental inequality but also the larger global forces I think many traditional programs glaze over. This program has heavily influenced my future career and activism interests. SIT/IHP does such a thorough job taking care of its students. I couldn't have asked for a better program.

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Leanna
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

IHP Climate Change: An Extraordinary, Engaging Experience

I really enjoyed going on this program. It is, however, very different from the standard study abroad program at a foreign university, and prospective students should be aware of this. For example, I didn't find the courses to be particularly academically rigorous because there were relatively few assignments. Instead, the experience was mainly bulked out by site visits and a focus on experiential learning, which I felt definitely worked to its benefit in creating a different experience every semester and for every student. In order to ensure that get as much out of these experiences as possible though, there are mandatory programmed events for debriefing and synthesizing them. Students thus should be prepared to deeply discuss events and their reactions to events that are both scheduled and unexpected. There can also be uncertainty in the program scheduling due to its release on guest lecturers and site visits, and the program itself is densely packed and will probably feel restrictive if what you want out of your study abroad experience if absolute freedom to explore.

This program also invokes a lot of in-group bounding. Since the student group is pretty small (mine was 22 people) and, due to the active nature of the program, pretty isolated, relationships within the group are very important but can also feel stifling at times. A key relationship you will probably develop will be with your homestay families: homestays really help to ground you in each host country on this program. I also got pretty close with the administrators in each country, who were all incredibly talented, knowledgeable, and accessible. As a whole, this program is pretty safe. However, there were incidents of people being followed and phone theft. The administration will give formal safety orientations in each country — definitely pay attention to those and follow the buddy policy — but the country coordinators and their assistants will also offer informal advice and support that is invaluable.

For some more technical details, SIT gives a food and transportation stipend in each country. Depending on the country, it may or may not actually be enough: Morocco was more difficult food budgeting-wise, but the San Francisco and Vietnam stipends were especially generous. I personally enjoyed all the food and had no problems, but I know that vegetarians on the program had some difficulties staying vegetarian both in homestays and while eating out, and many people went through adjustment periods to new diets. I was also lucky enough to not experience any health issues during the program, but other people did and the administration was very prompt and helpful in responding to the problem. My experiences with my host families were all positive and all the hotels were quite nice, but there were issues with wifi accessibility in certain hotels, which could get really annoying. And because there's not only movement between countries but also a lot of movement within countries, there is a lot of time spent driving and traveling in general, which can get exhausting.

IHP Climate Change was incredible to experience and eye-opening to synthesize. So much happens on this program, and the explicit focus on interconnectivity and intersectionality helped to integrate every event into the learning. But the definite highlight for me was the people: from homestay families to guest lecturers to administrators to the other students, I met so many intelligent, thoughtful people that I am so grateful to have gotten the chance to meet. What this program offers is a very specific experience to allow you to learn from a vast variety of people and places, to show you how to learn both globally and locally, and to analyze the world around you and your place in it. I can't recommend it enough.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
A key part of this program is the final project — it's best to start collecting information for your project as soon as possible and so you should try to work towards figuring out at least the broad topic and general direction of your project early on. If you're unsure, definitely go discuss it with your professor and the other administrators.
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Molly
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An enlightening look at dealing with climate change across the world

The program exceeded my expectations almost across the board. The emphasis on environmental justice was not something I was aware would be central but was so grateful it was. The staff/program directors, country coordinators and traveling support were all so incredibly inspiring, and committed to listening to students, supporting them and creating the best all-around experience possible.
It had:
Opportunities - connections to speakers, local knowledge about sites, complementary readings that I would not be able to compile learning/traveling on my own

Traveling - I loved that I got an introduction to visiting three incredibly different countries

Freedom - heavy/intense programming at times but appropriate respect and deference to student freedom

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
The program is not focused around deep immersion, nor do you delve into one place. Traveling with a large group of mostly American students and being shuffled from place to place it was a bit more challenging to meet local people or interact in a low key way. However the program did afford a lot of freedom during off hours, such that it was certainly possible to take it upon oneself to explore in smaller groups and seek your own interpersonal connections. If you are looking to learn a language, this is not the program. It was very introductory for each country, called “survival courses”; not very enforced practicing or teaching.