SIT Study Abroad Participant Reviews
Disorganized, but built for the independent
Submitted by Hannah - - | March 12, 2018
Overall, I felt the academic director was a bit disorganized. I did not feel he understood the students' needs and concerns, and therefor could not successfully address them. I did not like how all of the courses were taught by guest lecturers. It felt all over the place and I did not feel I took cohesive courses. However, I appreciated the access the program gave me to the major health organizations in Geneva. My favorite part of the program was the ISP. I loved being able to independently research my topic of interest-- the reason why I went on the program to begin with. Switzerland is an expensive country, but the stipend can cover your costs for food if you are paying attention to where your money is going.
Amazing semester abroad; 10/10 would recommend
Submitted by Elizabeth Millar - Davidson College | March 08, 2018
I had a wonderful experience through SIT's study abroad program in Buenos Aires. The experiential learning component of SIT is especially notable, as it provides a wonderful way to apply what we have learned in the classroom, meet locals, and explore surrounding areas. During this program we travelled to Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil where we got to interact with a lot of local organizations as well as explore the cities.
I also really enjoyed the challenge of taking our classes in Spanish. All of our professors and program directors were very accommodating to all levels of Spanish, and they were available for help when needed. We were placed into a beginner, intermediate or advanced Spanish class based on a written and oral entrance exam. These classes were a great time to really focus on what we as a small group specifically wanted to improve upon. Thus, the agenda was flexible and I think students felt more comfortable in this setting with speaking and asking questions since you are placed with students at the same level of Spanish.
Overall, I had a really wonderful experience. I loved the classes, the city, my host family, the things to do in Buenos Aires, and the trips and activities we got to participate in through the program. I would highly recommend this program!
Wonderful program with great opportunities
Submitted by Lane Klossner - Tulane University | March 03, 2018
This program provided many opportunities that would never have been possible alone. We were able to meet people and go to places that aren't accessible to your typical tourist, making the program feel very worthwhile. Another wonderful aspect of the program was that it was clearly worth the cost. There was never a moment where anyone wondered where all the tuition money had gone; it was visibly being spent on our experiences and and our time abroad.
The host families were the absolute best part of my time abroad. Each family was carefully chosen and a lot of time and energy went into pairing up students with the best fit.
A++++ field-based experience!
Submitted by Rebekah Katz - Swarthmore College | March 02, 2018
SIT Ecuador: Development, Politics, and Languages could not have been a better experience. I applied to the program on a whim following the advice of my study abroad advisor and it could not have been a more perfect fit, and the hands-on, field-based experience we had was once in a lifetime. From city life in Quito to the coast of Guayaquil and the Galapagos Islands, all the way to the Amazon, we had the unique opportunity of being able to learn first-hand about Ecuador's most pressing socio-political issues from those directly involved in grassroots organizations and those affected by the ever-shifting political climate. Fabian, the academic director, is the most knowledgeable and passionate teacher I have ever had in my life. He and Sofia (the assistant director) were a constant support structure throughout the entire process and were always ready, willing, and able to lend an ear, a hand, or whatever you might need. I was able to immerse myself in Ecuadorian culture through my homestays and consequently improved my Spanish dramatically. The ISP was an incredible experience; I was able to prove to myself that I can, do, and will belong in academia, an aspect I have been doubting about myself for a long time. The opportunity to engage in field-based primary research at that level with the level of support that we had is something incredibly unique. The best part of the program is that you can really mold it to your academic interests- whether you're passionate about the environment, human migration, linguistics, gay rights, etc. etc., you can make the program what you want it to be!
Great friends, great nature, and great food
Submitted by Phoebe Merrick - University of Virginia | March 02, 2018
This program is an incredible opportunity for students studying ecology or environmental science! I had had great experiences traveling throughout Ecuador, learning about local ecology, and making new friends. The classes, and especially the independent research project, made me more qualified for ecology research positions. Taking classes in Spanish and living with a host family has made me much more confident in Spanish classes at my home university. I loved living with my host family, and I'll never forget all of the local traditions and foods they introduced me to. The program directors and host families are so proud of their country, and it's easy to see why! This was an incredible experience and I would recommend it to anyone interested in ecology and conservation.
I fell in love...
Submitted by Felicitas Fischer - University of San Francisco | March 01, 2018
...with the city of Buenos Aires, and most importantly, who I became after the 4 months I spent there. The city itself offers such a rich and diverse culture for those interested in the arts, social justice, literature, night life, food, environmental sustainability, and simply living an adventurous life. I didn't know a single thing about Argentina before coming, but SIT did an amazing job preparing us for the city dynamics and culture through very realistic, enriching experiences that involved the community of Buenos Aires and other communities in the Southern and Northern region of Argentina. The classes are dense, but the experiential learning aspect of the program (where you go on excursions and do a research project/internship) really helps ground you in the knowledge of this country - I learned so much more about Argentina that I know about my own country because of this. Also, the city is extremely active (during day and night!), so you will have an exhilarating experience whether you are attending a protest in Plaza de Mayo, taking a tango class in the city center, going to Palermo (hot spot for bars and clubs), and meeting the young Argentineans themselves! After 4 months of this, I didn't want to leave, not just because the country enchanted me, but because I became the best version of me; sensitive to new political issues, confident in the skills I had gained, actively aware of what's going on around the world and can speak for things I saw and experienced. SIT is the kind of program that gives you the opportunity to explore a country deeply through academics and experiential learning, while still giving you the freedom to explore what you want and have authentic experiences on your own!
Lots of support, invaluable experiences
Submitted by bees4peace - College of Wooster | March 01, 2018
I participated in this program in Fall 2017. Overall, my experience was very positive. As someone working toward teaching licensure and with a background in education, I think that I very much benefited from the cross-cultural experiences that this program afforded--through school visits, interactions with students at different institutions in a variety of contexts and locations, exposure to bilingual-intercultural education with the Mapuche people, and, for me personally, an internship at a School for the Deaf in Santiago. There were struggles and at times I felt isolated from other people, but I did receive a lot of support from program staff in many forms, and the value I have taken away from this program is very high.
An incredible opportunity to study in Bolivia
Submitted by Olivia - Columbia University | March 01, 2018
This program is very challenging but that is what makes it so enriching. I had the opportunity to learn about indigenous resistance, learn from local rural and urban families, and think about decolonization from an Andean perspective. The classroom academics are stimulating and all of the visits we do really complement what we learn in class, which is mostly from local guest lecturers. I really appreciated the fact that the program is very aware of itself as a program of American students in Bolivia, but we ask a lot of questions about ethics and our own positionality all semester. I became extremely close with my host family and made deep friendships with my classmates as well. Also Cochabamba in general is a beautiful and very fun city. I also got to learn Quechua on the program which was incredible, especially when we visited local communities to practice our Quechua. I would highly recommend this program.
Unforgettable experience in fall 2017
Submitted by Margaret - Connecticut College | February 26, 2018
My time abroad was by far my favorite semester of college. It was an unforgettable experience, and a large part was due to the staff in SIT Bolivia. The program director Heidi, the assistant director Noemi, the secretary Pati, and all the staff cared about each and every single one of us. They treated my group like their own family, and welcomed us all. One of my favorite memories is cooking Thankgsiving food at Heidi's house and congregating with everyone after from the program to celebrate. They also set up incredible lectures from important political and social figures in the community. They pushed us to think more critically and to reject ethnocentric views. We were here to listen and learn, not to interrupt or intrude. The Spanish teachers as well were incredible. We worked in small groups of four or five students with the best Professors. It was a refreshing untraditional style of teaching that accelerated my language skills from proficient to advanced. Lastly, my homestay family was the best part of the experience. I spent the entire semester in Cochabamba with them and they treated me just like one of their own kids. We tried food together, saw soccer matches together, danced and laughed in the Campesino, and learned from one another. I'll never forget my time abroad because it taught me so much about myself, a culture unlike my own, and what I want for the future. Thank you SIT Bolivia for everything!
Amazing field study abroad in Ecuador
Submitted by Nicole C. - University of Denver | February 25, 2018
This is an amazing program for anyone looking to further their Spanish and learn a lot about biology, ecology, geology, and natural sciences. The program is very structured and intensive but this is what makes it so rewarding. The academics are interesting, challenging, and supported by real experiences in the field. You will travel to a number of amazing locations including the Galapagos, Amazon, páramo, and cloud forest. While the program itself is heavily oriented towards science and conservation you will also learn about culture through school and through your host families. One of the aspects of this program that makes it so unique is the independent study project. This was also one of the things I was most nervous about, but you will feel prepared and confident with the help of professors and staff. Students use this opportunity to study a topic of interest, practice research techniques, build their resume, gain field experience, do their senior thesis, and have an independent and immersive experience.
Do not expect to have a ton of free time. The days in the city are spent in class and nights spent with your host family. Excursions are spaced about a week apart. This allows you time to reflect on the last trip, prepare for the next, and have time to explore the city.
This is by no means an easy study abroad program academically or culturally. However if you are open-minded and passionate about ecology and conservation this will be an amazing and worthwhile experience. There are many people both in and out of the program that are kind, helpful, and excited to share their culture with you. One things this program really stresses is how to be a conscious and respectful student abroad. Overall, this is amazing experience and you will learn so much personally and academically!