What a Wonderful World: IHP Climate Change Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/27/2014 to 05/14/2014 with

SIT Study Abroad: IHP - Climate Change: The Politics of Food, Water and Energy

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Saw three countries in three months (as well as time spent in California at the start of the program) and learned so much about how the world works. The countries we visited each had their own unique perks and we saw and learned a lot. Not the easiest program in the world just in terms of physical, mental and emotional strain, but the academics were never overbearing and were often very interesting. One of the most incredible experiences I've ever had.

Review Photos

SIT Study Abroad: International Honors Program / IHP, Climate Change - The Politics of Food, Water, & Energy Photo SIT Study Abroad: International Honors Program / IHP, Climate Change - The Politics of Food, Water, & Energy Photo SIT Study Abroad: International Honors Program / IHP, Climate Change - The Politics of Food, Water, & Energy Photo SIT Study Abroad: International Honors Program / IHP, Climate Change - The Politics of Food, Water, & Energy Photo SIT Study Abroad: International Honors Program / IHP, Climate Change - The Politics of Food, Water, & Energy Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

This program was one of the most incredible things I've ever done. Learned a ton, saw a lot, and got a whole new perspective on the world. Much more sociology and political economy than science and very revealing.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Felt safe in every homestay. Some were more fun than others, but that just varied from country to country. Overall a great part of the experience.

* Food:

Some of the homestays didn't feed the three boys on the program quite enough food, but we managed with snacks or even delicious street food. Although definitely be careful what you eat.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Hard to fully integrate in only a month and the language barrier was often difficult. But definitely witnessed and participated in some cultural interactions.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Had a non-life-threatening medical issue in Morocco and it was taken care of relatively quickly by SIT Staff. The insurance has been difficult though--still trying to figure out how to get reimbursed for medical expenses and not much follow-through on it. But good on-site care.

* Safety:

I definitely felt safe in every city I was in for the most part. Like any city, there are perfectly safe areas and definitely areas to avoid. Saw a street fight in Morocco break out (nothing major).

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Super easy. Either had a built in stipend in the program in Vietnam and Bolivia or would just pull out some cash for snacks or our own shopping. No stipend in Morocco which was a bummer but we got lunch most days from our classroom or host family. My Bolivia stipend was so much I even used much of it for souvenirs. The stipends are very generous.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? No more than $75 a week, but I did less shopping than others.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The countries on this program are super cheap to visit, honestly mind-boggling sometimes.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

Learned some of the language in each country, and while they are all sort of hard languages to learn, I never really enjoyed any of the professors so it was made more difficult.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? None
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? None
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • Host Family
  • Hotel
  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Host Family
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Three countries!
  • Other program students
  • Field Trips
* What could be improved?
  • Communication between faculty and students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had known just how exhausting three months of travel really is.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Political Economy and Environmental History: 1492 to the Present

Course Department: N/A
Instructor: Bengi Akbulut
Instruction Language: English
Comments: It was just challenging enough, and there was definitely an effort to connect historical threads to present trends through the field trips and readings. Bengi was a great instructor, not the best at fostering discussion but still very knowledgable. We were assessed by participation and a single paper (that I actually never found out what I got on but still did well)
Credit Transfer Issues: Not yet
Course Name/Rating:

Comparative Issues in Food and Water

Course Department:
Instructor: Chris Williams and Bengi Akbulut
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was also just as challenging and good at integrating local things that we had seen into classwork and readings. Both Bengi and Chris were great professors, and I enjoyed when they co-taught some of the classes. I participated probably as much as I would have at Middlebury. Had a single paper due at the end of the semester (actually after our 15-page research paper was due which was strange) and participation.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:

The Science and Policy of Climate Change

Course Department:
Instructor: Chris Williams
Instruction Language: English
Comments: A great class. Chris Williams was one of the most knowledgable professors I have ever had, and that helped translate into some great class discussions that were not exactly always on-syllabus but were always enlightening. He also made a conscious effort to connect our field trips to what we were learning and reading about. Overall a great class, changed my academic mind.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Fieldwork Ethic and Comparative Research Methods

Course Department:
Instructor: Bengi Akbulut and Chris Williams
Instruction Language: English
Comments: A fine course, but it is basically just code for a 15-page research paper. The classes we had were mostly figuring out how to come up with good questions, how to work in the field (which didn't apply to me really because I did historical research), and just talking out our research ideas in small groups. The class was fine, like I said the paper is what constitutes your grade so its all about just working on that.
Credit Transfer Issues: