Exhausting and overwhelming, but illuminating, impactful, and real. Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/16/2014 to 12/06/2014 with

SIT Study Abroad: IHP - Health and Community: Globalization, Culture and Care (Fall 2)

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about Public Health, but I may have learned more about myself and my role in group dynamics. It was completely worthwhile.

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

In India, on site administration was not as strong. It was rather disorganized and hard to adjust to the program. South African administrators were fantastic. They were organized and clear about scheduling and assignments. The Brazil administrators were organized but not very understanding of us as students; we were exhausted mentally and physically, but they kept pushing us over the edge with a packed schedule and lots of work.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

The homestays were fantastic!

* Food:

For the most part, food was fine. There were times, however, when we went long periods of time without eating just because of travel schedules. That's rough with a group of 30. Also, I think they should have given us more stipend money for buying ourselves meals when they weren't provided by the program. Oftentimes I found myself spending a lot of my personal money on food, which was no fair considering the tuition cost was supposed to cover three meals each day.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt as integrated as I could have, mostly thanks to the generosity and warmth of my host families.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Luckily I never had any health issues, but I had friends who did and they felt under-cared for. I think that was because our fellow was not the most mature person when it came to attending to each of our needs. I got the typhoid vaccine for the program.

* Safety:

In India, I didn't feel safe a lot of the time. Due to disorganized scheduling, I found myself needing to take rickshaws and trains home alone a lot of the time, which is not safe as a foreign woman in Delhi. In South Africa, I didn't feel safe walking home alone, but still had to. I felt safest in Brazil.

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)

For the most part it was easy, except for when they gave us small amounts of stipend money for meals.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 200
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? No


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • International Students
  • 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • New friends
  • Host families
  • Free time exploring each country
* What could be improved?
  • Class assignments (they were monotonous)
  • Safety
  • Picking a responsible and competent fellow
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Culture shock is a real thing. Cut yourself some slack, take a breath, and move forward.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: IHP
Instructor: Brian Johnson
Instruction Language: English
Comments: We wrote papers for this class, which were interesting and mostly academic analysis of our readings. I wish we had done more studies on cultures rather than academic papers.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: IHP
Instructor: Varied
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was my favorite class because it involved the most concrete and specific information. I thought the instruction and grading in India was completely unfair and ambiguous, but the other two countries were fantastic.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: IHP
Instructor: Varied
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was difficult to follow because we studied completely different things in each place. It seemed as if the instructors in each country hadn't communicated about their syllabi at all, so there was no chronological or consecutive flow to our learning material.
Credit Transfer Issues: No
Course Name/Rating:


Course Department: IHP
Instructor: Brian Johnson
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was my least favorite class, mostly because of its subject matter. I think the instructor did the best he could. Retrospectively I realize I learned a lot, but the material was rather boring and obvious.
Credit Transfer Issues: No