Phenomenal experience Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/31/2016 to 05/23/2016 with

SIT Study Abroad: IHP Health and Community - Globalization, Culture and Care

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I think this SIT program is unique because it addresses global public health from a more critical viewpoint. We learn about concepts such as structural violence, political and economic histories of the areas we are in and how certain systems work to make some groups more vulnerable or give some people more or less access to health care. And we don't just learn about this in the classroom, but through qualified guest lecturers who work in various fields, and site visits to hospitals, clinics, museums, etc. This program was worthwhile because it had many students questioning previous assumptions and knowledge they had, and also allowed a balance of learning from both American professors and local professors/experts who are actually live/work in the places we are visiting. Furthermore, the inclusion of a case study for our anthropological research methods course allowed us to delve into various topics such as environmental health, maternal health, mental health, and ethnomedicine, and track how they varied across countries and rural/urban areas. We came to understand the multitude of factors implicated in the health conditions of people living in a certain area. It also helps to be introspective and realize how your positionality and the concept of "other" can change so frequently based on moving location, cultural surrounding, etc. You end up exploring your own identity and how its perception can vary. I would say this experience abroad was definitely life-changing.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Every stay we had in hotels, with host families, etc. was lovely and any concerns we had were addressed appropriately

* Food:

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

The program ensures that we always have communication with the program assistant or coordinator if needed and provides tips and resources for staying safe in each area we visit

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

IHP was AMAZING and I loved it, I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's absolutely worthwhile to travel to multiple countries! I originally feared a lack of immersion into cultures. A month flies by but the program provides so much exposure and so many learning experiences that you will delve deep into study about that country and learn things that you probably wouldn't learn if you were abroad on your own at a university there. The comparative aspect of the program is also priceless; you can see similarities or stark contrast in what you're studying between countries, and that's emphasized in the academics. Besides academics the program also ensured that we were comfortable in our homestays and facilitated opportunities for leisure and exploration! Also, because we were a group of students traveling together for an entire semester, we had frequent community building activities and the director, travel fellow, etc, made sure that there were community norms that allowed everyone to feel supported and included.


* 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)

The program provided stipends for transportation and food on a timely basis. The only place where this was difficult was Buenos Aires because some of us lived in expensive neighborhoods where 100 argentine pesos simply was not sufficient for a filling meal.

Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Eat dinner with your host family every evening (they would prefer it as well) rather than having dinners out. Do not go clothes shopping in Buenos Aires because it is ridiculously expensive.


* 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
  • 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?
  • The Health, Culture, and Community course specifically + critical academic perspective
  • Host families
  • Site visits and experiential learning
* What could be improved?
  • Transparency about what schedule and lifestyle is like during the program (9-5 every day including classes, site visits, guest lecturers, etc) before people apply
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Journaling and keeping track of your daily activities, thoughts, and emotions, although exhausting to do every day, makes for a more rewarding experience in the end. It's important to be able to remember and continue to process the semester abroad because especially with this SIT experiential learning / comparative program, you learn and go through so much that it is overwhelming and requires much time to understand and analyze even after the semester is over.

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!