More Emotionally Difficult Than Intellectually Stimulating January 03, 2018

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/20/2017 to 12/12/2017 with

SIT Study Abroad: IHP - Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges and Advocacy

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I don't think it was particularly worthwhile for me. In the classroom I do not feel like I learned that much, if anything it was that I do not like IR and prefer rooting my work in my home-place. However, I sometimes learned strategies from the places we went to that I will hopefully use at home.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The academics themselves isn't what's rigorous about the program, it's the circumstances of the program that make finding time for the academics difficult. Since you are in programing from 9am to 5pm, not including time to travel to the classroom space from your homestay, and often spend time doing excursions outside of the city, spending that much time traveling and studying human rights wears down on you. Additionally, 2 of the 4 courses (so half) are taught by a traveling faculty member, so the curriculum of those courses changes every year. So, I would not say the academics are difficult, it is just difficult to complete the coursework as well as you would at your home institution because you are traveling the whole time.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Variable. Since this program takes place across three different countries, the host country administration varies. It also depends on your personal relationship with the host country coordinators.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Highly variable. I myself was satisfied most of the time, but some of my peers would not say the same.

* Food:

Always pretty good. We did have a lot of issues with allergies on the trip though,

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Since we as students were not required to know any of the languages of any of the countries that we visited, we could have limited interactions with locals outside of host families (if they spoke the languages we spoke), and our program staff. It is not the program to choose if you want immersion.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no experiences with health care.

* Safety:

V safe.

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

I would choose the same program, but I would go a different semester. I think our traveling staff was not prepared enough or trusted enough and the traveling faculty didn't teach to my interests. Additionally, the students on my semester were a mixed bag.

Finances

* 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)

It depends on how much you spend. They have also changed the budget for newer students. I spent $1,500 over the course of the semester, but I was one of the more thrifty people on the trip.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? It varied from country to country. In Nepal I spent less than $60 of my own money over the course of the month. Each week they give you a stipend to cover food and it depends on how you spend that.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? I saved money over the course of the semester and summer prior to leaving and I recommend those who need to save do that as well. There are also discretionary funds available for those who need them for smaller trips, but not to cover the whole cost of spending on the program.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Being able to see 3 countries
  • Meeting various professionals
  • Being able to travel around
* What could be improved?
  • The curriculum
  • The variety of speakers
  • The admissions process
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Do what you think is fun and what you need, not what other people think is a "fun" study abroad.