This is no fun trip to Europe, but you'll learn a lot October 14, 2020

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 01/19/2019 to 05/15/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned an immense amount, and it was 100% worth my time, but I wouldn't say I necessarily enjoyed the process.

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 is relatively work-intensive for a study abroad program. Lots more reading, essays, and class time than I imagined study abroad involving. The particular teaching-style depends on the traveling faculty you have, and my learning style did not mesh with her teaching style, but I've heard better things about more recent traveling professors on the program.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Most living arrangements are homestay-based with roommates. The host families come from a range of socioeconomic statuses, even within each country, so space and creature comforts are extremely variable, but I always felt safe and comfortable.

* 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:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

To fully enjoy this trip, be sure your heart and soul are fully dedicated to all things human rights. It's exhausting, emotional, and tough, so you have to really really want it for it to be a worthwhile, enjoyable experience.


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $50/week


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • 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
  • International Students
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 people were incredibly smart
  • We got to see a lot of the world
  • It changed a lot of my outlooks
* What could be improved?
  • The semester I attended, the support system was weak
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had gone in expecting this to be the hardest (and most rewarding) semester I'd have - anticipating the difficultly would have made made me far better-prepared

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Foundations and Frameworks of Human Rights (FFHR)

Course Department:
Instructor: Faculty varied by country
Instruction Language:
Comments: This was basically a history class of the human rights issues in each country we visited. I appreciated the grounding and background it gave us for the countries we were learning in.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Fieldwork Ethics and Comparative Research Methods

Course Department:
Instructor: Dominique Somda
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was extremely theory-based, and therefore more challenging and less enjoyable to me. Lots of reading accompanied class time, and often classroom discussions were so unstructured that I had trouble following what was being discussed.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problem
Course Name/Rating:

Comparative Issues in Human Rights

Course Department:
Instructor: Dominique Somda
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This was the most rewarding and work-intensive of all four classes - we each conducted our own comparative research as we traveled between countries, meeting and interviewing local individuals, writing a research paper based on our research. I was glad to have background experience with ethnographic research.
Credit Transfer Issues: No problems!
Course Name/Rating:

The Role of Civil Society: Grassroots Movements and NGOs

Course Department:
Instructor: Local faculty varies by country
Instruction Language: English
Comments: This class was field-trip heavy - lots of meeting with and reading/learning about local NGOs and grassroots movements in each country. There was a mini-group-project in each country, so 3 total, and accompanying presentations.
Credit Transfer Issues: No troubles with credit transfers.