Great experience! Badly run program Past Review

By (Brandeis University) - abroad from 02/04/2018 to 05/19/2018 with

SIT Study Abroad: India - Sustainable Development and Social Change

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Cross-cultural experiences especially exposure to many different NGOs + nonprofits and approaches to development issues

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.

While I had a great time, the program was poorly run in terms of academics and especially throughout the duration of the ISP (independent study period during the last month). The staff seems very helpful at first and later often disappoints students when they are unable to help or, more often than not, fail to realize that students need help.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The first portions of the program were run fairly smoothly and seem to decline in rigor and in proper planning as the months went on.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My home stay family was amazing. Zero complaints. Didn't think I would be the type to love a homestay and I really really did.

* Food:

It takes getting used to and of course it's India, so you have to be careful but food was great!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

My homestay really helped link local culture and the things we learned about in class to actual experiences.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Again, it's India... so it can be challenging to find care that is quantifiable to the type of care we often expect when visiting the doctor in the US. However, there were no major problems with health care. However the staff was always willing to get students to a doctor if necessary when in Jaipur, however on the ISP portion this may have been a challenge for some.

* Safety:

I felt relatively safe they prepare you during orientation and in some ways over prepare you to a point where you may feel scared. In reality feelings of insecurity or not feeling safe have more to do with the "Indian stare" and being the recipient of much harassment on the street due to both race and gender but often there was no real sense of threat.

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

I think overall it was a great experience, and the excursions + host family life set by the program overall added to this. Yet, overall the program was run fairly poorly with little effort to recognize student struggles or the effects of their own actions as a staff. While I would still say I had a great time, I would urge students to know that there may be times they feel alone or unsupported. It will be a great experience because you're abroad, and especially because you're in India but it won't be easy and the staff won't make it easier.


* 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)

Jaipur is a great place to go if you're not trying to study abroad on a budget. Do be prepared for the expenses before you leave though, such as additional medical care, shots, medications and bug sprays that you are expected to purchase. These were not things I had accounted for in my budget but it does even out to still spending less money than you would in other study abroad locations.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Less than $15
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Usually food is a place not to try and cut costs in my opinion, not worth getting sick. Use services like Uber or Ola instead of rickshaws they are much cheaper and when trying to buy items bargaining is kosher pretty much anywhere...


* 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

Very much encouraged to use Hindi, but also receptive if you're not the best at language.

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? Beginner
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Had not taken any Hindi prior to this program
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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?
  • Excursions
  • Jaipur
  • Homestay
* What could be improved?
  • Staff communication and work in general
  • ISP/Internship portion
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Not to freak out about exactly what's on the packing list especially what feels like a very strict dresscode

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Networker
An active student leader, it was important for you to network abroad as well. Once overseas, you sought out student clubs, volunteered with local organizations, or attended community events. You encouraged your friends join you, and often considered how you could reflect your international experiences in a resume.