Programme needs a bit of TLC. Past Review

By (Anonymous University) - abroad from 01/26/2016 to 05/09/2016 with

SIT Study Abroad Nepal: Development, Gender, and Social Change in the Himalaya

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I think it can only be a valuable experience to be put outside of your comfort zone in an unfamiliar place, and be able to become accustomed to new settings and people, with a working understanding of the cultures and history which shapes it. For that reason, this study abroad experience is always going to have its merits.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Many of the guest lecturers presented the exact same information that we had learned previously from another individual. There felt like there was a lack of communication to ensure that we were developing our understanding of local culture as much as possible. With the exception of Anil Chitrakar - who was an incredible and thought-provoking teacher, the lecturers provided a somewhat uninsightful understanding of Nepal and its people - the sort of information that we, in all honesty, could have googled. I also want to highlight the problematic dynamic of our classes - something that I know we were all frustrated with: the lack of discussion. In fact we were explicitly told not to engage in discussion/interaction with peers/professors, and merely passively listen to the lecturer. It was explained to us that this was the 'Nepali style' of teaching, but this is one 'cultural immersion' that I fail to see the merits of; no teacher of higher education would ever agree that this is the most effective form of learning, almost certainly on the contrary. Lastly I do just want to mention something that really concerned myself and many of my peers: the complete lack of female guest-speakers. I understand that there was potentially one lady who would be speaking to us, but she never showed up (this was also not uncommon). With so many contemporary issues surrounding gender roles and equality, it felt very regressive that we never had the opportunity to hear from individuals who weren’t privileged by their sex or even caste.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Huge disparity in host accommodation, and host family engagement.

* Food:

Little control of your own diet, I ate the same meal every night.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Not applicable to myself, but I know a few of my friends were having issues with their health, which is extremely frustrating when you're supposed to be in class everyday and start missing language instruction and tests. Having said that, I know that the Academic Director Daniel Putnam was extremely attentive to students and continually checked in with individuals he thought may be becoming ill.

* Safety:

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

For my own personal academic interests this programme was not the most beneficial, and the title & course descriptions are somewhat misleading. That' not to say however, that this programme wouldn't be a fantastic experience for many students - I think it would be very important that all potential participants be given the opportunity to speak to a past alumni.


* 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)

Many things were very cheap, such as food and travel, but others quality items were very expensive as they had to be imported. This is why the packing list NEEDS to include a winter coat because it is very cold in the Spring Semester and it is very expensive to buy a good coat locally. Accommodation was also cheap, but the small stipend they give us for the Independent research project was definitely insufficient if you didn't want to live in a place where getting flees was a real possibility.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $40, because it was so cold and I was buying a lot of clothes and also candles so I could do my homework when the electricity cut off.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Ignore the packing list, bring plenty of clothes, footwear, portable charing devices and rechargeable LED lights.


* 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

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? German 201.
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Go out into the city and talk to taxi drivers/ shop keepers etc. Don't feel discouraged by the new vocabulary everyday, it's unrealistic to think that you can retain it constantly so focus on useful structures and language that you know will be used for your ISP.

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?
  • Exposure
  • Insight
  • Culturally-rich setting
* What could be improved?
  • Course content & instruction
  • Less time spent sitting on the floor in a classroom, more hands-on learning and involvement in the city around us.
  • Equality of homestay experience
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Actual course content, structure of instruction and classroom dynamics, daily realities of living in Nepal (load-shedding etc.),