Most Rewarding Experience of My Life Past Review

By (Economics., Barnard College) for

SIT Study Abroad: Rwanda - Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I experienced more happiness than I've ever known while abroad.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

I liked the diversity of the teaching methods and thought that the workload was appropriate. There was no reason for this program to be conducted like an American university- that's the whole point of leaving college to go abroad.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I think the program staff did a phenomenal job, and I really enjoyed my experience. I don't think the SIT administration in the US is particularly organized or fair to its employees.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My host family was wonderful and provided me with everything I needed.

* Food:

I had no issues with the food.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I loved getting to know Rwandans and Ugandans. It was the most rewarding part of the experience. I'm glad our program made it possible (by having a reasonable workload) for us to go out and immerse ourselves.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Rwanda is much safer than the other place I've lived.

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


* 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? I think overall, I spent about a thousand dollars in 15 weeks.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You receive a stipend so learn how to manage a budget.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had completed Intermediate II French and attend a 7 week immersion program at Middlebury College before going abroad.
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

I didn't improve my Kinyarwanda skills very much, but I did use French quite often. My host family spoke French so that was the language we used at home. Many people spoke basic English, but more people spoke French. I used a mixture of the three languages to get around.

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

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • I liked the flexibility
* What could be improved?
  • the language course
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? You have to go in with an open mind. Don't expect politics, culture, transportation, etc to run like it does in America. Someone who is dissatisfied and needs a stimulating change should do this program.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Peacebuilding

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: The field visits were great, and I enjoyed the seminars. I participated far more in class than I do at my home institution because I was much more interested in what we were studying. I thought the teacher did an outstanding job of leading class discussions.
Credit Transfer Issues: I received general credit.
Course Name/Rating:

Introduction to Kinyarwanda

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English/Kinyarwanda
Comments: I did not enjoy this class and did not find the professors particularly helpful. Kinyarwanda, however, is not a necessary language to learn unless one plans on conduction professional research in Rwanda.
Credit Transfer Issues: I received general credit.
Course Name/Rating:

Field Research Seminar

Course Department:
Instruction Language: English
Comments: I thought this course was helpful in preparing students to conduct field research. It also taught us to consider issues that could come up during interviews such as cultural sensitivity and research ethics.
Credit Transfer Issues: I received general credit.