Rwanda isn't your typical abroad experience, but it IS amazing! Past Review

By (Global Studies, Providence College) - abroad from 08/27/2012 to 12/09/2012 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My time in Rwanda was so impactful. It was entirely worthwhile

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administrators for our program were SO welcoming and patient. Not to mention very down to earth and friendly - we could go to them for anything.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with a family who had 13 children living within two houses (although some were at boarding school) so it was difficult to connect to some of them. But! There were two younger kids in the house that i got to know very well.

* Food:

Its a lot of starch and veggies. The local foods weren't something I was very into but I did enjoy what I ate while i was there.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The Rwandan culture is very different from American culture. While some Rwandans are used to seeing a lot of ex-pats, there are some that will follow you/ask for money/never miss a chance to call out "muzungu" (white person) which can make it a little hard to integrate. But we managed and really enjoyed our time there.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I personally didnt have any health issues but there were a few people who caught some bad luck-- one girl broke her ankle and another girl got malaria AND typhoid at the same time. They were both taken care of very well though. There were a few vaccines that you needed for the program; yellow fever and typhoid. And you also needed to get a prescription for malaria prophylaxsis.

* Safety:

Kigali was SUCH a safe city. I mean yes there were still people who would try to steal your things if you left them out but there were guards on almost every corner watching for even the smallest problem.

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)

Rwanda was relatively cheap compared to being in Providence for the semester. They gave us a stipend for food and transportation and everything outside of that was our responsibility. But the stipend was very generous and a few people didn't even need to use their own money. It all depends on what you plan on doing.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Not sure, but I think I spent around 400 dollars the entire program.


* 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

Not only was it encouraged, sometimes we NEEDED to in order to get from place to place.

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? none. We learned Kinyarwanda.
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? definitely talk with your family all the time! they love to help!

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • 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?
  • guest lecturers
  • administration
  • Kigali
* What could be improved?
  • ISP period
  • communication
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Some little things, bring clothes that you actually want to wear. You can even bring clothes to go out in! They make Rwanda seem like a very conservative place and I mean it is, but there is wiggle room that they don't tell you about.