Making Forever Friends and Forever Family in Kigali Past Review

By (Biological Chemistry, Women's and Gender Studies, Wellesley College) - abroad from 08/26/2012 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?
Absolutely worthwhile. SIT's formatting and its staff training are fantastic for this sort of experience with this sort of learning. I love my SIT staff, my family, my SIT friends, my Rwandese friends, my memories.

Review Photos

SIT Rwanda: Post-Genocide Restoration & Peacebuilding Photo SIT Rwanda: Post-Genocide Restoration & Peacebuilding Photo

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.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

SIT's shining star is their host family living arrangement. Best aspect of their programming.

* Food:

Rwanda is not known for its food culture.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The language class helped immensely with this. Also, living with our host families gave us immediate and indirect contacts with local folks.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

Very few pickpocket situations. We were warned of potentially less police patrolled areas. No fault of the program or staff.

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)

Very, very inexpensive cost of living.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Maybe $20.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? For a program like this, there are none. Bring enough for the markets. You'll want to bring gifts home. Be smart about the ISP housing (when you're no longer with you host family) if you are renting a house like my peers and I did. Make sure you're getting a fair price.


* 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? Zero. No Kinyarwanda offered.
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? Have fun with it with your family. They will giggle at your attempts, and you will learn the very most from them.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Other
  • Host Family
  • Hotel
* 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?
  • Homestay Family
  • Independence
  • Focus on mental health -- Processing Sessions
* What could be improved?
  • Some visiting lecturers repeated a bit of what we had already learned a few times. More staff / lecturer communication would be nice.
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Even with my very minimal luggage, I wish I packed less.