I would absolutely do it again! Past Review

By (Economics And International Relations, University of Arkansas - Fayetteville) - abroad from 01/28/2013 to 05/31/2013 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Too many things. It was incredibly 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.

This was one of the most rigorous academic experiences I have had, but in the best way. I was given a lot to learn, and challenged to learn even more on my own.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Homestay all the way! Everyone started in a homestay, but mine was so great I decided to stay for the whole trip.

* Food:

Many people on my program were not into the food. Rwandan food is not the most exciting or varied, but I was pretty content.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Difficult to rate this one, sometimes I did, sometimes I didn't. People are quite welcoming, but the language barrier was huge for me.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had no health issues while in the country, but those in my program who did found the health care to be decent. I think most people had to pay more themselves than they expected.

* Safety:

The program is centered in Kigali. The city is dangerous just as any city is. I felt very safe the whole time, but many people on the program had things or money stolen and there were a few other incidents. It is always good to be on your guard.

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)

Food is cheap if you're ok with Rwandan food. Housing is also fairly cheap, especially if you stick with your homestay.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $25-40 each week
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? You can spend as much or as little money as you want in Rwanda, it's really up to you.


* 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

It was not used in classes other than the language class, but we spent enough time in the city that we had to use it somewhat frequently. Still, two months of instruction is not enough. You have to motivate yourself if you really want to learn 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? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? I had no prior Kinyarwanda experience
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? Try to speak it as much as possible. Don't be afraid. Utilize your host family.

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?
  • Independence
  • Challenge
  • Opportunities provided
* What could be improved?
  • I would like a more rigorous language program
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew more of my academic interests so I could have been more prepared to do research and talk to specific people.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Nearly Native or Trail Blazer
Craving the most authentic experience possible, perhaps you lived with a host family or really got in good with the locals. You may have felt confined by your program requirements and group excursions. Instead, you'd have preferred to plan your own trips, even skipping class to conduct your own 'field work.'