Studying Peacebuilding and Genocide in Rwanda! A Unique Experience. Past Review

By (Middlebury College) - abroad from 08/26/2019 to 12/08/2019 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was worthwhile. I learnt about forgiveness and peacebuilding efforts. I became more independent. I got to talk to people about the things I was learning about.

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.

This was an intense program in that the subject matter was very emotionally taxing and it takes a long time to process, especially when everything else is very new. The academic rigor of the program was not intense at all. The papers we had to write were 2 pages, double spaced and required no research at all. There were 1 to 2 readings per week.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very good. The host country staff were very receptive to our needs and very kind. They knew what they were doing.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was satisfied. Both with the homestay and the apartment that I rented with fellow program students for the last month. SIT gave us money for the last month (rent, food, transport...) and there we had leftover money to take home!

* Food:

Food is not particularly tasty. There are more expensive options of western and asian food in Kigali, but with the homestay family and for regular meals, we ate Rwandan food, which consisted of beans, cassava, potatoes - that were not well salted or spiced. I got sick of it pretty quickly. Another point is that Rwandan's don't eat breakfast, which meant that it was hard while living in the homestay.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Not that integrated. I felt like I could understand that culture but I didn't feel part of it. I don't think i could have really because I am white, so it is obvious that I am different. In Rwandan culture, staring is acceptable, so I got lots of stares!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Yes. Very easily accessible and we were taken to the hospital by program staff. The local healthcare system wasn't as fancy but everything worked and I felt safe. SIT has lots of mandatory vaccines and you need to take malaria pills, but we were helped with that.

* Safety:

There were a couple unsafe incidents, someone's phone was stolen and someone else was harassed on the street (yelled at) late at night. Other than that though, I felt really safe in Kigali, but to be safe, I wasn't out past 9pm.

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? 10 to 20 USD
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Be savvy with the stipends. They make a huge difference.


* 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
How many hours per day did you use the language?

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? 0

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • People
  • Subject Matter
  • Independent Study
* What could be improved?
  • Organization/Timeliness
  • More processing sessions
  • Food
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Be prepared for it to be hard. Have low expectations because it will be different than anything you know. And be positive.

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 Avid Adventurer
The wardrobe you packed was better suited for a semester of camping than club hopping. Outdoorsy, you might forgo a crazy night out for an early all-day adventure. You'd rather take in the rich culture of an old town than the metropolis of a modern city, but for you getting off the grid is ideal.

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Kinyarwanda Intro

Course Department:
Instructor: JP
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Yes it was challenging. We had field trips to the market to practise our language skills and also were encouraged to practise with our host families. The teacher was knowledgeable but there were breaks in the teaching because he had to prepare materials. We were assessed through oral skits and written tests.
Credit Transfer Issues: