Challenging Program, Incredible Location Past Review

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/12/2020 to 12/18/2020 with

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

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I'm so glad I went, especially given the state of the U.S. right now even though it was not easy. I learned a lot about flexibility and patience. Academically I learned a lot about positionality.

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.

The academic work was not evenly spread out and the assignments did not encourage greater critical thinking from in-class discussions we had had. Much of the academic work felt tedious and like a waste of time. I learned a lot from being in Rwanda and Uganda but less so the assignments. There were many readings which were helpful at times.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The administration was so nice, however so absent. There was little internal communication, especially in the Uganda staff. Often times this led to disorganization because staff members didn't know what the other had said. The Rwanda staff was warm unlike the generally cold Uganda staff.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Because we had a group of 8 people, it was hard to mix up housing. The last month we lived alone in a group of 4 which was challenging seeing as a month with 4 people anywhere is a lot. The living arrangements all provided single rooms which is nice.

* Food:

Food was yummy however I really had to advocate for protein options as I am vegan.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Kigali is an incredible place with amazing people!

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I went to the hospital in Uganda and the staff did not know how the insurance worked so I had to deal with it for hours while I was miserable in the emergency room. The second time I went to the hospital in Rwanda, the hospital staff did not speak English which at the time was very scary and challenging. The SIT staff did a poor job of checking up on sick students and said things like "You will be fine."

* Safety:

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

The global pandemic really limited my options but the disorganization of the program was at times so bad that I would not do the same program again.


* 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)

At the beginning, we were not given enough money to have a meal at most places so we had to spend our own money. Later, my college got involved so this changed.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 30 USD


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Hostel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
* 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?
  • Kigali
  • Our office manager
* What could be improved?
  • Organization
  • Health + Insurance
  • Size (bigger)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? That one of the students was not going to wear a mask!