Unforgettable and extremely valuable experience! Past Review

By (George Washington University) - abroad from 08/15/2016 to 11/26/2016 with

South India Term Abroad - SITA

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I was challenged a lot during my abroad experience and pushed outside of my comfort zone in ways I had never experienced before. This has been so incredibly valuable in shaping my studies back at home and how I perceive the world as a whole. I had the opportunity to try things I have never tried before and learn about my own flexibility/durability when situations demanded it. Cannot recommend this program enough!

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

My educational experience with SITA was valuable because it involved a lot of reflection on my position within my host community as well as gain a lot of helpful experience preparing and executing a qualitative research project.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I felt very supported during my time abroad; the professors and staff were extremely knowledgeable and

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I absolutely loved my host family and was set up with my own room that was comfortable and afforded me a good amount of privacy when needed. It was also very close to the study center (about 5-7 minute walk!)

* Food:

south Indian food is amazing! Easily one of the best parts of my abroad experience; my host mom was an amazing cook and there is such a rich variety within south Indian food (my favorites were dosai and fish curry!)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Wearing local clothing and taking an intensive language class was definitely a huge part of integrating into the local culture, and my professors continually stressed the importance of respectfully placing ourselves within this new community.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

SITA staff and my host family were extremely attentive to any health needs I had; whether it be recovering from jet lag, adjusting to a new diet, or combating mosquito bites, someone always checked in with me to make sure I was comfortable and being taken care of.

* Safety:

I felt very safe during my time in Madurai; As a foreigner and as a woman, I often travelled in groups or with my host family (which was also simply a matter of not knowing how to get around to a lot of places at first), and was conscientious of cat-calling when it occurred.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

Adjusting to a completely new way of life was challenging at times and could even be frustrating, but I loved the people I met through SITA and the valuable experience I gained in conducting research and shaping my worldview!


* 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)

SITA provides generous stipends over the course of the semester so I spent very little of my own money. Additionally, my host family provided me with breakfast and dinner, so I was only buying lunches and snacks during the week!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $15-20/week


* 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

We were encouraged to used Tamil any opportunity we had outside of the classroom, and many students were able to use it effectively with host families, talking to auto drivers, and ordering food!

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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • host family
  • field trips with my religions class
  • food!
* What could be improved?
  • a little more structure in some of the electives
  • volunteer/internship component
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Part of me wishes I could understand how impactful my experience would be going into it, although I think just having the realization along the way was equally valuable.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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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.