SITA changed the course of my life forever (in a good way!!) May 17, 2017

By (Grinnell College) - abroad from 08/01/2016 to 11/30/2016 with

South India Term Abroad - SITA

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I was so surprised to see that someone gave SITA two stars. I think A LOT must have changed since then. In my experience, SITA was a thorough, supportive program that enriched me culturally and academically. I wish I could do it again and again.

Review Photos

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Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

You get out of your coursework as much as you put into it- if you need a light semester, that's an option, but if you want your independent study to be the highlight of your undergrad career, you can do that too!

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Nirmala is one of the sweetest and kindest women you will ever meet

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Living with my host family was my favorite part of the program. I'm still in contact with my host sisters today. I learned as much about Tamil culture from them as I did in all my classes combined.

* Food:

The food was so good. I gained 15 points.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

We were immersed in the local culture 24/7. I never felt like a tourist at all, or like I was on vacation. I felt like I lived there.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

You have to get a bunch of vaccines before going to South India, but once I got there I had no significant problems (besides a bit of indigestion)

* Safety:

You have to learn how to tell curious attention (people trying to tell where you're from) from malicious attention (creepy guys) and that takes some practice, but I was never in any physical danger.

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

Finances

* 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)

India is so cheap. If you're frugal you can live on your program stipend. If you bring extra cash you can live a bit lavishly! Dine at Madurai's finest rooftop restaurants and buy yourself some silks!

Language

* 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

You get to take Tamil lessons with Dr. Arun, who is great! If you want extra Tamil practice outside of class all the SITA staff would be happy to practice with you

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

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?
  • Cultural immersion
  • Host family
  • Travelling around South India
* What could be improved?
  • More get-togethers with Lady Doak students
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I had kept a journal!

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.'