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This program combines an innovative urban studies curriculum with fieldwork involving key actors and stakeholders — public agencies, planners, elected officials, NGOs, and grassroots organizations. You will spend time in four cities across the globe to better understand the interconnected social, physical, economic, environmental, and political systems affecting urban environments. In addition, you will complete an independent comparative research project on a topic of your choosing.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
The program starts in arguably the most prominent “world” city in the United States. In New York, you will meet classmates and faculty and be introduced to field experiences by exploring neighborhoods, visiting nongovernmental organizations, and hearing from public officials. The world journey commences with a discussion of local conditions and issues as well as an acknowledgment that while every city is local, it is also a piece of the global puzzle.
The cosmopolitan capital city of Buenos Aires has a history with an enduring legacy: European-influenced architecture, an extraction economy, large landowners, an influential Catholic church, charismatic political leadership and military dictatorships, a tradition of public protest, and a cultural heritage embedded in the tango. Underlying it all are the complex lives of a diverse society where former owners now work to survive and former workers now manage retaken factories.
Rising from poverty and isolation, Hanoi offers examples of rapid human adaptation and resilience. With decades of war all but vanished, a new paradigm of local identity and international connectivity is being tested. Tension grows between the use of public resources for community and environmental benefit or commercial development and private profit. Meanwhile, the basic form of the traditional city — dense, narrow, and vertical — invites examination of the use, purpose, and expectations of public space.
In Cape Town, you will see how a society that was grossly unequal by design is attempting to transform itself into one that provides equal economic opportunity for all. Contrast the awe-inspiring beauty of Table Mountain of Cape Point, where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans’ currents meet, and the charming cobblestone streets of the bustling Green Market Square with apartheid-legacy townships such as Langa, Khayelitsha, Joe Slovo Park, Guguletu, Nyanga, and the Cape Flats. Observe effective community radio stations, food cooperatives, informal traders, taxi companies, and the variety of small businesses, art, crafts, music, and vibrant personalities that make township culture thrive. You will meet with government leaders, social activists, and academics from local universities, all involved with transforming Cape Town in the wake of apartheid. There will be a one-week vacation in South Africa.
None, but previous college-level coursework and/or other preparation in urban studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, or other related fields is strongly recommended.
The program takes a holistic, interdisciplinary view of academic topics, drawing not only on articles and faculty lectures, but also student observations, guest lectures, and homestay interviews to facilitate learning. Assignments typically involve written essays, oral presentations, and more creative projects such as posters and photo stories.
Students enrolled on this program take all courses listed below for a total course load of 16 credits. Syllabi are typically updated just before the start of the program. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
These letters home are from previous terms. Site locations may vary from term to term.
The faculty/staff team shown on this page is a sample of the individuals who may lead your specific program. Faculty and coordinators are subject to change to accommodate each program’s unique schedule and locations.
Kelly trained as a social anthropologist at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Her work has focused on urban social movements, particularly in a comparative context between apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa. She has worked on the struggle for socioeconomic rights and education as well as political culture and masculinities in Africa. Her fieldwork was supported by the Commonwealth Foundation and was conducted in the township of Soweto, Johannesburg, where she worked with a group of community organizers mobilizing against the privatization of water and electricity. Kelly has extensive teaching experience in social anthropology, having developed and taught courses on the anthropology of development, political anthropology, medical anthropology, and interdisciplinary research methods. She has also worked in the development world for many years, in the fields of education reform and advocacy. More recently, Kelly worked for a major private philanthropy foundation, managing a portfolio of grants to organizations working on education and child rights in sub-Saharan Africa. Kelly has a long association with the Cities program, having been both traveling faculty and local faculty. She lives in Cape Town with her husband and son.
Anna Gail's work experience has focused on the areas of youth and young adult leadership development, community building, residential life and student welfare, international education, and human rights education. Building on her graduate studies in social justice and international education, Anna Gail worked with World Learning’s Youth Leadership and Peacebuilding Programs, facilitating workshops with the Governor’s Institute of Vermont on current issues and youth activism and traveling with and supporting students through the LondonX and Iraqi Youth Leadership Program for two years. In 2013, she traveled as the IHP Trustees’ Fellow for the inaugural year of the Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges, and Advocacy program. After four adventurous years living in Wellington, New Zealand, she is excited for a new chapter as the IHP program manager in 2015.
Anna Gail earned her BS in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She graduated from SIT Graduate Institute with an MA in intercultural service, leadership, and management and received her educator’s licensure in secondary education in social studies, incorporating social justice in the classroom. She is a vegetarian, photographer-in-the-making, and running enthusiast with a hearty laugh.
Vanessa graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social anthropology and environmental and geographical science from the University of Cape Town and went on to complete her master’s degree in human geography at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. For her master’s research, she engaged with issues of complexity and visibility/invisibility within the context of World Heritage. Vanessa was born in Maputo and has spent her life between Mozambique, Portugal, and South Africa. Her keen interest in the layeredness and movement of life and her specific concern with war, migration, and intergenerational trauma have led to her current training in psychoanalysis in Cape Town.
Meghan Phadke is an educator and IHP Cities alum who has been living and working in New York City for more than ten years. Meghan spent six years teaching in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood, where she built a comprehensive music program, from the ground up, that now services more than 400 students. In this role, she worked closely with arts foundations and nonprofits as well as city arts agencies, in order to obtain, and maintain, resources. In fall 2013, Meghan completed her master’s degree in urban affairs, with a focus on urban education policy. She is preparing to embark on her doctoral studies in fall 2016. Meghan was the Trustees’ Fellow in both spring 2014 and 2015 and has held a number of positions within IHP over the years. She is excited to return to the role of launch coordinator.
Carolina holds a five-year degree in arts from the University of Buenos Aires and a postgraduate degree in contemporary cinema and theater. She has been working in the field of international education for many years and designs academic and immersion programs in Argentina for students and institutions from abroad. Her focus is on the interaction between academic content and cultural sensitivity. She has written several pedagogical guides on cultural activities in immersion. She is alsu very interested in arts and culture and works as a cultural facilitator for the city of Buenos Aires. She has written several pedagogical guides on cultural activities in immersion. Carolina serves as an academic advisor for American students studying abroad in Argentina. She first began working with IHP in 2005 and helped establish the Cities in the 21st Century and Health and Community programs in Buenos Aires.
Cuong Kieu Nguyen is a senior staff scientist at the Institute of Population, Health, and Development (PHAD). Cuong has intensive experience and wide interests in biomedical, genomic, and eHealth research. Earning a PhD in physics from Brown University in 2009, he got a postdoctoral fellowship focusing on the genomic technologies, research, and applications in the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), where he was key in the implementation of the ultra-high-throughput sequencing system utilizing Solexa/Illumina technologies and managed several sequencing projects. Coming back to Vietnam in 2012, he joined PHAD and founded the Hanoi Center of Genome Research, a research center established within PHAD with a commitment to promoting and strengthening research in public health genomics. Since 2012, Cuong has been a technical lead of several of PHAD’s innovative eHealth and mHealth projects utilizing electronic and mobile devices in the collaboration with various local and foreign partners including IDRC Canada, Grand Challenges Canada, USAID, Dartmouth College, UCLA, and Columbia. Cuong is also the director of VEH – Medical Investment and Communication, JSC, a local start-up with expertise in eHealth solutions and services.
Sally Frankental is a sociocultural anthropologist who taught at the University of Cape Town for many years. She directed the university’s Kaplan Centre for Jewish Studies and Research from 1980 to 1992. Her current research interests are in the areas of migration, identity, ethnicity, and citizenship. Her association with the SIT Study Abroad / IHP Cities program (since 1999) has been facilitated by her teaching of development and applied anthropology, her supervision of a wide variety of graduate students’ research projects conducted locally, and the consultancy work she has done for the city of Cape Town. Her book South Africa’s Diverse Peoples (with Dr. Owen Sichone), commissioned as part of a series specifically for American university and public libraries, was published by ABC-CLIO in 2005. She was a founding member of the anti-apartheid organization Jews for Justice.
Rutul Joshi has taught urban planning in the Faculty of Planning at CEPT University (Ahmedabad, India) since 2006. Currently, he is engaged in subjects related to urban history, spatial planning, and transportation planning along with the first semester postgraduate studio on local area planning. Rutul is keenly interested in debating the issues of equity and sustainability within the in/formal urban planning practices of the Global South. His published research so far focuses on issues like the politics of sustainable mobility and social in/exclusion. His doctoral research (completed in Bristol, UK) explored poverty and transport linkages for Indian cities that are witnessing contestations over space and resources. Rutul is one of the founding members of the research center Centre for Urban Equity, based at CEPT University. The center is working extensively on the issues of urban poverty, transport equity, and inclusive urban planning.
Rutul was previously involved in mainstream urban planning and design consultancy. He was closely associated with the urban planning process of the city of Surat for more than six years. He currently seeks to engage in the wider civic issues of cities by regularly writing columns for newspapers and by being part of various lobbying groups and litigations. Rutul is also a “sustainable mobility” enthusiast and aspires to build advocacy campaigns around safer streets and better walking/cycling facilities in Indian cities.
Rick lectures on world cultures and urbanization processes in the UCLA Department of Geography, where he received his PhD. Trained as both an architect and a social scientist, Rick researches people and the landscapes they construct and inhabit. He promotes on-site investigation using multiple methods of visual and ethnographic inquiry. His dissertation, “Nomadic and Domestic: Dwelling on the Edge of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia,” with fieldwork support from FLAS and Fulbright fellowships, explores how the building of informal settlements reshapes both landscape and society in inner Asia. This research contributes toward better analysis of housing and land tenure issues for rural-to-urban migrants, who increasingly underpin urbanization in developing economies. Rick maintains several ongoing projects on city building in colonial-era Rangoon, early modern Los Angeles, and contemporary China. On the side, Rick is a member of the Compton Cricket Club—a team composed of homeless men from downtown Los Angeles and at-risk youth from Compton.
Dr. Kate Abney-Barreiro received her BA (Boston University, 2003) in cultural anthropology and completed both her MSocSci (2011) and PhD (2014) in social anthropology (University of Cape Town). Her research interests include health-seeking behaviors, patients’ experiences of chronic/infectious disease, childhood studies, maternal and neonatal health, and livelihood strategies in rural/urban environments. She served on the IHP Cape Town team in 2015 and 2016 and has taught for Quest University (Vancouver, BC, Canada) and the University of Illinois Champagne-Urbana (USA). In South Africa she has lectured in social anthropology and the health sciences at the University of Cape Town. She was featured in a FutureLearn MOOC (massive open online course) called Medicine and the Arts, is a former TEDx speaker, and received the Monica Wilson Award in 2013. Currently, Dr. Abney-Barreiro is the program director for the Global Health Issues in South Africa program with the Organization for Tropical Studies (Duke). She has lived in South Africa for twelve years and currently resides in Cape Town.
Sara is a 2012 alumna of IHP: Cities in the 21st Century and graduated with a BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2013. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Sara moved to Yonkers, New York, in 2009 and has been engaged in community work in the area ever since. For the past three years, Sara has been working as the director of youth programs at Groundwork Hudson Valley. There, she managed after-school programs, summer employment programs, a farmers market, and 25 high school employees every year. Her work with youth focuses on leadership, community revitalization, job training, and group dynamics. Sara is passionate about working to bring equity and justice into all aspects of her life, both personal and professional. She is thrilled to be returning to IHP and looks forward to working with such an engaged group of students.
You will live with a host family for between two and four weeks at each program site, with the exception of the first location. Homestays are the primary form of accommodation on the program; other accommodations can include guest houses, hostels, dormitories, and/or small hotels.
Homestay families provide you with the opportunity to live as an integrated member of the host communities. In sharing daily life, conversations, family stories, celebrations, and community events, you will not only learn a tremendous amount, but also develop lasting friendships.
Family structures vary in every place, and SIT values the diversity of homestay families. For example, the host family may include a single mother of two small children or a large extended family with many people coming and going all the time. Please bear in mind that the idea of what constitutes a “home” (i.e., the physical nature of the house) may be different from what one expects. You will need to be prepared to adapt to a new life with a new diet, a new schedule, new people, and possibly new priorities and expectations.
Country coordinators in each location arrange homestay placements. In most cases, students will be placed in homestays in pairs, with placements made to best accommodate health concerns, including allergies or dietary needs. You will not receive information about homestay families until you arrive in each country.
A diversity of students representing different colleges, universities, and majors study abroad on this program. Many of them have gone on to do amazing things that connect back to their experience abroad with SIT. Learn what some of them are now doing.
The dates listed above are tentative. Please note that travel to and from the program site may span a period of more than one day.
Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.
Application Deadline: May 15, 2017
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to all students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding; this award can be applied to any SIT semester program. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
Note: Vacation costs are not covered by program fees; students are responsible for this.
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
Domestic Airfare to Program Launch Site
Domestic airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
Visa Expenses: $ 275
Books & Supplies: $ 150
International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.