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Program Model

Program Model

Each SIT Study Abroad program follows a unique schedule; programs and semesters vary. This page offers a general idea of what a semester program itinerary might look like. Summer programs are similar in their approach but have different combinations of program components. You can find more information on each program page.

Typical Semester

On excursion in Vietnam

From day one, when students arrive for orientation and meet the program’s academic director (AD), they will be challenged to use their powers of observation and analysis. Program groups are purposefully small, allowing students to share experiences and learn from one another in addition to people in the host community. 
Orientation occupies the first 3–7 days of the program and often takes place away from the program base. Students get to know the group, the AD, and program staff and are introduced to the basics of all aspects of the program. Orientations will cover health and safety, academics, and cross-cultural communication, along with other topics.

On many programs, students move into homestay accommodations soon after orientation and begin to use cultural and language skills right away.

In the first weeks of the program, students spend quite a bit of time in structured classes and program activities including language class, lectures, and field assignments. Students often find themselves quite busy balancing program obligations, out-of-class assignments, being with their host families, and personal time. The time spent at the program base is dynamic, challenging, and rewarding.

Educational excursions may take place at any point throughout the first couple of months of the program and can range in length from one day to several weeks. Excursions are integrated into the curriculum; throughout the excursion, students are engaged in learning as part of the academic program.

Prior to the Independent Study Project (ISP) portion of the program, students will take final exams. The first two-thirds of the program set the stage for the ISP, when students apply their learning in full-time independent research.

During the ISP, students work independently, with direction from an ISP advisor and the AD. During this period, some students may travel between different locations; others may stay in one area.

Finally, students present their work, participate in program evaluation, and prepare to return home.

Typical Day

Kiswhahili class in Kenya

Most SIT alumni will say that there is not a "typical day" for their program. The term progresses in phases and activities may take place on any day of the week and at any time of day.

A typical day at the program base might include a language class and a thematic seminar lecture in the morning, lunch, then an afternoon discussion/debriefing session, research methods and ethics assignment, and/or faculty/staff office hours. Other days may include a visit to a nongovernmental organization, an evening performance, time to make contacts in preparation for the ISP, or an outing with a homestay family. In general, during the initial phases of the program, days are more structured than at a US college or university. 

Once the Independent Study Project period has started, days are scheduled by students and may include interviews, observation, data analysis, writing, and consultation with ISP advisors and academic directors.

Schedules change frequently, and students should be prepared to be flexible. If the chance of a lifetime comes around, our program staff will adjust schedules to take advantage of the opportunity!


SIT, 1 Kipling Road, PO Box 676, Brattleboro, VT 05302-0676
802 258-3212, 888 272-7881 (Toll-free in the US), Fax: 802 258-3296 

SIT was founded as the School for International Training and has been known as SIT Study Abroad and SIT Graduate Institute since 2007. SIT is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) through its Commission on Institutions of Higher Education

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