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Rwanda: SIT/Hendrix College Consortium

Rwanda: SIT/Hendrix College Consortium


Millenium villageThe Rwanda study abroad program integrates academic coursework, field-based learning, a homestay, educational excursions, and a three-month supervised internship. Drawing upon the experiential learning cycle, students will have classroom teaching and direct experiences. With each experience, students will be encouraged to observe objectively, analyze the experience and the context, and incorporate those ideas moving forward.

Program phases
Lasting approximately five months, the program will run from early January until the middle of May and will consist of the following components:

  • Orientation. The program’s thorough in-country orientation will cover essential health and safety information, academics, and tools for cross-cultural adaptation. Students will get to know the group, the program director, and other program staff and will be introduced to the basics of all aspects of the program.
  • Homestay and commencement of coursework in Kigali. Following orientation, students will spend several weeks living with a host family in Rwanda’s capital city becoming immersed in the daily rhythm of life in their host community. Coursework and field-based exercises during this period will emphasis Rwanda’s history, language, arts, and culture. Students will also learn appropriate field techniques and methods for working with issues surrounding sustainable development and ecology in a post-conflict environment. Students will be equipped with the contextual background, as well as the language and methodical tools, to effectively work with NGOs and local development associations.
  • Two-week excursion to Uganda. The program will travel as a group to Uganda where students will continue their coursework in the cities of Kampala and Gulu. Students will examine entrepreneurship, microfinance, and poverty reduction as well as the impact of environmental policies and good practice on sustainable development, in a different post-conflict setting. All excursions are integrated directly into the curriculum; while in Uganda, students will be engaged in multifaceted learning activities both in- and outside the classroom.
  • Internship and continuation of coursework in Kigali. Following the Uganda excursion, the group will return to Kigali to continue their coursework and also begin a three-month, supervised internship with a local NGO or government institution. The internship gives students the chance to apply the tools, knowledge, and methods learned during lectures, discussions, and readings while working side by side with Rwandan partners.

    Through the internship, students will also increase their knowledge of the challenges facing development efforts in a post-genocide environment and develop professional skills through mentored field-based learning. Although most internship sites will be headquartered in Kigali, students may have varied opportunities to carry out activities elsewhere in Rwanda during this period.
  • Program conclusion and evaluation. During the program’s final days, students will give an oral presentation of their internship report and will also have a chance to provide feedback on the semester and reflect on how to take the experience with them back to the United States and into the future.

The program's interdisciplinary coursework is designed to contextualize Rwanda’s history — including the 1994 genocide — while analyzing emergent cultural, economic, and institutional approaches yielding recent success in conflict transformation, poverty reduction, and sustainable development. A course in Kinyarwanda — Rwanda’s national language — and field methods and ethics provides students with the basic linguistic and methodological tools needed for entry and immersion into Rwandan culture and lays the necessary groundwork for the supervised three-month internship.

Throughout the program period, students should expect to engage in a variety of experiential activities including discussions, reflection sessions, educational excursions, and lectures. Learning will be facilitated by academics, practitioners, professionals, researchers, community leaders, and other local specialists. The two-week group excursion to northern Uganda is designed to engage students in a comparative analysis of development efforts and everyday life in a very different post-conflict environment within the Great Lakes region.

The following syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Specific details for each semester may vary given in-country realities and new opportunities. Learn more about credit transfer.

Rwanda in Context: History, Politics, Culture – syllabus
(AFRS3750 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course provides an overview of the historical context and the identity politics which, in part, gave rise to conflict culminating in the 1994 genocide. Students will learn about the multiple origins of ethnic conflict in Rwanda and will grapple with reconstruction processes and efforts toward conflict prevention. Students are introduced to a sample of aesthetic expression and representation, which includes literature, visual arts, and media. The course will also provide an understanding of mechanisms of genocide prevention, conflict analysis, and peacebuilding.

Rwandan Approaches to Sustainable Development – syllabus
(DEVT3700 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
This course highlights sustainable development approaches and their impact on the socioeconomic development of Rwanda. In this context, sustainable development includes a particular focus on ecology, with emphases on conservation, resource management, and environmental best practices, together with microfinance and poverty alleviation, integrating the cultural, economic, ecological, and political imperatives of sustainability. While sustainable environmental management is primarily focused on biodiversity, forest protection, and efficient use of energy, the course will also address related issues such as pollution and waste management and the challenges they represent for health and the environment. Local academics, environmental researchers, and civil society leaders discuss community practices, local policies, international treaties, and sustainable technologies. The course is also designed to provide students with an introduction to the genesis of microfinance in Rwanda and its development as a stopgap measure to the economic challenges that the country has experienced in the past decades. The proposed lectures provide a background to Rwanda’s socioeconomic history, especially in relation to the impact that the 1994 genocide has had on the economy and the various strategies undertaken to address the economic aftermath. The course likewise addresses the country’s growing dependence on microfinance for poverty alleviation and local development. Students visit small businesses and different entrepreneurial sites to learn firsthand from the experiences of entrepreneurs and social development agents and to consolidate their classroom-based learning. Lecturers are drawn from the National University of Rwanda and government institutions and include entrepreneurial and microfinance experts.

Field Methods, Ethics, and Communications – syllabus
(ANTH3700 /3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course combines intensive study of Kinyarwanda with field methods and research ethics to provide the student with basic linguistic and methodological tools needed for entry and immersion into Rwandan culture and preparation for the development internship. Kinyarwanda language training is organized and conducted by a language coordinator and instructor experienced in teaching Kinyarwanda to non-native speakers. The sessions on field methods and ethics focus on how to ethically conduct field research, including the methods involved in the development internship, using the tools of participant observation, in-depth interviews, and focus group discussions. While the course skills are applicable to field research more generally, and in Rwanda specifically, the ultimate objective is to prepare students for the development internship and to provide the necessary tools and training to be effective in working with NGOs and local development associations. The course consists of classroom instruction, guided reflection, experiential sessions, field visits, education excursions, and weekly sessions to debrief and process assigned readings and site visits. Individual meetings are also scheduled to help students select the area of their internship and accompany them through the process of establishing contact with NGOs and associations. Language study is reinforced through the homestay, and field visits are used to highlight the role of the field researcher in a post-conflict environment.

Development Internship – syllabus
(PRAC3000 /6 credits / 180 class hours)
The development internship provides students with firsthand development experience through volunteer service with a Rwandan NGO or government institution, while offering reflective analysis of the experience within the context of a post-conflict society. Based on the student’s selection of field categories when applying to the program, the student will be placed in a project site that is best suited to his or her skills, interests, and language competency. The course demands equal amounts of effort and organization on each student’s part to successfully complete the internship and accompanying reflection, thereby providing an entirely different challenge than traditional classroom learning. The internship reflects the culmination of the thematic coursework, Kinyarwanda study, and methods and ethics preparation. Together with the program director and internship supervisor, students will establish a specific schedule and set of regular tasks. This choice of activities will be based on the organizations needs and/or the student’s specific skills and learning objectives. Debriefings and individual advising meetings will take place on a weekly basis.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.

rwandaStep beyond the boundaries of a traditional classroom.
Students will be challenged to treat every experience as a learning opportunity and as part of the learning process will engage in numerous field-based, experiential learning activities. Coursework is designed to integrate class lectures with field visits to business sites, entrepreneurial firms, local NGOs, and government entities in Kigali, elsewhere in Rwanda, and in Uganda.

Learn through onsite field visits with program partners throughout Rwanda.
During excursions throughout Kigali and beyond, students will learn through direct interaction with Rwandans. Through meetings with local associations, and group discussions with youth and community leaders, students will consider the impact of environmental policies on environmental protection initiatives and sustainable development. During excursions to rural parts of the country, students will learn about Rwanda’s rural economy and consider what impact microfinance and social enterprises have had on economic and social development outside Kigali.

Acquire a comparative perspective on development efforts during a visit to Uganda.
A critical component of the program is the two-week group excursion to Uganda where students will continue their studies in the cities of Kampala and Gulu. During the period in Uganda, students will visit small businesses and entrepreneurial sites to learn firsthand from entrepreneurs and social development agents.

In Kampala, students will have a series of lectures on microfinance and will explore the impact of microfinance initiatives on sustainable development in a different context. Gulu is a district in northern Uganda and a base for many international NGOs and relief agencies. When visiting Gulu, students will be exposed to the unique role of ecological sustainability and entrepreneurship in a region emerging from two decades of armed conflict. During this time, students may also have the chance to visit Murchison Falls to spot early morning wildlife activities on the banks of the Nile.

Apollon Kabahizi, Program Director
Apollon Kabahizi is a Rwandan and Belgian national and a survivor of the Rwanda genocide. He has a background in arts, graphic design, and advertizing. His main focus has been genocide awareness and memorial-related activities, which has given him extensive experience working with local and international agencies in coordinating significant projects in Rwanda. He has studied and worked throughout Africa and Europe.

As Rwanda country coordinator for Aegis Trust (2002–2003), Apollon spearheaded the concept, design, and construction of both the Kigali Memorial Centre and the Murambi Genocide Prevention Centre. He later served as Aegis Trust’s Rwanda country manager (2004–2006); in that role, his duties included managing the Kigali Memorial Centre and fundraising for various Aegis Trust projects in Rwanda.

Prior to this, Apollon worked for University College of London’s Development Planning Unit and taught genocide prevention at the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre in the UK. Apollon is the founder of SURF (Survivors Funds UK) where he served as trustee and member of the organization’s management committee (1998–2000). Inspired by his personal and professional experiences, Apollon remains committed to an historically accurate and sensitive memorialization of Rwanda’s recent history.

Apollon also has worked as a consultant with the Campaign Against Genocide for the Rwandan Parliament; as a fundraiser with the Austria Development Agency Gacaca documentation project; and as a coordinator with Human Remains Preservation, a joint project between Cranfield University and the Rwandan government.

Apollon was instrumental in setting up SIT Study Abroad’s Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding semester program in Rwanda. He has worked with the program in the capacity of program coordinator for the past three years. In addition to this role, Apollon is the program director for the spring semester SIT Hendrix program.

Students will have access to local, national, and international networks and resources. They can expect to learn from local university professors, researchers, nongovernmental organization leaders, community members, local professionals— including business owners and entrepreneurs—and others.

Lecturers for the program may be drawn from institutions such as:

  • National University of Rwanda, Butare
  • International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, Kigali
  • National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, Kigali
  • Rwanda Governance Advisory Council, Kigali
  • École Amis des Enfants, Kigali
  • Justice and Peace Commission, Gulu, Uganda
  • Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda
  • Gulu University, Gulu, Uganda
  • The Entrepreneurship Center – Makerere University Business School
  • Theatre for Peace Project, Kampala, Uganda
  • Foundations for International Community Assistance (FINCA - Uganda)
  • United Nations Development Organization, Master Craftsman Program
  • Uganda Bureau of Statistics
  • Private Sector Foundation Uganda, Business Uganda Development Scheme
  • Uganda Women’s Entrepreneurs Association Limited
  • Technoserve, Uganda
  • National Union of the Disabled Persons of Uganda
  • Mukono Women’s Entrepreneurship Networks and Associations
  • Kabarole Research and Resource Center – Fort Portal
  • Kamwenge Development Agency
  • Caritas Relief Agency, Gulu, Uganda
  • Capital Markets Uganda
  • Rural Credit Finance
  • Uganda Micro Entreprises Association


Share daily life with a Rwandan family. Be immersed in a local community.
Students will spend several weeks living with a carefully chosen host family in Kigali becoming directly integrated into Rwandan culture and social life. Students are encouraged to participate fully in their host family’s daily activities and to observe the norms and values of Rwandan culture. Living with a family provides an excellent opportunity for students to enhance their Kinyarwanda language skills and learn how to communicate with the local community.

Homestays also provide further context and perspectives that inform the issues students will be studying in the classroom. Most of the program’s host families suffered a loss in the 1994 genocide, giving students an excellent context in which to see how Rwandans are negotiating the challenges of genocide remembrance as they struggle to redress their personal lives and contribute to the restoration of peace and development in their country.

SIT designs homestays to reflect the full diversity of local communities, and families typically represent a variety of occupational, economic, and educational levels. 

Other accommodations during the program could include hostels, guest houses, and small hotels.

  • Rwanda: SIT/Hendrix College Consortium is available only in the Spring semester.

Student applications to this program will be reviewed on a rolling basis between the opening date and the deadline.

Application Deadline:   Nov 1, 2015


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.

Tuition: Not yet available.

The tuition fee covers the following program components:

  • Regular Tuition: $16,997. A $5,000 scholarship provided by the Rwanda Presidential Scholars Program for students within the Hendrix Consortium reduces the costs to $11,997. Additional scholarships may be available based upon need and merit.

Room & Board: Not yet available.

The room and board fee covers the following program components:

  • All accommodations during the entire program period.   This includes during orientation, time in the program base, on all excursions, during the Practicum, and during the final evaluation period.  Accommodation is covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly or through a stipend provided to each student, or through the homestay.
  • All homestays
  • All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly or through a stipend, or through the homestay.

Estimated Additional Costs:

International Airfare to Program Launch Site

International 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: Not yet available.

Immunizations: Varies

Books & Supplies: Not yet available.

International Phone: Each student must have a phone in each country. Cost varies according to personal preferences, phone plans, data plans, etc.

Discretionary Expenses

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.


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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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