Uganda: Development Studies


The homestay experience has always been a challenging, yet rewarding part of the Uganda: Development Studies program. It is an opportunity for SIT students to become directly immersed in a new culture by participating in household activities, interacting with homestay siblings, engaging in ongoing local development debates and discussions of daily importance, and attending traditional ceremonies. Homestays also help SIT students learn about the significance of the family in development processes and approaches of Uganda.

The program’s academic director works with experienced homestay coordinators to find the most suitable host families for each student. The program features two homestays that are designed to introduce students to the cultural and economic diversity of Ugandan life.

Urban Homestay
Each student is placed in a different host family in the suburbs of Kampala from where they leave to attend the various program activities on a daily basis. Host families are carefully selected to represent the diverse social and economic characteristics of the people in Kampala. This diversity creates a great learning experience when students share their homestay experiences with each other through the processing sessions that take place at the end of each week.

Kampala is a vibrant cosmopolitan city representing a diverse range of ethnic groups in Uganda. The dominant language spoken in and around Kampala is Luganda. Since Luganda is the language taught on the program, a deliberate effort is made to place students with Luganda-speaking families.

The urban homestay is six weeks long with a break in the middle for a one-week educational excursion.

Rural Homestay
Eighty percent of Uganda’s population lives in rural areas, so this homestay is aimed at exposing students to an agrarian way of life as experienced by most Ugandans. Students spend four days living among, engaging with, and learning from a rural community.

The rural homestay is conducted in Busia District in eastern Uganda at the border with Kenya, where the majority community is Samia-speaking. Students live in pairs with a host family in grass-thatched homes made of wattle and daub, with no running water and no electricity. Typical family size in this area ranges from 6 to 10 people.

During this homestay, students practice research methods with the host families as their primary resources. This opportunity to engage directly with Ugandans dealing with the challenges of rural development is a highlight for students.

Kelly Muenchen, fall 2011 student, talks about her homestay experience. Read more.

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Kampala

Language Study: Luganda

Prerequisites: Coursework in development studies recommended


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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