Uganda and Rwanda: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Lake Victoria Basin (Summer)


Downtown Gulu

The program includes two homestays, one in Kigali, Rwanda, and one in Gulu, Uganda. Both homestays are approximately two weeks in length, depending on programming and national holidays. Living conditions and family size can vary greatly, which prompts comparative conversations among students. Orientation sessions at the beginning and during the duration of the program help students to overcome and learn from the various cultural challenges they may encounter.

The homestay experience is a highlight of students’ immersion in Kigali and Gulu culture. Students have formal program activities during the week, spend weekends with their host families, and may be invited to participate in cultural events, household chores, and other activities. In addition to learning how to navigate cultural difference, students have multiple learning opportunities in local markets, with shop keepers, and during other everyday encounters.

Homestay in Gulu, Uganda
The first homestay begins after orientation and takes place in Gulu, the urban heartland of the Acholi subregion. Gulu town is a bustling northern Ugandan hub with a sizable NGO/expat community, banks, restaurants and hotels, street food, and roadside and evening markets. This homestay provides the setting through which students explore the Ugandan family structure and how that structure fits into conflict mitigation. Students also learn about the perceptions Ugandans have about conflict and its causes. Students have formal program activities during the week but spend weekends with their families and may be invited to participate in cultural events, household chores, and other activities.

Given its relatively small geographical size, Gulu does not operate a public transportation system and students should expect to get to and from homestay on foot. The town has a mix of rural and urban characteristics; hence, students may live in a home that has modern amenities such as a flush toilet, indoor shower, and cable TV, or they may live in a home that gets by without these amenities. Family size also varies but is typically large. During the week, students have about half of their lunches served at the office and the other half at local restaurants in Gulu town. On weekends, students may have their meals at the homestay depending on plans they make with their homestay families.

Homestay in Kigali, Rwanda
The program’s second homestay takes place in Kigali, Rwanda. Kigali is a modern city where high-rise buildings are interspersed with shanty housing, reflecting its high income inequality. In addition to providing opportunities for cultural immersion, the homestay gives students the opportunity to study community relations, development efforts, local governance, and reconciliation from the perspectives of victims, perpetrators, returnees, and survivors. The homestay experience contributes greatly to the thematic seminar.

Homestays are spread all over Kigali and tend to be with Kigali’s middle class. While there may be exceptions, students should expect to have most modern amenities at the homestay: a TV, flush toilets, and showers. Homestay siblings are likely to be attending one of the modern schools in the city.

Roads are generally well paved and well lit, traffic flows smoothly, and street signs have recently been set up. Plastic packaging is not allowed in Kigali, and you should not pack any plastic bags with your luggage. Students will get to and from school on the public transport system. During working days, students should expect to have their meals at local restaurants in town and close to the SIT office. On weekends, students are encouraged to have their meals at home, depending on the plans they make with their homestay families.

Costs Dates

Credits: 6

Duration: 6 weeks

Program Base: Gulu, Uganda, and Kigali, Rwanda

Prerequisites: No prerequisites, but students will benefit from a background in peace and conflict resolution, social justice, human rights, and/or African history and politics. Psychological stability and emotional maturity are required in order for students to co Read more...


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Summer 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Summer 2012 Evaluations (PDF)
Summer 2011 Evaluations (PDF)

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