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This is SIT
SIT is a leader in immersive, field-based study abroad programs for undergraduates. We offer more than 70 programs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as comparative programs in multiple locations. In addition to our rich history, our programs’ unique qualities – including exceptional locations, independent research, cultural immersion, and deep local networks — make our programs an ideal choice for an extraordinary, transformative study abroad experience.
MISSION & HISTORY
SIT prepares students to be interculturally effective leaders, professionals, and citizens. In so doing, SIT fosters a worldwide network of individuals and organizations committed to responsible global citizenship. SIT fulfills this mission with field-based academic study abroad programs for undergraduates and accredited master’s degrees and certificate programs for graduates and professionals.
School for International Training dates back to 1932 with the founding of The Experiment in International Living, an immersive summer program aimed at improving cross-cultural understanding and leadership skills by sending US students to study and live with families abroad.
In the early 1960s, President John F. Kennedy tapped a former Experimenter, Sargent Shriver, to become the first director of a new program called the Peace Corps. Shriver called on The Experiment to conduct orientation and training for the earliest Peace Corps volunteers. These activities led to the establishment of SIT in 1964. Today, SIT offers globally focused graduate-level programs through SIT Graduate Institute and more than 80 field-based undergraduate programs on seven continents through SIT Study Abroad.
SIT is part of World Learning Inc., a nonprofit organization that works in more than 150 countries to enhance the capacity and commitment of individuals, institutions, and communities to create a more peaceful and just world through education, sustainable development, and exchange.
With deep roots in multicultural understanding and international education, SIT provides students an unparalleled opportunities to examine a range of critical global issues through multiple prisms—including climate change, global health, and human rights—in more than 40 countries around the world. We also offer comparative programs that include International Honors Programs, which take place on multiple continents.
COMMITMENT TO RECIPROCITY
All SIT programs are imbued with the value of giving something back to our host communities. Students have written bilingual children’s books celebrating local cultures; conducted research that provides valuable information to local communities, such as helping a fishing community track fish stocks; and gone on to start NGOs that advance the priorities of indigenous communities.
Our programs are developed within a framework of the most critical global issues—challenges that transcend borders to touch every human on the planet. (Read more here.) You will benefit from the expertise, mentorship, networks, and support of our faculty and staff who live and work around the world, including many who were born, raised, or educated in the countries in which their programs are based. A highlight of an SIT program is the Independent Study Project (ISP), a four- to six-week guided research project on a topic of your choice. Many SIT alumni with no previous research experience have won awards for their ISPs and gone on to continue their research after graduation through Fulbrights and other prestigious fellowships.
SIT programs are rooted in the experiential education model, which merges hands-on learning with reflection. By challenging old paradigms, assumptions, and beliefs, many students tell us this approach has led to significant transformation while developing their critical awareness and reflective skills.
On our programs, classroom instruction is complemented with time spent in the field observing, interacting with local stakeholders, and learning from local experts. Whether you visit the most biodiverse freshwater lake in the world, see the US-Mexico border wall, experience an LBGTQ+ safe space in Rotterdam, or meet with an amaXhosa community in South Africa, these visits provide local context for the theory you’re learning in the classroom and give you the opportunity to gain a deep understanding of a critical global issue. Excursions further afield give you the chance to experience your program’s themes in a contrasting setting—such as a rural homestay on an urban program, a neighboring country with a different system of governance, or a diaspora community abroad.
On our immersive programs you will learn from local experts, study alongside peers from your host country, and live with and become part of a local family and community. In learning to speak their language, discover their food, and understand their customs, you’ll view the world and understand today’s most critical global issues from a range of perspectives. With classes in 27 languages—including Icelandic, Luganda, or Samoan—and extensive networks within each program country, our programs provide learning opportunities you won’t find anywhere else.
Language study is a critical tool that leads to greater cultural understanding and supports your opportunity to conduct meaningful field research. SIT currently offers instruction in more than 25 languages, including Icelandic, Asante Twi, Bahasa Indonesia, and isiZulu in addition to French, Chinese, Dutch, and Arabic. Many of our programs offer language study at intermediate and advanced levels. Others offer beginning instruction in a less commonly taught language. You will also experience language immersion through homestays and interaction with community members.
Students frequently cite the homestay as a highlight of their term. That’s because living with a local family and sharing in their daily lives is one of the best ways to experience the culture of your host country. Homestays provide additional context and perspectives on the issues you’re studying. They are an opportunity to improve you language skills and to deepen your cultural understanding.
Most programs include at least one homestay experience, offering you the chance to experience the daily rhythm of life in the host country. Many programs offer homestays in both urban and rural areas to provide contrasting views of life in different social or ethnic contexts. Homestays can be anywhere from a few days to 14 weeks in duration.
SIT designs our homestays to reflect the full diversity of the community, partnering with families who represent a variety of occupational, economic, and educational levels. Many of our homestay families have been hosting SIT students for years. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who closely screens and approves each family for suitability.
When not in homestays, you will stay in appropriate lodgings that may include guesthouses, educational institutions, camping facilities, or small hotels.
SIT, a program of World Learning, Inc., is led by a diverse group of professionals who are passionate about and committed to education, intercultural exchange, and social justice. Our programs are divided into five regions (including the International Honors Program which covers multiple countries) each led by a regional dean who coordinates programs, including faculty and staff, within their areas. Most of our nearly 400 program faculty and staff around the world were born, raised, or educated in the countries in which their programs are based, including academic directors with terminal degrees in their fields who have researched and taught at local universities; program coordinators who have firsthand knowledge of everything from regional NGOs to the best local cafes; and homestay coordinators with close ties to the families in their communities.
We promote our organizational values by providing regular staff meetings and training opportunities worldwide.