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Custom & Faculty-Led Programs
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SIT Study Abroad has a broad, worldwide network of faculty and staff; deep connections at academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and community empowerment groups; and a longstanding commitment to experiential education and cultural understanding.
As an accredited institution of higher learning, SIT works in innovative and strategic ways to design programs and initiatives that fit with a home institution’s curriculum, desired learning outcomes, and specific academic goals for undergraduate, graduate, and gap year students. Additionally, SIT can support the development of custom professional engagement programs for study abroad professionals and faculty – check out SIT’s Professional Engagement Programs for current offerings and examples of what may be possible.
Why Partner with SIT Study Abroad?
We are a thought leader in study abroad with extensive experience implementing immersive programs.
We run programs on all seven continents and offer custom and faculty led program locations in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States.
SIT has strong experience engaging students within a wide and diverse range of cultural and geographical environments.
We put experiential education at the forefront of student learning.
From exchanges with local experts, practitioners, communities, and families to hands-on learning through internships and field-based research, SIT challenges students to integrate theory and practice through their own direct experiences.
We focus on critical global issues and strategies for impacting positive change.
While studying with SIT, students gain a better understanding of complex social and environmental issues, such as human rights, global health, migration, environmental sustainability, biodiversity, and climate change.
We have extensive in-country networks and contacts.
SIT possesses a worldwide network of talented, committed, and passionate faculty and staff. We also have strong connections at academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations, and community groups in each program country.
We offer personalized and tailored support to meet our partners’ needs and goals.
SIT custom and faculty led programs are uniquely and intentionally designed, drawing on our on-the-ground experience and unique perspective to help implement our partners’ program visions for undergraduate, graduate, or gap year students, as well as study abroad professionals and faculty.
Types of Assistance Available from SIT Custom and Faculty Led Programs
SIT takes a collaborative and partnership-centered approach to custom program design and implementation. We prioritize custom and faculty led program requests that seek an academic partnership in addition to logistical and student support.
- Collaboration on curriculum and program design
- Advice on integrating field-based learning opportunities
- Access to in-country academic directors, faculty, and other experts
- Facilitation of guest lecturers — both accomplished academics and leading practitioners
- Coordination of field visits and educational excursions
- Provision of language instruction — basic communication or extended courses
- Assistance with organizing cultural activities
- Facilitation of internships and short-term volunteer opportunities
- Opportunities for engagement with local youth
- Instruction in fieldwork ethics and research methodology
- Support for undergraduate research projects
Logistics Coordination & Student Support
- Pre-program advising and support for faculty and students
- Facilitation of orientation and debriefing sessions
- In-country staff support for logistics and student services
- Housing arrangements, including option of homestays with local families
- Arrangements for meals — with homestay families, as a group, and/or through stipends
- Utilization of classroom space at SIT program centers and other venues
- Organization of local transportation
- Provision of medical and evacuation insurance
- 24/7 availability of on-call Student Affairs professionals
On-site Program Models
Due to the current global climate, SIT will create virtual contingency plans for on-site custom programs, when and where possible.
Faculty-Led Custom Programs
SIT can work collaboratively to co-design a program with faculty leaders from our partner institutions. With our focus on critical global issues, experiential education, and diversity of program locations, we can support a wide range of course topics, disciplinary areas, and learning objectives.
SIT-Led Custom Programs
SIT can also support school partners who wish to develop a custom programs to serve a group of their students but that will not be led in-country by a member of their faculty. Such programs are co-developed with the school partner to meet their goals and needs, but the day-to-day management of the program is provided by SIT’s local program staff.
Community Engagement Programs
SIT can design and implement programs that include internships and short-term volunteer opportunities with local organizations, schools, and other groups. Programs can have a primary focus on incorporating community engagement activities or these activities may only be one part of a program’s overall activities.
For internship programs, SIT typically arranges internships that last for a minimum of 3–4 weeks. Students are matched with local organizations and institutions that provide meaningful opportunities for hands-on learning. Ideally, students would also improve language skills, attend contextual academic lectures, participate in regular group discussions, and engage in cultural activities to help them prepare for, process, and contextualize their internship experiences. Students typically live with local families, which further deepens their cultural immersion and community involvement.
SIT is well-positioned to work with institutions on faculty development programs or international seminars for faculty. These programs may include an intensive schedule of lectures, site visits, and networking events with local academics. Participants expand their academic horizons and make valuable connections that they can draw upon to enhance their own course offerings and publications.
SIT also organizes our own faculty seminars each year focused on different themes and topics.
Consortial custom programs can be an excellent fit for institutions looking to share resources in program offerings. SIT can meet the needs of diverse consortia both formal and informal. Programs can incorporate intensive language instruction, interdisciplinary seminars, field methods, internships, and other components. The curriculum can be delivered by SIT faculty or by consortium member faculty.
Intensive Language Programs
Language-focused custom programs integrate our partner schools’ language goals and learning objectives with SIT’s extensive expertise and experience in language instruction in our program locations around the world. These programs may focus on indigenous and less commonly taught languages, as well as more widely studied languages—including many critical languages. Language program options include short-term, intensive study and semester-long, academic instruction. Programs may also incorporate cultural activities, language conversational partners, and other opportunities to actively engage with local communities.
Virtual Program Models
Virtual custom programs are conducted in an online format and re-envision content offered on our on-site programs, adapted to a virtual environment, including site visits, guest lectures, community engagement and cultural activities, and language instruction.
Faculty-led virtual programs integrate the faculty’s vision and goals into engaging and experiential virtual custom programs while drawing on SIT’s expertise. Faculty-led programs typically take place for two or more weeks during the January or summer terms, or during Spring Break. If faculty are looking to integrate virtual components into their existing courses (on-campus or virtual), Global Curriculum Enhancements (listed below) will be the best option.
Virtual internships are designed to meet both our partner schools’ specifications and partner organizations’ needs. Before, during, and after the internship, SIT offers value-added content including orientations to cultural and work contexts, survival language, guest lectures, interaction with practitioners/experts, reflection sessions, cultural content, and on-going support from an internship supervisor and SIT program staff.
Global Curriculum Enhancements
Global Curriculum Enhancements (GCEs) allow school partners to bring meaningful global content to their courses, classrooms, and campus activities. Through GCEs, faculty, administrators, and students can gain access to and engage in dialogue with our outstanding global network of academics, practitioners, and community partners. GCE options include virtual guest lectures, site visits, panels and round tables, and community and cultural activities.
Comparative Virtual Custom Programs
Comparative virtual custom programs expand beyond a single country lens focusing on a specific topic/theme while drawing on virtual content from multiple SIT locations.
Hybrid programs combine both online and in-person components. They may start with an online portion, on campus or at home, and end with an on-site experience. Hybrid programs may also run as an on-site custom program (domestic or international) which integrates a virtual component, allowing students to receive a comparative perspective.
Virtual Workshops and Seminars
SIT can work collaboratively to co-design online workshops or seminars for students, faculty, and/or staff from our partner institutions on a variety of topics, both thematic and skills focused. Examples include, but are not limited to, a professional development workshop for faculty and staff (either tied to a specific theme such as global health, migration, or another issue, as experienced within a global context) or a workshop for students to build their cross-cultural competencies.
Custom & Faculty Led Program Guidelines
SIT’s resources and expertise can enhance a variety of custom and faculty led program models. We encourage interested faculty and study abroad staff to contact us to discuss partnership possibilities and program ideas.
We are particularly interested in supporting custom and faculty led programs that:
- align with SIT’s mission.
- promote cross-cultural understanding and incorporate experiential education.
- relate to one or more of our Critical Global Issues.
- seek an academic partnership with SIT.
- draw on our existing local networks.
- take place in countries where SIT has capacity to support customized programs.
- are offered at times of the year when our staff, facilities, and faculty are most available — usually in January and May through August. Programs in some locations during our spring and fall semesters may also be possible.
- run for at least two weeks or longer, to facilitate immersion.
- anticipate a minimum enrollment of 10 students and a maximum of 25 students, to help keep program fees affordable for students.
Custom & Faculty Led Program Locations
SIT currently has capacity to support custom and faculty-led programs in the locations listed below. Availability of specific sites may depend on program dates, program duration, locations to be visited, size of student group, and other factors. The locations listed with an asterisk (*) have the ability to support virtual custom programs. We encourage you to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss current availability in any of these locations.
- Czech Republic*
- South Africa*
- Tanzania* (virtual only)
- District of Columbia*
- New York*
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island*
- South Carolina*
- West Virginia
Custom & Faculty Led Program Partners
Art Center College of Design
Bridgewater State University
Colorado State University
Duke University (DukeEngage)
Illinois Wesleyan University
Loyola Marymount University
NYU Abu Dhabi
Ohio State University
Paul Quinn College
Portland Community College
Southern Methodist University
Texas Christian University
University of California, San Diego
University of Colorado at Boulder
University of Houston
University of Kentucky
University of Minnesota
University of Richmond
As Hendrix College deepens the engaged learning experience for each student, study abroad should lead the way. SIT has a rich tradition of getting students out of the classroom and into the community, and I can think of no better partner for our Rwanda program. Students participating in the Hendrix-SIT program are transformed through a true immersive experience complete with clear learning goals and resulting in measurable outcomes.
Peter L. Gess, PhD, Assistant Professor of Politics
Director of International Programs and Facilitator of the Rwanda Presidential Scholars Consortium Program in Rwanda
Working with the SIT Study Abroad staff in customizing Wofford’s Presidential International Scholar program has been a delight. The staff have been very flexible and accommodating in providing opportunities for integration overseas. SIT is an expert in creating field-based research experiences overseas — a cornerstone of this particular program — and also strongly emphasizes ethical research practices and student health and safety. It is for these reasons that we chose to work with SIT.
Assistant Dean for International Programs and Academic Administration
SIT Jordan staff, teachers, facilities, homestays, and invited speakers were amazing. My 32 students all raved about the homestay experiences more than anything, and also praised Dr. Raed Al-Tabini, Ahmad Al Rawajfeh, their teachers, and the program Dr. Al-Tabini and Ahmad put together. The highlight of the entire program, after the homestays (which was #1), was our weekend in Petra, Wadi Rum, and Aqaba. SIT spoiled us to be sure. When we left Amman, students were crying or otherwise regretting having to leave their “new homes” in Amman, their “new families” in particular
Denis Sullivan, Professor of Political Science
Director, International Affairs Program
Director, Middle East Center
Arabic Language and the Arab Uprisings: Jordan and Beyond
One month (May–June)
In the morning, students took intensive language classes in Jordanian Arabic, taught by both SIT and home institution faculty. For the afternoon, SIT arranged guest lectures on topics such as gender, economics, and Bedouin life, delivered by local experts; language partnerships with local students; and service projects in various organizations in Amman. The program also included excursions to sites such as Petra and the Dead Sea. Homestays allowed students to forge new friendships, practice their language skills, and participate in the daily life of a Jordanian family.
Biological and Cultural Aspects of Island Geography: Madagascar
Various sites in Madagascar
3 weeks (July)
Students on this intensive biology program followed a busy schedule of travel to marine and forest zones in various locations. Lectures by a home institution professor — a faculty member in microbiology — were supplemented by talks given by local conservationists, biologists, and a deforestation prevention advocate and presidential candidate. Hiking and camping in areas rich in diverse flora and fauna allowed students to have hands-on experience in island biodiversity. Natural parks and coral reefs provided opportunities for deep experiential learning, expertly facilitated by the accompanying SIT faculty and staff.
Addressing Human Rights and The Global Refugee Crisis
2 months (end of May–July)
This program began with a multi-day orientation to prepare students for integrating into a new culture and to introduce SIT’s experiential learning program model, including homestay orientations and language classes. Theoretical concepts came to life through site visits, enrichment activities, and a variety of internship placements exploring issues such as human rights and post-conflict resolution, with special emphasis on marginalized groups including refugees and asylum seekers. Through a combination of cultural activities and hands-on experiences, students walked away with tangible skills and increased intercultural awareness.
Intercultural Engagement in Delhi
2 weeks (January)
Students gained a comprehensive perspective of intercultural engagement through homestays in rural and urban locations, cultural and educational site visits, activities, excursions — including to Bahraich and Agra — and various guest lectures. Themes of religion, the caste system, development, discrimination, and women in India were explored through a combination of these experiential learning models. Additionally, SIT facilitated space for reflection throughout the program to help students build the tools to unpack their experiences, therefore deepening the lessons learned.
Global Community Engagement Fair-Trade
10 days (January)
Through visits to local farms and fair-trade markets, students were able to engage in conversations with farmers, coffee pickers, and activists. SIT’s network of guest lecturers and fair-trade workers helped students gain an understanding of the landscape in which farmers work in Nicaragua and the history behind many of the conditions and regulations they face. With interactions with many local partners, including local peers, students were able to develop deep relationships through personal interactions throughout their stay.