Custom Programs

RwandaSIT 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 provide partnership on internationalization programs and strategy. We design programs and initiatives that fit with a home institution’s curriculum, desired learning outcomes, and specific academic goals.

Custom services and program components:

  • Consultation on academic content / collaborative curriculum design
  • In-country faculty and staff
  • Expert guest lecturers
  • Language instruction (basic communication or extended course)
  • Fieldwork ethics and research methodology
  • Undergraduate research projects
  • Homestays with local families and other appropriate housing
  • Classroom space
  • Field visits and educational excursions
  • Medical and evacuation insurance
  • Orientation and reentry preparation
  • Home institution credit or SIT credit
  • On-call student affairs professionals 24 hours a day
  • Meals (with homestay families, as a group, and/or through stipends)
  • Local transportation

SIT’s resources can enhance a variety of program models. We encourage interested faculty and staff to contact us to discuss the possibility of creating a partnership.

SarajevoWe prioritize proposals for programs with the following characteristics:

  • Fit with SIT’s goals of cross-cultural understanding and experiential education
  • Seek an academic partnership with SIT. This may include guest lectures, language courses, curriculum collaboration, or other academic support.
  • Are in locations where SIT Study Abroad has enough staff and infrastructure to support a custom program. We have had past success in Jordan, Madagascar, Ghana, Serbia, Nicaragua, Panama, Bali, and Vietnam. Other existing SIT program locations may also be possible.
  • Draw on our existing local networks 
  • Are related to one or more of our Critical Global Issues
  • Are in the summer months or January intercession when our staff, facilities, and faculty are most available; programs during the academic year will be considered where feasible
  • Are a minimum of three weeks and a maximum of one semester, to allow for immersion
  • Aim to repeat in future years
  • Anticipate an enrollment in the 10–25 range, to ensure advantageous group rates for accommodations and excursions while allowing for direct individual participation in group activities
  • Are from institutional consortia, open to enrollment from other schools, or otherwise likely to have sustainable enrollment
  • Include faculty from the home institution (whether as leaders or participants) to foster relationships between the partner school and SIT faculty


SIT Custom Programs will work collaboratively to design a program with home institution faculty, courses, and learning outcomes in a wide array of disciplines.

SIT can provide full-time international staff, offices, and institutional partnerships in country. SIT will work with faculty leaders or study abroad office staff to identify key resources: language and content course instruction, relevant site visits and excursions, homestays with local families, and full-time, round-the-clock student affairs services and faculty support. SIT provides risk management strategies and the infrastructure to run faculty-led programs in the complex legal environment of international study.

Civic Engagement

SIT develops custom programs that foster students’ civic engagement through responsible service learning. SIT civic engagement programs incorporate volunteer work with social services, schools, environmental groups, and grassroots civic organizations.

Students learn by doing and benefit from making an impact within a cross-cultural context. Custom service-learning programs typically provide language training and cultural orientation seminars as well as homestays with local families to ensure that students can actively participate in the community. Placements in local organizations and agencies are matched to students’ interests and may provide opportunities for field research. Home institutions identify learning components that can earn credit on campus or criteria that fulfill an academic practicum.

Faculty Seminars

SIT Study Abroad services are well-suited to working with institutions on faculty development programs or international seminars. 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.


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.

Recent custom programs offered by SIT Study Abroad include:

JordanArabic Language and the Arab Uprisings: Jordan and Beyond

Amman, Jordan
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, or Bedouin life, delivered by local experts; language partnerships with local students; or 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.

Faculty Seminar in India

Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur, India
11 days (May)
Ten faculty participants from a variety of disciplines participated in an intensive schedule of lectures, site visits, and opportunities to network with faculty members from Indian universities. The program explored two topics: health and food security, led by two SIT faculty members. SIT arranged for expert guest lecturers to talk about topics such as the Indian caste system and access to healthcare, gender and food security, and public health systems and community action for health. Participants also visited sites such as a farm or an agricultural research and advocacy organization, and learned about Indian culture and history through visits to the Taj Mahal and other sites of interest. Faculty participants made valuable connections through social events with faculty members from local institutions in both Delhi and Jaipur.

Lemur in MadagascarBiological 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.


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
Hendrix College

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.

Amy Lancaster
Assistant Dean for International Programs and Academic Administration
Wofford College

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
Northeastern University