Examine macroeconomics and the global finance system through the lens of social responsibility and the ethics of sustainable business in Switzerland and Greece.
Gain a background in international banking and sustainable finance through a social justice lens via an experiential, case study approach.
The program addresses causes of the unstable global economy, alternative systems of intermediation, and the implications of financial crises on economies, in the classroom and through briefings at financial institutions and NGOs.
Build networks with experts at financial institutions, international NGOs, and government agencies.
The international environment of Geneva offers an opportunity to meet experts and academics at international organizations, banks, financial institutions, and Swiss and international NGOs. This leads to original research, networking, and professional development opportunities.
Spend three weeks in Greece.
The excursion allows you to experience Greek culture, history, and cuisine while examining the impact of the recent economic crisis on the country’s financial system and society. While there, you’ll visit Crete, the largest of the Greek islands.
Choose to take either a second thematic seminar or three credits of French.
You can take either the seminar Alternative Financial Systems and Intermediation or receive French language instruction. You may also be able to practice French with your homestay family.
Choose between doing an internship and conducting independent research.
Intern with a sustainable development company, start-up, intergovernmental organization, or Swiss or international NGO. Or conduct research in sustainable development, finance, or impact investment.
Critical Global Issue of Study
Development | Economy | Inequality
Previous college-level coursework and/or other significant preparation in business, economics, finance, accounting, math, statistics, management, marketing, or Information Management Systems, as assessed by SIT.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- International banking and reforms and markets within international financial systems
- Solidarity economies, microfinance, and sustainable financing and sustainable business
- Islamic banking
- Financial intermediation systems and risk
- Neoliberal globalization, financial crises, and social responsibility
- Ethics of banking, tax avoidance, and criminal financial investigations
The program’s thematic seminars address the causes and implications of the unstable global financial economy and the implications of domestic policy approaches that aim to curb inequality. Coursework addresses various issues in global finance including international banking and finance systems, balance of payments, lending decisions and impact of debt forgiveness, banking laws and tax evasion, and monetary market operations and the principles underpinning social policies that promote growth and social progress.
The program seeks to facilitate a more profound understanding of the ethics of sustainable business and social enterprise by exploring viable approaches that can allow profitable businesses to help reduce social injustice and global poverty and protect the environment. Students develop analytical skills and critical thinking on these ethical issues and build networks with international experts on finance and banking.
The following syllabi are representative of this program. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term. The syllabi can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Read more about credit transfer.
International Financial Institutions, Financial Crises, and Social Responsibility – syllabus
(EURO3000 / 4 credits / 60 class hours)
The seminar addresses issues related to international financial institutions, including the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO, the UNCTAD, and the European Central Bank. The focus is on the role of regulating financial institutions, questions relating to international finance and macroeconomics, the functioning of equity, and commodity markets and their impact on society. The seminar also tackles the reforms of the international financial system, the global and European financial crises (“Grexit”, “Brexit”), and their local and global impact on society. The seminar uses lectures; field trips to governmental institutions, international organizations, financial institutions, and NGOs; and case studies from the 2008 US financial crisis and the 2011 Euro crisis to the present. Special attention is given to the Greek financial crisis as the course is taught Athens.
Research Methods and Ethics of Banking and Finance – syllabus
(ETHC3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This seminar covers the financial code of ethics and addresses sustainable financing, socially responsible investment (SRI) issues, ethical banking, legal and practical aspects of integrating environment, social justice, and corporate governance (ESG) issues to institutional investment. The seminar gives a detailed overview of major institutional actors, key players in European and global networks in the field of banking and sustainable financing, and the international standards in the fight against tax avoidance and money laundering. This course is highly practice oriented; each module contains one field visit in a corresponding local organization or NGO. Lecturers are drawn from academic institutions, nongovernmental organizations, government agencies, and research centers, or are individuals recognized as specialists in their fields
Choose between the following two courses:
Alternative Financial Systems and Intermediation – syllabus
(IBUS3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Banking institutions thrive on financial intermediation, the process through which banks take funds from a depositor at a low rate of interest and then lend them to a borrower at a higher rate of interest. However, recent successive crises in the international financial system have drawn attention to the important role that can be played by alternative systems of financial intermediation. Alternative financial intermediation systems are defined as non-market (stock or bond) and non-modern banking sources, including external financial channels that make it possible for an individual or a small enterprise to access credit that would not otherwise be available to them through modern banking systems. Alternative financial channels are proving to be equally important funding sources in both developing and developed countries. This seminar aims to explore alternative forms and practices of financial intermediation (formal and informal) and their role in the empowerment of individuals and groups that are usually not serviced by modern banking channels and institutions. Modules include solidarity economies and intermediation, local and complementary currencies, microfinance and social entrepreneurship, blockchain and crypto currencies, and Islamic banking.
Beginning French I – syllabus
(FREN1003 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intermediate French I – syllabus
(FREN2003 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
This course has an emphasis on speaking, comprehension skills, and grammar through classroom instruction to provide broader access into the host culture and enable participation in daily social life. Students are placed in intensive beginning or intermediate classes based on in-country evaluation, including written and oral proficiency testing.
Choose between the following two courses:
Independent Study Project in Finance – syllabus
(ISPR3000 / 6 credits / 180 class hours)
For the Independent Study Project in Finance (ISPF), students will do fieldwork and design a project that carries an innovative proposition to address banking or finance issues from a social responsibility perspective. Projects may include proposals for a sustainable business, regulatory mechanisms for financial control and ethical account reporting, or approaches to tax evasion or debt forgiveness. Regular reflection and assessment meetings are held with the academic director to review the progress of the ISPF.
Internship and Seminar in Finance – syllabus
(ITRN3000 / 6 credits / 180 class hours)
This seminar consists of a five-week internship with a sustainable development company, impact investment institution, start-up enterprise, intergovernmental organization, or Swiss or international NGO. Students do an internship and submit a report in which they process their learning experience and design a socially responsible solution to a problem observed during their internship. The aim of an internship is to enable the student to gain valuable professional experience within the Swiss or international financial environment. The institution and internship activities must be approved by the program’s academic director. Regular reflection and assessment meetings are held with the academic director to review the progress of the internship.
Please note that in order to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, program excursions may occasionally vary.
You will spend three weeks in Greece, primarily in Athens, a hospitable city where ancient history intersects with a modern lifestyle, orange and olive trees line the sidewalks, and church bells punctuate the day under the ancient Acropolis, Erechtheion, and Parthenon. You’ll also visit the vibrant city Heraklion, the capital of Crete; the archaeological site Knossos, considered Europe’s oldest city; and pink and white sand beaches.
On this extended excursion, you’ll examine the impact of the recent economic crisis on the Greek financial system and society while you experience Greek culture, history, and cuisine. Coursework examines international financial crises and social responsibility, and includes a 10-hour Modern Greek language course. You will hear lectures from Greek and international experts and visit financial institutions such as IOBE, a leading think tank on economic research, and ELIAMEP, an independent, nonprofit, and policy-oriented research institute focused on European integration and international affairs.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
Goran Jovanovic, PhD, Academic Director
Goran, a Swiss and Serbian national, holds a doctorate and master’s degree in international relations and development studies from the University of Geneva, a graduate diploma in American studies from Smith College in Massachusetts, and a degree in sociology from the University of Belgrade. He has wide-ranging experience and expertise in international education. As a professor, Goran focuses on geo-economics, economic diplomacy, international trade organizations, globalization and global governance, strategic foresight, and scenario building. He has taught at the International University in Geneva and in business schools and universities in Afghanistan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia, among other places.
Goran was a department head at the International University in Geneva and scientific director at the Research Center on Audiovisual Sources of Contemporary History at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. He has published widely in international relations and political communication and produced educational films and documentaries. Goran was a lecturer and ISP advisor for SIT before leading this program.
Aigul Jarmatova, MA, Academic Advisor
A dual Swiss/Kyrgyz citizen, Aigul has studied in Switzerland, Malta, Italy, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan. She holds an advanced master’s in European studies from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and advanced master’s and bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and political science from the University of Saint Petersburg, Russia. Aigul has worked for many years in communication and finance departments at the United Nations (UNAIDS), various international organizations including The Global Fund, NGOs, academia, and the private sector. She was a scientific coordinator at the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva and has taught at the University of Fribourg. She coordinated and was a rapporteur for different international projects in collaboration with the Swiss and Kyrgyz governments, UNESCO, the Geneva Center for Democratic Control of Armed Forces, the Council of Europe, the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, and the Global Fund Partnership Forum in Durban, RSA. She has also worked in qualitative and quantitative analysis of public opinion polls as well as in research projects on Eastern European economies.
Joe Apostolidis, MA, Academic Coordinator
Joe was born in Canada and holds a bachelor’s degree from Acadia University in Nova Scotia, a master’s degree from Carleton University in Ottawa, and a DES (Diplôme d’études superieres) from the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. He has worked for many years as project coordinator at the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces. Joe has also taught international relations and media and communication in various Swiss private universities.
Christina Cornes, MA, Homestay Coordinator
Christina has worked as a homestay coordinator in Switzerland since 2008, first with The Experiment in International Living and then with SIT. She is responsible for recruiting and monitoring homestay families, placing students in their homestays, and managing students’ permits, health issues, and train passes. Christina holds a master’s degree in German and English literature from the University in Lausanne. Prior to joining SIT, she worked for the tropical forest officer at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, lived and worked in Sydney for two years, and worked for the financial director at the World Wildlife Fund in Switzerland. Christina has three grownup children and lives with her family in the county of Vaud.
Lecturers on this program may include:
Esperanza Duran, PhD
Esperanza holds a BA from El Colegio de México, an MA from Stanford University, and a PhD from Oxford University. She has taught at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House), London School of Economics, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, El Colegio de Mexico, and University College, Dublin. She has published in peer-reviewed journals and written and edited books. She was senior economist in the IMF and World Gold Council, country officer and economist in the World Bank, and founding executive director of the Agency of International Trade Information and Cooperation.
Jovan Kurbalija, PhD
Jovan is founding director of DiploFoundation, a nonprofit working to improve global governance and international policy development, and head of the Geneva Internet Platform, an observatory, capacity-building and discussion center. He is a former diplomat with a background in international law, diplomacy, and information technology. In 1992, he established the Unit for IT and Diplomacy at the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies, which in 2002 became DiploFoundation. Jovan has taught in Switzerland, the United States, Austria, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Malta. He researches diplomacy and the development of an international Internet regime, the use of hypertext in diplomacy, online negotiations, and diplomatic law. His book An Introduction to Internet Governance has been translated into eight languages.
Ritsa Panagiotou, DPhil
Ritsa holds an MPhil and a DPhil in international relations from Oxford University. She is senior research fellow at the Centre of Planning and Economic Research in Athens and a visiting professor at the International Centre for Hellenic and Mediterranean Studies. She was a research associate at the European Business School in France, a visiting professor at the Athens University of Economics and Business and University of Athens, and a visiting research fellow at the European University Institute. She has published in journals including Contemporary Southeast Europe, Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, and the Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies. Ritsa lectures at the College Year Athens.
Angeliki Dimitriadi, PhD
Angeliki studied international relations and history at the London School of Economics and obtained her MA in war studies from King’s College London. She was awarded a PhD with distinction in social administration from Democritus University of Thrace. Her research interests lie in the field of irregular and transit migration from South and Southeast Asia, the securitization of migration and asylum policies, and gender issues and social inclusion. She has contributed to research on social policy issues and has worked on the submission and management of European-funded projects and initiatives. She lectures at the College Year Athens.
Demetris Kamaras, PhD
Demetris holds a BA in economics, an MA in communications policy, and a PhD in journalism from City University in London. He is a journalism professor, journalist, political analyst, and communications specialist and founded dailyGreece.net, Private Information Network, and alyunaniya.com. He’s interested in political communication, next-gen web apps, digital R&D, internet ethics, and social networks. He taught at the University of Indianapolis Athens from 1999 to 2013 and has published online and in print. His first co-authored book is Digital Communication, and his recent publications include Elections and the Internet and Crisis Talk: Greece, parts one and two. Demetris lectures at the College Year Athens.
Aimee Placas, PhD
Aimee holds a PhD in anthropology from Rice University in Houston, Texas. She has presented and published on issues related to the anthropology of money, consumerism, kinship, gender and sexuality, and Europeanization. She’s currently writing a book on the story of consumer credit’s emergence in Greece over the past 15 years, from the first credit cards to the first personal bankruptcies. She is also conducting a new research project on the lives of individuals in Greece who have passed through bankruptcy during the financial crisis. Aimee is lecturing at the College Year Athens.
Michael Akerib, PhD
Michael is a consultant with extensive experience in both large groups and SMEs. He has been active as an academic and professional trainer. Over the last 25 years he has held a variety of positions (lecturer, program director, dean, rector, and managing director of a business school) both in Switzerland and abroad. He developed the first MBA programs franchised abroad by a Swiss university and directed the programs. His international experience as an educator covers Afghanistan, Albania, Bahrain, China, the Czech Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iran, Italy, Macedonia, and Sweden. He has published extensively on transformative thinking, geo-strategy, and post-humanity. His hobbies include short story writing.
Attila Shelley, PhD
Attila has dual Swiss and American nationality and teaches courses in financial and strategic management, Islamic finance, and general management and leadership. He received his BSc in applied physics from Princeton University and his MBA and PhD from Stanford University. He has 25 years’ teaching experience in the US, the Middle East, and Europe, including the Stanford Graduate School of Business Executive Program, the Central European University Business School, the University of Jordan in Amman, Webster University, and Geneva Business School. He has worked in management and consulting positions at companies including The Boston Consulting Group, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Barclays Bank. He is a management and financial consultant and workshop leader to companies in various fields, especially in the Middle East.
The homestay is an integral part of the SIT experience. During your homestay, you’ll become a member of a local family, sharing meals with them, joining them for special occasions, talking with them in their language, and experiencing the host country through their eyes. Homestay placements are arranged by a local coordinator who carefully screens and approves each family. Students frequently cite the homestay as the highlight of their program. Read more about SIT homestays.
You will spend about 12 weeks living with a Swiss or international family in a small city, town, or village between Nyon and Lausanne. Activities during the homestay may include skiing, tennis, swimming, volleyball, and hiking. Swiss cultural offerings are vast and include music festivals, art exhibitions, museums, and theaters.
Families are usually middle class and reflect the cultural diversity of Switzerland. Host parents and siblings may speak more than one language, often German, English, or Italian, in addition to French. Your family may not speak English, which offers you a perfect opportunity to practice your French on a daily basis. The homestay families are located in the Lake Geneva region, and most are about 40 minutes by train to the SIT center in Nyon and one hour by train to central Geneva. During the semester, you will have a Swisspass, which allows you to travel free of charge in Switzerland by train, bus, or ship. Trains from Nyon to Geneva run every 15 minutes. You will continue to live with your homestay family during the Independent Study Project in Finance or Internship in Finance period.
During the excursion to Greece, you will stay in student apartments, hostels, or small hotels.
Independent Study Project in Finance
Independent Study Project in Finance
You can choose to spend five weeks near the end of the semester conducting original research for the Independent Study Project in Finance (ISPF). For your ISPF, you will critically analyze a topic related to financial systems in a Swiss or international context with guidance from the academic director. The ISPF will be conducted in Geneva.
Sample ISPF topic areas:
- Awareness level of sustainable finance issues among bank workers and consumers
- Profit-generating potential of ethical bank products versus classical bank products
- Role and efficiency of multi-stakeholder initiatives in the field of ethical investment
- Gaps in the existing sustainable finance regulatory system
- Alternative ways of financing new initiatives and their risks (e.g., crowdfunding)
Cost and Scholarships
Cost and Scholarships
SIT Study Abroad is committed to making international education accessible to all students. Scholarship awards generally range from $500 to $5,000 for semester programs and $500 to $3,000 for summer programs. This year, SIT will award more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants to SIT Study Abroad students.
SIT Pell Grant Match Award. SIT Study Abroad provides matching grants to students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding for the term during which they are studying with SIT. This award can be applied to any SIT program. Qualified students must complete the scholarship portion of their application. View all SIT Study Abroad scholarships.
The tuition fee covers the following program components:
- Cost of all lecturers who provide instruction to students
- All educational excursions to locations such as Athens, Greece, including all related travel costs
- Independent Study Project in Finance or Internship in Finance (including a stipend for food)
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
Room & Board: $7,169
The room and board fee covers the following program components:
- All accommodations during the entire program period. This includes during orientation, time in the program base (Geneva), on all excursions, during the Independent Study Project / Internship period, and during the final evaluation period.
- Homestay (12 weeks with a Swiss or international family in rural villages and other communities near Nyon)
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered either by SIT Study Abroad directly, through a stipend, or through the homestay.
Estimated Additional Costs:
Airfare to Program Site
Airline pricing can vary greatly due to the volatility of airline industry pricing, flight availability, and specific flexibility/restrictions on the type of ticket purchased. Students may choose to take advantage of frequent flyer or other airline awards available to them, which could significantly lower their travel costs.
Visa Expenses: $465
Books & Supplies: $ 50
International Phone: Each student must bring a smart phone that is able to accept a local SIM card with them to their program, or they must purchase a smart phone locally.
Personal expenses during the program vary based on individual spending habits and budgets. While all meals and accommodations are covered in the room and board fee, incidentals and personal transportation costs differ depending on the non-program-related interests and pursuits of each student. To learn more about personal budgeting, we recommend speaking with alumni who participated in a program in your region. See a full list of our alumni contacts. Please note that free time to pursue non-program-related activities is limited.
Please Note: Fees and additional expenses are based on all known circumstances at the time of calculation. Due to the unique nature of our programs and the economics of host countries, SIT reserves the right to change its fees or additional expenses without notice.
In order to make study abroad more accessible, SIT's partner colleges and universities may charge home school tuition fees for their students participating on an SIT Study Abroad program. If your institution has an agreement with SIT and charges fees different from those assessed by SIT, please contact your study abroad advisor for more details. The SIT published price is the cost to direct enroll in the SIT program. Tuition fees may vary for students based on your home college's or university's billing policies with SIT.
Internship in Finance
Internship in Finance
You can choose to complete an internship during the last five weeks of this program. For this internship, you will work with an international or Swiss institution or company to gain experience and develop professional skills.
The internship will help you understand socially responsible banking and finance and assess the challenges of international finance systems and alternative forms of intermediation in Switzerland and Europe. You will submit a report in which you process your learning experience, analyze an economic or financial issue the institution faced, and design a socially responsible solution to the problem.
SIT has partnerships with Swiss and international companies, start-ups, and institutions in Geneva and will use its extensive network to facilitate the internship placement process with an organization. In the past, SIT has been able to secure placements with private companies, intergovernmental organizations, and NGOs. You are encouraged to explore other options on your own and will be supported by SIT staff throughout the placement process. The directory of Geneva International provides the contacts of international NGOs operating in various areas. SIT will still evaluate and approve the internship placement outside of partner institutions.
Potential Internship in Finance placements: