Investigate how the international community addresses the challenges of meeting the nutrition, food security, and health needs of populations in the 21st century.
Examine food security, nutrition, sustainable agriculture, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and Slow Food culture in Switzerland and Istria.
In both locations, you’ll investigate global food security and nutrition challenges and their links to sustainable development, public health, and socio-political stability. You will explore food sovereignty, global health, climate change, humanitarian emergencies, and forced migration in the context of global food security. Lecturers will provide you with concrete illustrations of food security challenges in the context of development, environment, migration, and human rights.
Develop networking skills and make global contacts in the fields of food security, nutrition, and public health.
The international environment of Geneva offers you a unique opportunity to interact with leading experts and academics at a wide variety of international organizations and research centers. Organizations include the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Development Program, the UN World Food Program, the World Health Organization, International Baby Food Action Network, UNICEF, FIAN International, WaterLex, and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation. You’ll learn from food security and nutrition experts at governmental, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental agencies.
Build your research skills by completing an in-depth independent research project.
Enjoy access to research and documentation centers such as the United Nations Library, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, the International Institute for Sustainable Development, and the Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute in Lausanne. For your project, you will interview with subject matter experts and conduct interactive research. Through this work, you will gain practical experience for your academic and professional development.
Be immersed in Francophone culture by studying French and living with a family in the French-speaking canton of Vaud.
You will receive French instruction in small groups, with an emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills. You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to practice your French with your host family.
Explore Istria and Venice.
Spend a week in Istria, at the crossroads of Germanic, Latin, and Slavic cultures, and enjoy its high-quality olive oils and truffles. You’ll also spend a day in Venice.
Critical Global Issue of Study
Coursework or majors in the following areas: environmental studies, ecology, agriculture, sustainable development, political science, policy studies, sociology, or public health.
Key Topics of Study
Key Topics of Study
- Sustainable agriculture
- Genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
- Slow Food culture in the contexts of Switzerland and Istria
- Public health and non-communicable diseases
- Obesity, under-nutrition, and inadequate nutrition
- Infant and child feeding
The program’s thematic seminar examines issues of food security from the perspective of sustainable development and social stability. Students also embark on an independent project, directing their interests toward a specific research question. The program also includes a French language component.
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.
- Food Security, Nutrition, and Sustainable Development – syllabus
- (IPBH3000 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Students examine a broad range of topics such as food culture and nutrition, their links to global health in both developing and developed countries, global agri-business and food trade, land ownership, land grabbing and other factors affecting food security and food sovereignty, and broader but connected issues such as global health, climate change, and forced migration.
- Beginning French I – syllabus
- (FREN1003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Intermediate French I – syllabus
- (FREN2003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Advanced French I – syllabus
- (FREN3003 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Students are placed in intensive beginning, intermediate, or advanced classes based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing.
- Project on Food Security, Nutrition, and Sustainable Development – syllabus
- (IPBH3060 / 3 credits / 45 hours)
- In this course, students are introduced to recent research and become familiar with the methodologies employed in public health and development studies. Students select and analyze relevant issues in consultation with program faculty. In most cases, topics grow out of lectures, briefings, and discussions of the Food Security, Nutrition, and Sustainable Development course. Students directly apply experience-based learning and interactive research skills.
Discover Istria and Italy
You will spend about a week in the peninsula of Istria, which produces one of Europe’s highest quality olive oils and is famous for its truffles and Slow Food culture. Istria is at the crossroads of Germanic, Latin, and Slavic cultures. Here, you will enjoy the cultural diversity and rich culinary traditions of the Istrian region and consider the role of organic food production and sustainable agriculture and fisheries in fostering food security and public health.
There will also be a one-day excursion to neighboring Venice, Italy.
Faculty and Staff
Faculty and Staff
Alexandre Lambert, PhD, Academic Director
Alexandre is Swiss and holds a PhD in international relations from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. He has been an academic director and lecturer with SIT in Geneva since 2007. He has been lead researcher on the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe at the Graduate Institute, project officer at the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces, and a civil servant at the Swiss Federal Department of Defense. He belongs to nonprofit civil society organizations including the Swiss Foreign Policy Association, the European Consortium of Political Research, and the European Research Group on Armed Forces and Society. He is a fellow of the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society in Chicago and frequently provides policy advice to the OSCE Forum for Security Cooperation, often regarding operations in the Western Balkans, South Caucasus, and Central Asia. Alexandre has published in international politics and history, international security, and security sector governance.
Anne Golaz, MD, DrMed, Academic Advisor
Anne is a physician and epidemiologist. She holds an MD and a doctorate in medicine (DrMed) from the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and a master of public health from the University of Washington. She completed the Epidemic Intelligence Service program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta and the CDC Preventive Medicine Residency program at the Indian Health Service in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She was a visiting epidemiologist for the CDC and a regional immunization advisor seconded to the UNICEF Regional Office for South Asia in Kathmandu; the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office in Cairo; and the WHO South-East Asia Regional Office in New Delhi.
Anne teaches public health in humanitarian emergencies at the University of Geneva’s Center for Education and Research in Humanitarian Action and at the Global Studies Institute. Before joining the University in 2012, she was a UNICEF senior health advisor for humanitarian emergencies. She has contributed to many scientific publications.
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.
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 experience a five-week homestay with a family in the French-speaking canton of Vaud. You can hone your French language skills and gain additional insight into the traditional values of Switzerland: federalism, tolerance, respect for minorities, neutrality, and direct democracy.
Most families are northeast of Geneva, near Nyon. You will likely use the area’s excellent public transportation system, traveling by train or bus. You will live with your host family for almost the entirety of the program.
You will stay in a hostel during the orientation period.
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 instruct students in:
- Food security, food culture, and nutrition
- Sustainable development, global health, and social stability
- Sustainable agriculture and GMOs
- Public health and communicable and non-communicable diseases related to inadequate nutrition
- Individual project focusing on a specific organization or research question
- All educational excursions including to Istria, set at the crossroads of the Germanic, Latin, and Slavic cultural spheres
- Health insurance throughout the entire program period
Room & Board: $2,250
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, and during the evaluation period.
- Homestay in the French-speaking canton of Vaud
- All meals for the entire program period. Meals are covered 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.
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.
Independent Study Project
Independent Study Project
In the latter half of the program, you will conduct an independent project on a subject related to food security, nutrition, and sustainable development.
Potential research project topics:
- Food security and socio-political stability
- Biofuels and implications of land grabbing
- The interplays between malnutrition and infectious disease
- Organic food culture and nutritional diet in local contexts
- Infant feeding in the context of natural disaster and humanitarian relief
- The use of GMOs in agricultural and food production supply chains