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SIT Rwanda Post-Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding

Fast Facts

Sessions Offered:

Fall, Spring

Location:

Kigali, Rwanda

Credit:

Transfer

Program Features

Affiliated Program
Research
Internship

Eligibility:

- 2.5 GPA

- Good academic and disciplinary standing

- Emotional maturity

- Knowledge of French is not required, but students with a background in the language will have opportunities to use it on the program

Application Due:

Spring 9/27

Fall 3/4

Downtown Kigali

SIT Study Abroad offers more than 60 accredited semester and summer study abroad programs in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. SIT also offers the International Honors Program, which is multi-locational.

The SIT Experience

  • Rigorous academic programs through a field-based, experiential approach
  • Undergraduate research through an Independent Study Project
  • Cultural immersion through fieldwork, language classes, and urban and rural homestays with local families
  • A small group of students in each program, supported by SIT faculty and staff, homestay families, in-country experts, and community members
  • Access to SIT's extensive local resources and networks
  • A commitment to reciprocity as the foundation of our educational philosophy

Academic Program

Examine the root causes of the 1994 genocide and Rwanda's ongoing efforts in fostering peace, unity, and reconciliation among its people as well as its subsequent efforts to promote economic reconstruction.

This program examines the origins of conflict in Rwanda; the social, human, psychological, and economic impacts of genocide; and the challenges and opportunities of post-conflict restoration. Field visits to genocide memorials, museums, civil society organizations, and commissions working toward reconciliation are an essential part of the program. In addition, you will visit with private investors to explore their contributions to Rwanda’s rapid economic development. You will also learn about post-conflict reconciliation in a very different context during the program’s two-week excursion to northern Uganda.

Major topics of study include:

  • Rwandan history and culture and the origins of conflict, ethnicity, and genocidal outbreak in Rwanda
  • The institutional and collective strategies of remembrance and strategies to fight genocide denial
  • The social and psychological impact of genocide on survivors and their descendants
  • National and international involvement in genocide prevention and peacebuilding and the interrelations between peace, justice, reconciliation, and forgiveness
  • Refugees and displaced people in post-conflict environments
  • Post-genocide economic development

For more information, see SIT's webpage.

Program Structure

boats in the river

Interdisciplinary Seminars

Thematic seminars merge student experience with academic theory to examine critical issues from multiple perspectives. Students learn from SIT faculty as well as guest lecturers from local universities, research institutes, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and community and professional associations. Field-based activities and assignments complement readings, discussions, and research papers, allowing students to engage in a variety of study methods.

Intensive Language Study

Programs typically offer language study at the intermediate and advanced levels and/or beginning instruction in a less commonly taught language spoken by the local community. Language courses incorporate formal classroom instruction, discussion, and field exercises designed to enhance student engagement while improving oral and written competence. Select programs are taught entirely or partly in the target language.

Research Methods and Ethics

Students learn appropriate methodologies that prepare them to undertake fieldwork on topics connected to the program’s theme and specific cultural context. Students develop research skills and approaches including cross-cultural adaptation and skill building; project selection and refinement; contact and resource cultivation; observation and interviewing skills; gathering, organizing, and presenting findings; and maintaining a field journal. Students also examine the ethics and impact of their research on local communities and are required to follow the World Learning/SIT Human Subjects Review Policy, which serves as an approval process and guide for ethical field study practices.

Independent Study Project (ISP)

Typically conducted during the last month of the semester, the ISP allows students to pursue original field-based research on a topic of their choice within the program’s thematic parameters. The academic director advises each student on developing a project plan. Students also identify an ISP advisor who works with the student on the design, implementation, and evaluation of the student’s research project. Final projects generally include a 20- to 40-page paper and presentation to peers, academic staff, and interested members of the host community.

University of Iowa students who complete an Independent Study Project (ISP) must follow University of Iowa Institutional Review Board (IRB) policies and procedures. For more information on the Iowa IRB process please visit the Undergraduate Research Abroad webpage. An additional pre-departure orientation session, hosted by the Iowa IRB, will be offered on campus to help answer questions and ensure compliance.

Cultural Activities

RWANDA: Visit memorials and key sites of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsis. Excursions include the Murambi Genocide Memorial, a technical school where more than 50,000 Tutsi were killed, and the Gisozi Genocide Memorial and Information Center’s mass grave, peace garden, and comprehensive exhibit on the Rwandan genocide. You will also see a work camp for genocide convicts and visit the Campaign Against Genocide Museum that documents all steps that were taken to stop the genocide against the Tutsis.

UGANDA: During a two-week excursion to northern Uganda, you will meet Ugandan academics, visit NGOs and civil society organizations, visit a former internally displaced persons camp, and experience everyday life in this post-conflict area. You will visit one of the Ugandan Refugee settlements housing Rwandese, Somali, Sudanese, and Congolese refugees. At Murchison Falls National Park, you will spot wildlife on an early morning game drive and take a boat trip up the Nile to behold a waterfall.

Program Dates

Spring Semester: Early February - Late May

Fall Semester: Late August - Mid-December

People and Culture

Danielle Marvin (Spring 2017)

Pre-Departure
Person to person
A little discomfort may just do you some good

Student Videos

Video "Hello Rwanda"

For more information

Steps to Studying Abroad

  1. Before initiating an application with SIT, students must complete a Discover Study Abroad session at the University of Iowa. 
  2. After completing the Discover Abroad session, students must call the Study Abroad office at 319-335-0353 to be assigned to the appropriate study abroad advisor.
  3. Once assigned, students must meet with their study abroad advisor to receive program application instructions.
  


Study Abroad
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242

Phone: 319-335-0353
Email: study-abroad@uiowa.edu

Kigali, Rwanda

Street in Kigali

The program is based in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city. Kigali is home to many commissions, organizations, and government bodies related to the program’s study of post-genocide restoration and peacebuilding. A major genocide memorial and information center is located in the neighborhood of Gisozi.

Kigali is a medium-sized modern city in which clear signs of a successful recovery from the devastating impact of the 1994 genocide are visible. However, parts of the city also reflect the poor living conditions many Rwandans still endure. Kigali’s neighborhoods stretch out over the many hills on which the city was built, which provide breathtaking views over the city and the surrounding valleys.

Safety

Market in Kigali with colorful items

SIT places the highest priority on the health, safety, and security of all students. Through their 80-plus years of running international experiential education programs, they have developed sophisticated proactive and reactive risk management strategies. Their proactive risk management begins with in-country assessments of safety and continues through student orientation and emergency preparedness. Their reactive risk management strategies include 24/7 on-call availability, emergency/crisis response protocols, and comprehensive student insurance. Their structure also allows for rapid response and adjustment to changing situations.
Rwanda Travel Information

US Department of State Country Information

The US Department of State provides safety and security information for every country of the world to help you assess for yourself the risks of travel. Each country information page contains a Travel Advisory, Alerts, and other important details specific to that country that could affect you.

Pay close attention to the entry and exit requirements, local laws and customs, health conditions, and other details to help decide whether traveling to any given country is right for you. Non-US citizen travelers may also wish to seek guidance from the embassy of their country of citizenship. The UI International Travel Policy for Students addresses restrictions on student travel to high-risk locations and engagement in high-risk activities abroad.

Living Arrangements

City view with building

For six weeks, you will live with a host family in Kigali. The homestay will help you become more immersed in local social and cultural dynamics and give you a unique inside perspective of life in post-genocide Rwanda. Students often observe and learn from Rwandans' processes of remembering and forgetting, their strategies of overcoming genocide ideology, and their work towards unity and reconciliation.

The homestay is also an important setting to improve Kinyarwanda language skills. You will typically take public transportation to class, which provides you with a good sense of direction and orientation within the city as well as better insight into the local culture.

Host families are typically middle class and are located throughout Kigali. Host parents work in a variety of professions, including small business owners, government employees, accountants, lawyers, and doctors. Rwandan families often include many children and other relatives. Some families live in large single and self-contained houses with a fenced garden, while others have smaller houses with an outside bathroom and outside cooking facilities. Soccer and church are of high significance to a large number of Rwandan families.

Homestay families are identified and coordinated through the program’s partner school, College Amis des Enfants (CAE), a secondary boarding school in Kigali. All homestay families have at least one child attending CAE.

Other accommodations during the program include hostels, guest houses, or small hotels.

Program excursions in Rwanda and northern Uganda provide you with extensive exposure to the region. You will engage with critical issues in reconciliation and redevelopment firsthand and apply concepts introduced through coursework and field exercises. It is also during excursions that you will get to enjoy the natural beauty of the country and wildlife in the region as you visit Lake Kivu in Rwanda and Murchison Falls Park in Uganda.

Educational Excursions

Road with bikes and trucks in Kigali

Excursion sites in Rwanda typically include:

  • Murambi Genocide Memorial: A technical school where more than 50,000 Tutsi were killed
  • Gisozi Genocide Memorial and Information Center: Informative memorial site with a mass grave outside, a peace garden for reflection, and a comprehensive exhibit on the Rwandan genocide and other genocides of the twentieth century
  • TIG (Travail d’Intérêt Général): A work camp where convicted genocide perpetrators complete community work
  • A women's association near Butare where victims of the genocide whose husbands were killed work together with women whose husbands are in prison for committing genocide
  • Nyamata and Ntarama Genocide Memorials: Two churches in the vicinity of Kigali where mass killings took place
  • Millennium Village: Peace and reconciliation village. You will visit with cassava farmers and basket weavers and experience cultural dances and local food.
  • Habyarimana's Residence: The residence of the former Rwandan president Habyarimana, whose plane was shot down in 1994, killing all aboard and sparking the Rwandan genocide.

Northern Uganda

During the program's two-week excursion to northern Uganda, you will hear lectures by Ugandan academics, visit different NGOs and civil society organizations, witness the aftermath of conflict by visiting a former IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camp, and experience everyday life in this post-conflict region.

Sites typically include:

  • Gulu Concerned Parents Association: An organization of parents whose daughters have been abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army and who provide emotional, psychological, and economic support to families affected by conflict
  • Invisible Children, Uganda: An organization founded in 2004 to bring awareness to the activities of the Lord's Resistance Army in Northern Uganda and Central Africa and its leader, Joseph Kony.
  • Justice and Reconciliation Project: An independent NGO in Gulu with a mission of empowering conflict-affected communities to participate in processes of justice, healing, and reconciliation.
  • Kitgum Straight Talk Foundation: An organization devoted to educating adolescents on growing up and staying safe, reproductive health issues, life skills, and sexuality. You will visit the people of the nearby camp for internally displaced people in Orom, talk to youth leaders and community members, and practice interview skills.
  • Baker's Fort: A former place of the slave trade. The fort was captured by Sir Samuel Baker who established a garrison to fight slavery and the slave trade in the years 1872–1888.
  • Nakivale Refugee Camp: A refugee camp housing Rwandese, Somali, Sudanese, and Congolese refugees in western Uganda.
  • Murchison Falls National Park: You will be able to spot wildlife on an early morning game drive through this national park. A boat trip up the Nile reveals a beautiful view of a stunning waterfall.

Passport

US Citizens

If you do not have a passport, it is important that you apply for one as soon as possible to ensure you receive it before the program begins. US citizens can find more information about how to apply for a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Important notice for students without a valid passport or whose passport will expire within the next 12 months:

US citizens can find more information about how to renew a passport on the US Department of State’s website.

Students without a valid passport should apply for a new passport or a passport renewal as early as possible.

Students with a valid passport should check the expiration date. Passports must be valid for at least 6 months AFTER the anticipated return to the US from studying abroad. If your passport is not valid for at least 6 months after your anticipated date of return to the US, you must renew your passport before applying for the visa you will need to enter your host country.

Expedited processing service is available for US passports (although this still takes several weeks and is at an additional cost). UI Study Abroad encourages students to ask the passport agency at the time of application whether expedited service is recommended.

Non-US Citizens

Students who are not US citizens should contact Ryan Ourada (ryan-ourada@uiowa.edu) for information on how to ensure that their passport is valid for the duration of their time abroad.

Flights

Students will work with their program provider to make travel arrangements to their program site. The cost of travel is not included in the course fee. UI Study Abroad will not arrange a group flight to your study abroad destination.

Do not purchase plane tickets until you have received instructions on how to do so from your program provider.

Local Transportation

Within your host city and around the country, students will utilize public transportation such as buses and trains. Excursions and general travel require a lot of walking, so bring some comfortable shoes!

Eligibility

Students must have a 2.5 GPA or higher and be in good academic and disciplinary standing. You must be in good academic and disciplinary standing with the university at the end of the semester, too. If you are not in good standing at the end of the semester, your acceptance will be revoked and you will be responsible for the associated withdrawal fees.

Note: Emotional maturity is necessary, as studying genocide and its aftermath may be difficult and upsetting.

Costs

PDFFall 2017 Cost Sheet
PDFSpring 2017 Cost Sheet
Updated cost sheets are forthcoming

These documents outline the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. They include fees charged on students’ U-Bill as well as out-of-pocket expenses. Actual out-of-pocket expenses will vary from individual to individual. Quoted estimates are conservatively high, yet realistic.

The cost sheet includes the Study Abroad Administrative Fee and Mandatory Iowa Regents CISI Travel Insurance. Please see the respective websites for further details. If the fee is inclusive of UI tuition, it is calculated by Current Tuition. Please contact your study abroad advisor with questions regarding this cost sheet – call 319-335-0353 to schedule an appointment.

Upfront, out-of-pocket expenses

Some costs are incurred prior to departure and will be due before financial aid/scholarship disperse. Here are the expected upfront costs for SIT:

  • Iowa application fee: $50
  • Airfare: $1,000-$1,500
  • Passport: $135

Financial Aid and Scholarships

Most financial aid (scholarships, grants, and loans) is applicable to study abroad programs. Please check the Study Abroad website for information on financial aid and how it may be applied to studying abroad. You are also encouraged to speak with someone at the Office of Student Financial Aid to explore financial aid options.

Scholarship opportunities exist for study abroad participants. Please explore Study Abroad’s websites for UI Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunities and Non-UI External Awards.

SIT automatically gives students from Big Ten institutions a $1,500 scholarship. There is no application necessary — the amount is automatically credited to your account. SIT offers additional awards that can be found on SIT's webpage.

Pell Grant Recipients will have their application fee waived by SIT, are eligible for additional SIT scholarships, and are competitive candidates for the Department of State's Gilman Scholarship. Please talk to your Study Abroad Advisor for more details.

Withdrawal policy

SIT's withdrawal policy can be found here: Withdrawal and Cancellation. After applying and being accepted students will then be asked to confirm their participation in the program. After confirmation, students are responsible for the following:

Date of Withdrawal Student Financial Responsibility
After submitting the Confirmation of Participation Study Abroad Administrative fee: $400
Portion of course fee: As determined by the program contract with SIT
Less than 30 days before the program start date Study Abroad Administrative fee: $400 or 50%, whichever is greater
Portion of course fee: As determined by the program contract with SIT
On or after the program start date Study Abroad Administrative fee: 100%
Portion of course fee: As determined by the program contract with SIT

Consult with your Study Abroad advisor for any clarification about fees and billing. Note that when you withdraw from a program, any money already paid directly to a program provider and/or a host university will potentially be forfeited. Check with your specific provider/host university for details. Additional penalties for cancellation of airline tickets may also apply. Check with your airline for further details.

Application Deadline

Spring: September 27

Fall: March 4

How to Apply

You can find the application for this program on our website here: UI Study Abroad Application. Applicants must meet with a Study Abroad advisor before their application will be processed. You can schedule a meeting by calling 319.335.0353.

Participants must also complete the SIT application and complete all the application components by SIT's deadline. The SIT application can be found here: SIT Application.

Acceptance and Confirmation Materials

Coming soon.

Health & Safety Planning

In addition to submitting their Confirmation of Participation form, students should review the following:

Study Abroad Resources

Passports and Visas

Iowa Regents CISI Health Insurance Information

Students are also encouraged to complete the PDFHealth Preparation Guide for International Travel form with their medical practitioner. This document is intended to help you plan for your medical needs abroad. Please DO NOT turn this form in to UI Study Abroad.

Scholarships & Financial Aid

For more information about receiving financial aid while studying abroad, please review the following:UI Financial Aid Information

You can find more information about options for funding your study abroad experience including scholarships on Undergraduate Scholarships for Study Abroad.

In addition, take a look at SIT Scholarship website for information about scholarships offered directly through your program provider.

Visa

U.S. passport holders should follow the Visa batch process instructions provided by SIT. Make sure to submit all required documents by the submission deadline. Otherwise you will have to apply for your student visa independently.

U.S. Citizens will need a student visa if they are going abroad for a semester, or academic year. Typically, they will not need a visa for the summer sessions.

UI Study Abroad will hold advising appointments and/or information sessions to provide details on the visa application process. UI Study Abroad staff can provide some assistance on the Italian visa application process, but ultimately the individual traveler (the student) is the person who is responsible for providing correct information on the visa application and securing the visa and all other required documentation prior to travel.

Prior to starting the visa application process check in with SIT for more information; they have a preferred timeline that students need to follow.

Orientation

In order to prepare for your time abroad, you are required by the University of Iowa to complete two orientations. These may be in addition to orientations provided by your on-site provider. See below for more information.

Online Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation

You are required to complete the International Programs ICON course "Education Abroad Pre-Departure Orientation" prior to departure. This orientation is mandatory for all students going abroad under the auspices of the University of Iowa. It covers many practical matters about living overseas, such as health and safety, communication, money, goals, and much more. You will be enrolled in this course by International Programs and an email will be sent to you once enrolled. If you have any questions, you can email safety-abroad@uiowa.edu

Program-Specific Orientation

This orientation will be facilitated by your study abroad advisor and will cover content specific to your program and host country. It could be conducted in a group setting or one-on-one depending on your type of planned activity abroad. Your study abroad advisor will send you more information about this mandatory in-person session.

Pre departure Resources

SIT will provide you with a variety of pre-departure resources to prepare you for your study abroad experience. These will include a packing list, cultural information, housing instructions, etc. Ensure that you thoroughly review any information provided to you by SIT and refer back to it if you have any questions.

These materials may be periodically updated to reflect new program information prior to departure. Be sure to check your SIT Account often.