- 2.5 GPA
- Good academic and disciplinary standing
- Background in development studies or a related field is strongly recommended
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
Examine the social, political, economic, and environmental issues of development through site visits and field activities in Uganda and Rwanda.
Case studies of environmental, health, gender, and human rights projects provide the context for exploring this development model, its successes, and its challenges. You will explore development projects in Uganda and Rwanda and use development theory to examine the assumptions that inform the design of these projects.
For more information, see SIT's webpage.
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, non-governmental 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.
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.
WESTERN UGANDA: Study Uganda’s shift from Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals by visiting projects focused on water, solar power, school nutrition, and growth in the microfinance and banking sectors. You will also visit health projects and shadow community healthcare workers. Conduct focus group discussions with refugees and practice other research methods at a refugee settlement. Finally, take an excursion to Murchison Falls National Park, home to elephants, hippos, and chimpanzees.
RWANDA: Travel to Rwanda to study its political history, how relations with international actors and leadership styles have inspired Rwanda’s fast-paced development, and how this compares to Uganda. You also will visit genocide memorials to explore Rwanda’s recent history. During this part of the program, take site visits to Rwanda Governance Board, Rwanda Development Board, the Kigali Special Economic Zone, and a Millennium Villages Project site.
EASTERN UGANDA: An excursion to eastern Uganda includes a three-day rural homestay during which you will study water schemes, health centers, schools, small farming, food security, and local governance. Learn how data may be collected in rural settings; practice participatory rural appraisal methods; and observe how rural people support their livelihoods in an era of privatization and economic liberalization.
SINGLE-DAY EXCURSIONS: These typically include visits to sites of historical, cultural, and economic importance, such as Kasubi Tombs, Uganda Museum, Kabaka’s Trail, the Sezibwa Falls, a foreign-funded waste management utility responsible for part of Uganda’s carbon credits, Mwanamugimu nutritional clinic, Uganda’s Parliament, and an urban refugee resilience project.
Spring Semester: Late January - Early May
Fall Semester: Early September - Mid-December
1111 University Capitol Centre
Iowa City, IA 52242
Within spitting distance of Lake Victoria lies Kampala at an altitude of 1,155 meters. With approximately 1.5 million inhabitants, it is the seat of government and the undisputed center of Uganda. An impressive skyline, streets with a European flair, and a friendly population all make Kampala an enjoyable city to live and study.
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.
Uganda Travel 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.
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.
The urban homestay is six weeks with a break in the middle for a two-week educational excursion. Kampala is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city representing a diverse range of ethnic groups. Luganda is the dominant language spoken in and around Kampala; therefore, efforts are made to place students with Luganda-speaking families. You will become immersed in social life, form relationships with families and the wider community, participate in household activities, and attend traditional ceremonies. This exposure offers local perspectives and insights on a wide range of social, political, and international issues. Homestay families live in the suburbs of Kampala and are carefully selected to represent diverse social and economic characteristics. This creates a diverse learning experience when you and your peers share your homestay experiences with one another through weekly processing sessions.
Eighty percent of Uganda’s population lives in rural areas, so this one-week homestay is aimed at exposing you to the agrarian way of life experienced by most Ugandans. The rural homestay alternates from semester to semester between Busia district among the Abasamia ethnic group, Kapchorwa district among the Sabinyi ethnic group, or Kasese district among the Bakonzo ethnic group. You and one other student will live with a rural host family for three days and three nights. You will learn how data may be collected in rural settings and how rural people support their livelihoods in an era of privatization and economic liberalization.
See the work of non-governmental organizations (including Uganda Women’s Efforts to Save Orphans and the Uganda Red Cross); explore Ankole cattle culture; learn about rural homestead appraisals; put research methods into practice; and visit a Millennium Villages Project site, the Nakivale refugee settlement, and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Travel to Rwanda to study recent political history, how relations with international actors and leadership styles have inspired Rwanda’s fast-paced development, and how this compares to Uganda. You will visit genocide memorials to explore Rwanda’s recent history. The program makes site visits to Rwanda Governance Board, Rwanda Development Board, the Kigali Special Economic Zone, and a Millennium Villages Project site.
An excursion to eastern Uganda includes a three-day rural homestay during which you will study rural water schemes, health centers, schools, small farming, food security, and local governance. You will also practice participatory rural appraisal methods to learn about Uganda’s rural livelihoods.
The program includes single-day excursions to sites of historical, cultural, and economic significance such as Kasubi Tombs, Uganda Museum, Kabaka’s Trail, the Sezibwa Falls, a foreign-funded waste management utility that is responsible for part of Uganda’s carbon credits, Mwanamugimu nutritional clinic, Uganda’s Parliament, and Makapads.
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.
Students who are not US citizens should contact Ryan Ourada (email@example.com) for information on how to ensure that their passport is valid for the duration of their time abroad.
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.
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!
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. A background in development studies or a related field is strongly recommended.
This document outlines the total estimated costs associated with participating in this program and can be used for financial aid purposes. It includes 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.
Some costs are incurred prior to departure and will be due before financial aid/scholarship disperse. Here are the expected upfront costs for SIT:
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.
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.
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.
Spring: September 27
Fall: March 4
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.
In addition to submitting their Confirmation of Participation form, students should review the following:Study Abroad Resources Health 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.