Author Archives: michaelroberts

2014 SIT Photo Contest Winners Announced

The annual SIT Photo Contest is a chance for SIT Graduate Institute and SIT Study Abroad students and alumni to submit photos that capture SIT’s mission and values. In the 2014 contest, nearly 200 students and alumni submitted over 600 photographs. A select group of SIT staff chose their three favorites (staff pick category), and then we let the SIT student and alumni community vote to choose three more winners from a select group of finalists (viewers’ choice category). See the winning photos below, and hear the stories behind these photographs in the photographers’ own words. 1st Place, Staff Pick – Alexander Voynow, IHP/Comparative: Human Rights: Foundations, Challenges, and Advocacy Both of these pictures were taken on the same day, at the same event. Within our first week in Kathmandu, we were lucky enough to experience the Indra Jatra festival, … Continue reading

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Seeds of Change

Gretchen Powers is a photographer, documentary filmmaker, and alumna of SIT Nepal: Development and Social Change. During her independent study project, Powers filmed “Seeds of Change,” a documentary about apple growers in the Kali Gandaki River Valley of Nepal. Purna’s brown weathered hand offered me a bright yellow apple.  Kept for five months in cold storage below her guesthouse in the foothills of the Himalayas, the apple still felt firm and tasted completely fresh.  It was a little drier and had a tougher skin than the apples that I grew up with back in Vermont, but it was an apple just the same.  Purna had just finished an on-camera interview with me for a short documentary film I was working on, sharing her story of the changes that were occurring due to the new bi-pass road that had been constructed … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Environment, Field Notes, Film, Photography, SIT Study Abroad, Sustainability, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Experiment: 82 Years and Counting

This week The Experiment in International Living kicks off its 82nd year with 31 different programs in 20 countries worldwide. A total of 480 Experimenters will explore the world under the skilled mentorship of 74 group leaders, who attended a leadership training workshop at our Brattleboro, Vermont campus last week. This year, Experimenters hail from 36 US states and 11 countries outside the US, including South Africa, China, Israel, Uganda, and Thailand. The Experiment continued its dedication to providing financial support by offering 337 Experimenters need-based scholarships ranging from $500 to full scholarships. Many scholarship recipients were nominated by an extensive network of sponsoring organizations, like A Better Chance (ABC), Alliance High School in Kenya, and The Seed School of Washington DC. Two new programs will feature in The Experiment’s offerings this year, Costa Rica: Fair Trade and Sustainability, and … Continue reading

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The Fantinis Celebrate 50 Years with a New SIT Scholarship

In 1954, Alvino Fantini received a scholarship to attend The Experiment in International Living in Mexico. “I was transformed totally,” he said. “All I wanted to do was come back.” Fantini did come back to The Experiment in 1963 to lead Experiment groups of his own. By that time, he had met his future wife, Bea, and the two soon settled in the Brattleboro area. Alvino became a language coordinator for the Peace Corps, which sent all of its volunteers to The Experiment for language training and orientation at the time. Bea, a native of Bolivia, graded Spanish tests for college-aged Experimenters taking six-credit language courses. The Experiment’s work with the Peace Corps led to the founding of SIT (then School for International Training) in 1964. Though SIT sought higher education accreditation, and the language training programs were taking off, … Continue reading

Posted in Education, Experiment in International Living, International Education, SIT Graduate Institute, SIT Study Abroad, Video | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Bringing it All Back Home, to Darfur

Mastora Bakhiet has not lived in the Darfur region of Sudan for nearly 20 years, but her thoughts are never far from the conflict there. Since 2007, Bakhiet, an alumna of SIT Graduate Institute’s Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation program, has directed Darfur Women Network, which provides relief and development support to Sudanese refugees. Though Darfur Women Network is a small, volunteer-run organization primarily managed by Sudanese-Americans living in the United States, Bakhiet believes they provide opportunities for refugees other larger organizations have overlooked. “There are so many organizations working on political advocacy for Darfur,” said Bakhiet, “but Darfur Women Network works directly with refugees and displaced people in Darfur.” By working directly with refugees, the network is able to provide the most important resources and services quickly. To do this, Bakhiet and her fellow volunteers leverage their personal connections with … Continue reading

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[Photo Essay] Facing the War: Voices of Liberian Women

In early 2014, SIT Graduate Institute professor Charlie Curry-Smithson led a three-week field course in Liberia focused on post-war societal change. Mathilde Simon, a photographer and student of Peacebuilding and Conflict Transformation from Paris, France attended the course and  focused her camera on the ways women were adjusting to life after Liberia’s civil war. Scroll through her photo essay below, and learn more about the women she met while traveling in Liberia and Monrovia.

Posted in Advocacy, Africa, Education, Global Health, International Development, Peacebuilding, Photography, SIT Graduate Institute, Women and Girls, Youth | Leave a comment

[Video] Window on Oaxaca

In January of each year, SIT Graduate Institute offers optional field courses in different locations around the world. These intensive field courses provide students with experiential learning opportunities in the US and abroad through interaction with practitioners in the field, organization and project site visits, and professional networking. This year, in addition to courses in India, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados, eight students traveled to Oaxaca, Mexico, the ideal location for a two-week intercultural communication course. “It’s a very vibrant community, that speaks to the kind of work that we’re doing here in terms of social justice and caring about people from other cultures,” said Karen Blanchard, who lead the course. Watch our documentary of the course below.

Posted in Advocacy, Education, Field Notes, International Education, SIT Graduate Institute, Women and Girls | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Experiment in Focus: An Echoing Impact

Connie Xu was an Experimenter to Switzerland last summer. My favorite place in Switzerland was the Motel des Sports, the charming four-star hotel we called home during our stay in Martigny. Apart from its comfortable lodgings and decadent dinners, what fascinated me most about the motel was its location: directly across a soccer field and beach volleyball court, and a few blocks away from an abandoned Roman amphitheater. Whenever I think of the word “amphitheater,” I picture the Colosseum, bathing in all its former glory in spite of its deteriorated facade. Since I had never visited an amphitheater before, I roiled over in excitement when our leader Lynn decided to take us there after our last group dinner. I had no idea what to expect, but I imagined the amphitheater to be an exact replica of the Colosseum – the … Continue reading

Posted in Experiment in International Living, Field Notes, Homestay, International Education, The Experiment in Focus, Theatre, Uncategorized, Youth | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

SIT Celebrates 50 Years

2014 marks the 50th anniversary of SIT, founded as the School for International Training in 1964 by The Experiment in International Living’s first president, Gordon Boyce, and executive vice president John Wallace. A celebration for alumni, students, staff, and faculty will take place in August 8-10, 2014 at SIT’s Brattleboro, Vermont, campus, with smaller events planned in other areas throughout the year, said Bea Fantini, chair of the SIT 50th anniversary celebration committee and  director of SIT’s Language and Culture Department. “It is very exciting for SIT to reach this milestone anniversary which reflects half a century of achievement by so many to build this strong, vibrant and vital educational center,” said John Lucas, executive vice president of academic affairs and SIT provost.  “SIT remains firmly committed to experiential education and rooted in the values of social justice, diversity, and … Continue reading

Posted in Alumni, Education, Event, Experiment in International Living, International Education, SIT Graduate Institute, SIT Study Abroad | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Alice Rowan Swanson Fellow Turns Waste Into Energy in Vietnam

By William Shlah, Alice Rowan Swanson Fellow Prior to my time studying with SIT in Vietnam, I had never heard of a garden, pond, and livestock biodigester system, commonly known in Vietnam as a VACB. However, once I was introduced to the system and other concepts related to sustainable development while studying abroad with SIT, I gained a genuine curiosity and desire to continue working with VACB systems to promote sustainability. During the semester, our group of 12 students worked in conjunction with a local university to construct a VACB system for a local family. It was such a unique and gratifying experience that I will certainly never forget it, and I knew that I wanted to continue working in the sustainable development field. Fortunately, the Alice Rowan Swanson Fellowship and World Learning made that possible by funding my proposal … Continue reading

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