In the Fall of 2017, I embarked on what ultimately turned out to be fantastic adventure. Through SIT, I enrolled in their IHP: Climate Change program. Unique to SIT’s IHP programs is the breathtaking exposure to three unique countries, in my case Vietnam, Morocco and Bolivia. The academic orientation of the program was the Politics of Food, Water and Energy, and ultimately, how they related to, affected, and were affected by climate change. As such, each nation was chosen for its vastly different form of government; state communism, constitutional monarch and democratically socialism, respectively.

I spent the entire semester with 27 other students from all over the US, 1 traveling professor and a faculty fellow. The professor taught two of my four courses, the others were taught through extensive experiential learning and online modules, as well as guest lectures from farmers, politicians, engineers and policy makers. The faculty fellow did a phenomenal job of helping us in every capacity imaginable – health insurance, community building, travel tips, emotional support. Last but not least, my peers were incredible. Most everyone was very curious, incredibly adaptable, and optimistic, and I am stoked to have made friends from DC to Oregon.

Logistically, in each country we had classes in a) a hotel conference room if we were living in the hotel at the time or b) a local classroom/community center during our time in the homestays. The homestays were an undoubted dealmaker for me; the learning that took place in the homes with our families was eye-opening and hilarious all at once.

A couple highlights and lowlight – please reach out and ask about it if you want to hear more:

  • Cliff jumping at Paradise Valley, one of the top rated spots in the world
  • Backpacking in Bach Ma, a gorgeous Vietnamese national park and ex – US helicopter base
  • Living with a small indigenous community on the shores of Lake Titicaca
  • Getting amoebas and not being able to eat the Thanksgiving Potluck