History and Mission
The history of the School for International Training (SIT) begins in 1932, with the founding of The Experiment in International Living, an organization with the goal of improving understanding across cultures and nations by sending US students abroad to live with families in their communities in order to expand their worldviews. In the early 1960s, Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps and an alumnus of The Experiment, called on The Experiment to conduct orientation and training for the earliest Peace Corps volunteers. These orientation and training activities led to the establishment of an academic institution—SIT—in 1964. Later, The Experiment’s Cooperative Overseas Program, a program for university students, evolved into SIT Study Abroad, growing to enroll more than 2,000 participants annually.
Today, the School for International Training offers graduate programs through SIT Graduate Institute and undergraduate study abroad programs through SIT Study Abroad.
SIT Graduate Institute prepares students from across the globe to be effective leaders, professionals, and citizens. SIT’s graduate and professional development programs are rooted in the experiential education model, where learning occurs at the nexus of theory and practice. Students are trained to become highly skilled practitioners who have a commanding knowledge of the theoretical basis of their profession; experience in the field; and an awareness of their own capabilities, values, and ethics.
Throughout its five-decade history SIT Graduate Institute has delivered innovative graduate programs in the areas of peace and conflict transformation, socially responsible management, sustainable development, international education, and teacher preparation. In the late 1960s, SIT introduced programs in teaching English, and in 1971, the school awarded its first master’s degree for the Program in Intercultural Management. The 1970s and 1980s saw a further evolution of programs offered, and the 1990s were marked by an expansion of facilities on SIT’s Brattleboro, Vermont, campus. In 2007, SIT introduced an online option for its MA in international education, and in 2011, it launched an MA in sustainable development in Washington, DC.
Today, SIT Graduate Institute continues to adapt to a changing world and the ever-evolving needs of its students and remains as committed as ever to the principles of social justice, intercultural communication, and experiential learning.
SIT Study Abroad provides accredited field-based semester and summer programs for undergraduate students in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East, as well as comparative programs in multiple locations. Employing an educational approach developed over 80 years, SIT encourages students to step beyond the boundaries of a traditional classroom to analyze the critical issues shaping local communities around the globe
For more than fifty years, SIT Study Abroad has delivered carefully designed and thoughtfully facilitated study abroad programs rooted in the experiential education learning model. Throughout its history, it has given its students the opportunity to examine critical issues such as climate change, global health, and human rights in diverse, often less-visited, locations. Today, SIT offers nearly 80 accredited field-based semester and summer study abroad programs in more than 30 countries around the world, including, with the integration with International Honors Programs in 2007, comparative programs in multiple locations.
SIT Study Abroad’s programs are always evolving to best address critical global issues, take advantage of unique learning opportunities, and support student immersion and safety. Recent developments include optional internships on more than two dozen programs, journalism tracks on three programs, and three summer innovation labs.
School for International Training prepares students to be interculturally effective leaders, professionals, and citizens. In so doing, SIT fosters a worldwide network of individuals and organizations committed to responsible global citizenship. SIT fulfills this mission with field-based academic study abroad programs for undergraduates and accredited master’s degrees and certificate programs for graduates and professionals.