In addition to Study Abroad- Do Research Abroad

Posted in News Story

Find out from study abroad alum how you can do your very own research abroad!

An intercultural elementary school in Chile
(Photo courtesy of Grace Rector)

February 24, 2020 –

Before you go abroad, you’ll want to think about what you want to gain from the experience. You may want to learn a new language, attend classes with native students, participate in your host university’s student organizations, or conduct your own research. Similarly, you may want to study and investigate the various intersections that affect countries and explore topics relating to economic development, gender and sexuality, government and politics, and the environment. Doing your own research not only academically challenges you, it gives you the opportunity to discover and learn more about your host country and topics that affect it. 

Doing research abroad is also very attainable for undergraduate students and many study abroad programs have a research element built into their core curriculum to allow students to connect knowledge points in the classroom with their physical environment. For example, SIT Study Abroad programs, which have locations all over the world, have a research component called the Independent Study Project in which students work with advisors and experts in the field on a topic they are passionate about. Students can pursue a quantitative research project, a performance or art-based project, or a “practicum-based” project.

To learn more about how you can do research abroad, read the student profiles below which outline their projects:



Student: Xanthia Yerby (COL’21)

Location: SIT Morocco (Rabat): Multiculturalism and Human Rights 

Research Topic: The February 20th Movement and the Makhzen’s repression of NGOs that were involved in the movement.

Comments: Xanthia went abroad to Rabat, Morocco and for her project she created a short film titled Eight Years Later.


Student: Elena Ortiz (SFS’21)

Location: SIT Rwanda (Kigali): Post Genocide Restoration and Peacebuilding

Research Topic: “The Transformative Potential of High-level Gender Equality: The Relationship between Gendered Laws and Perceptions in Rwanda.” 

Comments: For Elena’s research topic, she chose to identify and explore the gaps that exist in gendered laws in Rwanda and perceptions about gender. Ultimately, she wanted to observe the intersections of institutions and gender in Rwanda post-genocide. Elena had the opportunity to implement both quantitative and qualitative means to support her study.

South Africa:

Student: Teak Hodge (SFS’21)

Location: SIT South Africa (Cape Town): Multiculturalism and Human Rights 

Research Topic: Queer Otherwise: Embodying a Queer Identity in Cape Town.

Comments: Teak chose to research and analyze queerness in Cape Town and how socio-political factors interact with the self in LGBTQ+ communities. He said that the experience was impactful and inspiring because he was able to speak openly and candidly with the LGBTQ+ community.



Student: Annabelle Ng (NHS’20)

Location: SIT India (New Delhi): Public Health, Gender, and Community Action 

Research Topic: The Psychosocial Factors of Mental Health among young Tibetan Adults in Exile. 

Comments: Annabelle spent a month in Himachal Pradesh, India interviewing Tibetan community members and health providers about how life in India and their access to mental health resources overall affected their well-being. 

Latin America


Student: Maria Cornell (SFS’20)

Location: SIT Argentina (Buenos Aires): Social Movements and Human Right

Research Topic: The Relationship between Patriarchy and Colonialism: the Struggle of Campesina and Indigenous Women in Quebrada de Humahuaca against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Comments: Maria enjoyed working on her own research project during her time in Argentina. At the end, she was proud to have challenged herself and write, roughly 35 pages single-spaced, a paper in Spanish dealing with a topic she is interested in. 


Student: Maddie Finn (SFS’21)

Program: SIT Chile (Valparaiso): Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development

Research Project: La Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM) Hasta Ahora

Comments: Maddie was able to investigate and uncover the development and growth of the mapuche activist group during her time. It has shown her the various roles that politics play in Chilean society.

Student: Grace Rector (SFS’21)

Location: SIT Chile (Santiago): Comparative Education and Social Change

Research Topic: The Gap Between Curriculum and the Classroom.

Comments: Grace had the wonderful opportunity to comparatively study education in Santiago, Chile and Buenos Aires Argentina. She researched two public high schools in Buenos Aires and analyzed the gap between values in the national curriculum and how it affects coursework. 

Grace and her host mother in Chile
(Photo courtesy of Grace Rector)

Student: Madison Rivers (SFS’21)

Location: SIT Chile (Valparaiso): Cultural Identity, Social Justice, and Community Development

Research Topic: La Visa de Responsabilidad Democratica: un (imperfecto) faro de esperanza para migrante venezolanos.


Student: Aden Choate (SFS’21)

Location: SIT Ecuador (Quito): Development, Politics, and Languages 

Research Topic: Documentary on the Centrality and Matriarchal Authority of the Midwife in a Local Community.

Comments: Aden chose to create a documentary for her research project. She spent time shadowing a midwife in Ecuador and analyzed the interactions, experiences, and role of traditional medicine in local community. 

Student: Brynn Furey (SFS’20)

Location: SIT Ecuador (Quito): Comparative Ecology and Conservation

Research Topic: The Giant Rodents of Sumak Allpa: A Preliminary Study of the Ecological Niche of Amazonian Capybaras in Ecuador.

Comments: Brynn spent one month living on an island in the Amazon in which she tracked capybara movements, dietary habits, and overall population interactions to uncover more about the species. This experience gave Brynn first hand experience in field-work which she was so happy to have done.

The Middle East


Student: Sophie Lockwood (COL’20)

Location: SIT Jordan (Amman): Refugees, Health, and Humanitarian Action

Research Topic: Perceptions of Health and the Built Environment.

Comments: While in Jordan, Sophie performed a qualitative and observational study that analyzed the linkage between the “built” environment and health within governmental and non-governmental organizations in Jordan ultimately seeing if these organizations created policy that addressed social issues regarding health. Sophie led this study and worked with a Jordanian researcher conducting field work and interviews.