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RWANDA - SIT Post-Genocide and Peace-building

Examine the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and that country’s efforts to foster peace, unity, and reconciliation. Travel to northern Uganda to experience everyday life in this post-conflict region, and learn how collective strategies of remembrance are being used to counteract genocide denial.

NOTE: There is a cap on Lake Forest students participating in SIT programs.


To be eligible to participate in this program, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Good academic and judicial standing during time of application AND time of participation in program
  • Undergraduates must have completed at least two semesters of study at Lake Forest College AND have junior status or higher before participation. 
  • At least 18 years of age by the program’s departure date. 
  • Be able to stay at the host program for the duration of the semester, including through the exam and travel periods
  • Minimum GPA of 2.75.  


Study the root causes of the Rwandan genocide and the civil war in northern Uganda.

Visit genocide memorials, museums, a refugee settlement, and commissions working toward reconciliation to examine the social, human, psychological, and economic impacts of genocide; the challenges and opportunities of post-conflict restoration in Rwanda; and the very different post-conflict reconciliation process in northern Uganda.



Learn about economic reconstruction from professionals working in peacebuilding, transitional justice, and development.

Attend lectures by academics and visit NGOs, civil society organizations, and communities affected by conflict.

Study the Kinyarwanda language.

Intensive classroom instruction in Rwanda’s national language is complemented by experiential sessions on shopping, dining out, and Rwandan cooking and music. A basic knowledge of Kinyarwanda is important for understanding Rwandan culture and will help you conduct field research for your Independent Study Project.

Learn the fundamentals of research tools and the ethics of doing research in a post-conflict environment.


The following courses are offered during the program: 

In addition to taking the above courses, students will also need to enroll in one of the following courses: 

Student Life

Spend time in Murchison Falls National Park.

One of Uganda’s primary conservation areas, this is where the Nile cascades through a narrow gorge to become a river populated with hippos and crocodiles, waterbucks, and buffalo. The vegetation is savannah, riverine forest, and woodland. Wildlife includes lions, leopards, elephants, giraffes, hartebeests, oribis, Uganda kobs, chimpanzees, and many bird species.

Examine healing programs for genocide survivors in Rwanda and victims of displacement in northern Uganda.

During a two-week excursion to Uganda, you will compare the issues related to the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda to the ones that led to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

Visit communities working to reconcile and rebuild, and experience everyday life in this post-conflict region.


Housing and Meals

 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. Read more about SIT homestays.

Living for six weeks with a host family in Kigali will help you become immersed in local social and cultural dynamics and give you an inside perspective of life in post-genocide Rwanda. Students often observe and learn from Rwandans’ processes of remembering and forgetting, their strategies of overcoming genocide ideology, and their work towards unity and reconciliation. The homestay is also an important setting to improve Kinyarwanda language skills.

Host families are usually middle class and live throughout Kigali. Host parents work in a variety of professions, including as small business owners, government employees, accountants, lawyers, and doctors. Rwandan families often include many children and other relatives. Some families live in large, single and self-contained houses with a fenced garden, while others have smaller homes with outdoor bathrooms and cooking facilities. Soccer and church are important to many Rwandan families. You will typically take public transportation to class, which provides you with a good sense of direction and orientation within the city as well as better insight into the local culture.

Kigali is a medium-sized, modern city that shows clear signs of a successful recovery from the devastating impact of the 1994 genocide. However, parts of the city also reflect the poor living conditions many Rwandans still endure. Kigali stretches across many hills that provide breathtaking views of the city and the surrounding valleys. The city is home to commissions, organizations, and government bodies, as well as a major genocide memorial and information center.

Other accommodations during the program include hostels, guest houses, or small hotels.

Financial Information

For all approved programs for guaranteed financial aid transferability, students pay their Lake Forest College tuition plus a program fee.  The program fee covers housing, some meals, excursions, field trips, and insurance.

Here is an estimated budget for the Fall 2018/Spring 2019 programs:

Budget Item


Lake Forest College Tuition


Program fee (estimated)

Note: Spring may have added cost


Total Expected Billed by Lake Forest College


Estimated Airfare


Estimated Personal Expenses (passport, visas, immunizations, textbooks, supplies, personal expenses, additional national insurance if required, travel insurance, additional travel etc.)


Total Expected Out-of-Pocket Expenses




Tuition rates and program fees are subject to change each year, but this information was up-to-date as of February 2018. We will notify applicants, and update this page if the program fee or other estimates change.

You can discuss with Financial Aid your specific aid package and your expected family contribution.

Keep in mind that you may spend more or less in certain areas like personal expenses, travel, meals, or airfare, depending on exchange rates and your own spending habits. Classroom or lab fees are not included in this estimate and will depend on your course registration choices.  

Don’t forget to apply for scholarships! A great listing can be found here.  

  • Contact:

    For Questions About the Initial Application Process:

    Alexandra Olson
    Coordinator of the Global Engagement Office