Overview | Academics | Cost | Location | Life Abroad | Student Voices
As of Fall 2012, the UW-Madison study abroad program in Tunisia has been suspended until further notice.
Offered through the School for International Training (SIT), the Tunisia: Emerging Identities in North Africa program is co-sponsored by UW-Madison. This unique and immersing study abroad program gives students the chance to study Arabic or French while examining issues of identity, culture, and globalization in a multicultural context. Strategically situated at the tip of North Africa, with close ties to Europe and deep roots in the African and Arab worlds, Tunisia has long been a cosmopolitan, cross-cultural location.
Based in the cosmopolitan and Mediterranean location of Tunisia's capital city, this program offers students the opportunity to: Examine conflicts between modernity and tradition in Tunisian and Arab culture, learn or advance language skills in Modern Standard Arabic or French, and learn from Tunis University academics, civil society leaders, artists, and NGO activists. Students live with Tunisian host families for the first 7 weeks with the opportunity to extend the home-stay for the final 4 weeks or relocate to another project appropriate city or site.
The SIT Tunisia program is located in the new capital city of Tunis. With a population of more than 1.2 million, the city is the largest in Tunisia, students have the opportunity to experience what it means to live in cosmopolitan Tunisia. Tunis is situated on a large gulf of the Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Tunis.
Students who choose to study abroad on the SIT Tunisia program are granted the opportunity to study at the intersection of Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Tunisia is the most Mediterranean country in North Africa in terms of lifestyle and culture. Not to mention, the Mediterranean climate which experiences hot summers and mild, rainy winters.
This location provides an ideal setting for students to study the factors driving the emergence of new identities and the multifaceted forces-both local and global-shaping contemporary social movements across North Africa. Students are challenged to identify both the manifest and discrete cultural phenomena shaping Tunisian and Arab identity.
Getting to Your Program
Participants are responsible for arranging round-trip transportation to the program site.
A student visa is required. U.S. citizens must have a U.S. passport valid for at least six months beyond the end of the program. SIT will provide you with visa information.
OrientationIAP expects you to be an active participant in preparing yourself for your study abroad experience. As a participant on an IAP program, you will receive a pre-departure orientation, either in-person or online. The type and format of this orientation will vary by program and will be provided to you upon acceptance to the program.
After arrival in Tunisia, SIT staff will offer on-site orientation.
HousingStudents will live for the first 7 weeks of the program with a host family in the northern suburbs of the capital city of Tunis. Homestay communities range from the centuries-old La Marsa neighborhood, once a suburb of ancient Carthage, to neighborhoods such as El Menzah, a garden city designed in the 1950s. If cultural issues or family structural conflict arise, there are safe and comfortable alternative housing available in a dormitory-style arrangement. During the final 4 weeks of the program, students may extend home stay if ISP project is conducted in Tunis. Otherwise, hostels, research institutions, or small hotels may be utilized during this time.
Excursions and Activities
The program includes two week-long excursions designed for students to explore both Northern and Southern Regions of Tunisia in addition to several smaller excursions exploring areas inside or closer to Tunis. The northern excursion includes visits to Bizerta and Tabarka, and the southern excursion offers trips to Kairawan and the Sahara and even visits to the island of Djerba.
Through excursions, students are given the ability to contemplate the "commodification" of local culture by mass tourism, the geographic and human diversity of Tunisia's different regions and the way the country's tourism industry has exploited this diversity. Because excursions and activities are held throughout the entire country, students are exposed to Tunisia's extraordinary historic riches. And the southern excursion allows deep reflection and understanding of the impact of mass tourism on Sahara and oases lifestyles.
Trips around Tunis include visiting Carthage; the Bardo archeological museum; Tunis' historic medina; Nabeul, Tunisia's ceramics capital; and Hammamet, a popular holiday resort.
You will be enrolled in the UW System required health insurance through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) and the cost of the insurance coverage is included in program fees.
On-site Academic Director and Assistant Academic Director
Returned Student Network
to see testimonials from students abroad or to contact a returned student.
"I gained a view of everyday life, but the homestay also helped me adapt. I used my host family as a resource for discussing adjustment issues and culture shock and talking with them helped me feel more comfortable. My host family gave me a feeling of constancy and made the transition to living in Tunisia not just easier, but also so much more enjoyable. By the time I boarded my airplane home, I no longer felt like a tourist in Tunisia; I had established friendships and connections that I value to this day."
Students take a 3-credit intensive Modern Standard Arabic or French course at their proficiency level as well as two interdisciplinary 3-credit seminar courses examining Western-style capitalism, increased globalization, and the social, economic, and political development of Tunisia. Students also complete a 3-credit Research methods and Ethics course and a 4-credit independent study project. The independent study project may be conducted in Tunis or another approved location appropriate to project. Sample topic areas: role of the hijab in contemporary Tunisian society; political cartoons; identity formation through Islamic education; Arab views on national press; gender and news bias; governance and youth empowerment; Arab reality TV; the novel as a means of cultural expression; malls and social change; homosexuality in Islam.
Students participate in a variety of research and cultural activities throughout their time in Tunisia and learn from academics, entrepreneurs, artists, indigenous craftspeople, and host families.
Program Web Page(s)
SIT program in Tunisia
Use the links below to see a list of courses that students have taken on this program before and the UW equivalents. Note: this list only includes pre-approved courses for your program and may not be an exhaustive list of courses or departments. You will get instructions on the course equivalent process after acceptance.
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