Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, was founded in the 9th century BCE as the ancient city of Carthage and it has played an important commercial and cultural role throughout its Phoenician, Ancient Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Ottoman, and French colonial periods. Today, Tunis is home to more than 600,000 people, mostly Muslims of Arab ethnicity, along with small Berber, Jewish, Roman Catholic, and Protestant communities.
While a relatively small country, Tunisia’s geography is rich and varied, ranging from the Mediterranean Sea to the Sahara desert, with mountains, woodlands, semi-arid plains, vineyards, and olive groves. Most Tunisians speak both Arabic and French, with increasing numbers also comfortable in English, German, or Italian.
About the Program
The Tunis, Tunisia program is offered through Hobart and William Smith Colleges' affiliation with the School for International Training (SIT), an organization that has placed U.S. students in rigorous, highly specialized programs throughout the world for decades. HWS students will join other students from colleges throughout the U.S. to share coursework, excursions, and the study of place. A unique feature of the program is that students will design and carry out, in consultation with faculty, an independent field study project in a broad range of academic areas that connect to the themes of migration, regional politics, and religion. A three-week excursion to Italy provides insight into migrant life and social identity.
All students will enroll in three courses (including Arabic or French language) PLUS the independent field study project or internship for a total of 4 HWS credits. A detailed description of the course and the full academic program is available here:
This program will be of particular interest to those studying anthropology, international relations, gender studies, political science, religious studies, social justice, and sociology. It is ideal for students with a concentration in Middle Eastern Studies.
This program is open to juniors and seniors (sophomores may be considered in exceptional cases) in good academic and social standing with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Due to the challenging nature of study abroad, and this location in particular, student academic and disciplinary records will be carefully screened. Preference in admission will be given to students who have already undertaken one or more courses in Middle Eastern studies. All admitted students will be required to take an additional Middle East content course prior to departure for Tunisia and encouraged to study Arabic or French.
Students will participate in a six-week homestay in greater Tunis, providing an opportunity to develop language skills and experience daily life in Tunisia. Those completing Independent Study Projects or internships in Tunis may extend their homestay by four weeks. Other accommodations include hostels or independent apartments while on excursion to Italy.
A centerpiece of this program is a three-week excursion based in Palermo, the capital of Sicily, Italy. Students will visit a variety of locations including Taormina, Bagheria, and Catania, in the shadow of Mt. Etna. Sicily boasts a remarkable historical past that includes Punic, Greek, Roman, Arab, Norman, and Spanish civilizations, a crossroads of world cultures.
Students will be charged standard HWS tuition and fees plus a $600 administrative fee. This will cover tuition for a four-course semester, health insurance, and all program-related activities and excursions. Note that no room and board charge is included. Students will pay room and board fees directly to SIT.
Additional expenses not covered include airfare, books, visa, immunizations, and personal expenses (laundry, entertainment, ground transportation and independent travel). We estimate airfare for this program at $1200-$1400 from the East Coast, books at $200, and immunizations at $300. It is difficult to give an accurate estimate of personal expenses because student spending habits differ considerably. We would suggest a minimum of $1200 above and beyond meal and accommodation expenses. However, students on a tight budget should be able to manage with less. If you are concerned about finances, we strongly encourage you to talk to the CGE staff who can offer information and advice based on our specific situation.
HWS students must complete all components of the Global Education application in order to be considered for admission to this program.
- This program is offered every Fall semester.
- All components of the application must be submitted online by the published deadline. Specific deadline dates are set each semester and typically will be in late September/early October (for Fall programs) and late February/early March (for Spring programs).
IMPORTANT: The handbook(s) below is/are the most recent handbook(s) published for this program. A new version, with updated information, will be made available each semester. Program participants will receive their updated handbook approximately 2-3 months prior to their program’s start date.
Fall Handbook (COMING SOON)
Please DO NOT MAKE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS until you have received final confirmation of the program start/finish dates for the specific semester you are attending. Dates included in versions of the program handbook intended for previous semesters do not necessarily apply to future programs.
NOTE: The information above is subject to change. Please see the CGE for more information.
Resources for Smart Travelers
Rick Steve's Packing Tips!