Diversity is an important component of SIT’s mission. At SIT Study Abroad, we seek to engage students with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Diversity can encompass ethnicity, physical ability, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, geographic representation and other life-experiences that enable an individual to uniquely contribute to his or her peer group. In addition to valuing diversity among our students, we also strive to create a staff that is representative of the larger world in which we work. Our academic directors include many foreign nationals and individuals with extremely varied backgrounds—from ethnomusicologists to veterinarians. We also employ many local citizens as lecturers, facilitators, program assistants, and other supporting staff. These host-country nationals provide vital connections and insight into the communities where our students study and live. The range of their personal and academic experiences enhances their commitment to fostering an atmosphere of understanding, learning, and growth for each and every student. To achieve our mission, SIT Study Abroad offers scholarship funds for students who demonstrate financial need and whose participation will broaden the perspectives and collective background of our student body. In addition to SIT institutional funds, we continually seek foundation and other outside funding to help us increase financial assistance to all students. The most recent developments include relationships with public institutions and with Historically Black Colleges and Universities. SIT Study Abroad believes that the best learning environment is created when diverse individuals and ideas come together in an environment of dialogue and respect. In this regard, we strive to introduce our students to a wide range of perspectives within our host countries and communities, as well as within the larger thematic areas that our programs examine.