GEI Scholarships & Grants

Participating in a GEI study or internship abroad program transforms lives, develops competencies as global change leaders for sustainable development, and improves employability. We have the strong desire to increase access to our programs and therefore commit more than $1 million in scholarships and grants over the next three years.
 
When you submit your program application, you will automatically be considered for the scholarships and grants for which you qualify, or you will be given the opportunity to apply.
 
The following GEI scholarships and grants are available:

 

Merit scholarships
Our programs are about developing competencies for future change leaders for sustainable development. If you believe that you already show great potential as a change leader, we may have a scholarship for you worth up to $500. Several dozen of these scholarships are available each year for the most promising future change leaders participating either in our 3-week field course or a 4+ week sustainability internship. The process is simple: Within one week of having been accepted to our program, we welcome your application in the form of an informal cover letter (no more than 500 words) that demonstrates your potential as a change leader.

 

Trailblazer scholarships
We cherish our relationships with our international institutional partners. As a result, applicants who are among the first two students from their home institution to ever attend a GEI field course or sustainability internship automatically receive a $500 scholarship each. No formal application is needed.

 

Opportunity scholarships and grants
Increasing access to our programs is particularly important for students from more economically disadvantaged parts of the world. To remove the big barriers to participation, we automatically consider students for the following awards relating to our 3-week field course:

  • Low- and lower-middle income economy scholarships: Applicants who are both citizens and residents of a low-income or a lower-middle income economy as per the current World Bank definition automatically receive a $500 scholarship. No formal application is needed. Contact us if you believe you qualify.
  • Host country scholarships: Applicants who are both citizens and residents of the host country of a particular program of ours (i.e., typically in either Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, or Vietnam) may be eligible for a scholarship of up to the full program fees. This scholarship is available for each 3-week field course that we operate, on a first-come, first-served basis. No formal application is needed. Contact us if you believe you qualify.
  • Host country travel subsidies: Applicants who are both citizens and residents of the host country of a particular program of ours and who have been awarded a host country scholarship may also be eligible for an additional host country travel subsidy to offset some of their logistics costs directly related to their program participation, such as local transportation. Contact us if you believe you qualify.

 

External (non-GEI) scholarships
Numerous external (non-GEI) scholarships and other funding opportunities are available, including, but not limited to, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, the Fund for Education Abroad, the Boren Awards for International Study, the Golden Key International Honour Society, or the Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant.
 
Other websites provide numerous additional funding opportunities, such as IEFA, Diversity Abroad, Go Overseas, or GoAbroad.
 
Additionally, we strongly recommend talking to your on-campus financial aid office since they can provide you with additional information and ideas relating to your university’s available financial aid and outside funding.

Academic Credits

Students have the possibility to earn recognition for the time spent studying abroad with GEI and make it count toward graduation. Find out below the different options available:

 

Home institution
If you are required or encouraged to take an internship or field course abroad for your degree program, GEI can help you coordinate with your home university. It is essential that you work with your university Academic Advisor to confirm how many credits you can receive for a field course or internship with GEI. We are happy to share more detailed syllabi to you and your advisors.
 
School of Record
If you cannot earn academic credit directly through your college or university, you can enroll with GEI for up to 8 transfer credits. Upon successful completion of the program, you will receive a transcript from our School of Record, The College of New Jersey.
 
Our programs appear on your transcript as 300-level undergraduate courses, under Community Field Experience.
 
In 2017, The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and GEI partnered to develop a school of record relationship that will allow academic experiential credit to be available for both TCNJ and non-TCNJ students. The College of New Jersey is a public university, with a strong liberal arts focus, and seen as one of the most selective institutions in the Northeast region. TCNJ is a pioneer in developing impactful projects to engage its students and the surrounding communities to foster economic and social growth.
 
During the last step of the GEI application, you will be asked whether or not you wish to register for credit for your program. While there is an additional fee for the credit, it is typically less expensive than at your home institution.

  • Option 1: Summer field course (3 weeks) or internship (4 weeks), 4 Credits, $500
  • Option 2: Semester internship, 8 Credits, $1,000

 
No academic credit
We welcome enrolled students and already graduated participants in our programs. You don’t need to receive credit to join a course. If you’re still in school, we recommend you checking with your advisor before applying, as some institutions require credit for any study abroad programs.

 

Credit transfer
Are you looking for credit-bearing courses abroad? With our Field Courses and Internships, students earn undergraduate credits upon successful completion of the program. You can earn up to 4 credits for summer courses and internships while semester-length internships offer 8 credits, through our School of Record.
 
Procedure
Once you have completed your last assignment and submitted it to your GEI Academic Advisor, we transfer your grades to our School of Record, The College of New Jersey. A transcript will be sent to your home institution approximately within two months after the program’s end. A grade report can also be sent to the student’s home address unless we are instructed otherwise in writing.
 
Conditions
Make sure to meet with your Study Abroad Advisor before applying to our credit-bearing courses. It will help you to better understand your home university’s policy and process regarding credit transfer. You might find out that it is even possible to integrate the study abroad experience with a particular course offered at your school, which will significantly reduce paperwork.
 
Please note that credits earned through our programs are transferrable only at the discretion of the receiving university. You will probably need prior approval by your Advisor in order to transfer credits earned through study abroad.

GEI Homestays: What to expect?

Since many students ask us what a homestay experience is really like, we’ve asked a recent Rwanda intern from Georgetown University, Siddharth Muchhal, to share his thoughts. Here is what he says:

 

Sidd, tell us more about why you came to Rwanda this summer?
This summer, I had the opportunity to intern at Akazi Kanoze Access, a youth development NGO in Kigali, Rwanda. Initially, I was considering finding an apartment with my colleague, so that we could have our own place. But before this summer, I had never been to Africa, much less Rwanda, and had very little understanding of how life was like there. So, on the advice of my fellowship at Georgetown, I signed up for a GEI Homestay program. Now that my experience is over, I can safely say that this is one of the best decisions I made!

 

How was your experience with your host family?
I was connected with my host Judith a few weeks before I landed in Kigali. Instantly, she provided answers to all the questions I asked – “Will I have my own bathroom?” (yes!) Can I cook in the kitchen as well? (yes!) Are there any kids? (only the most amazing ones!!). This helped me feel more comfortable.
 
In the first few days I was in Kigali, Judith was so kind to help me start making a network of friends, by introducing us to her own friends and colleagues. She was fun-loving and always wanted to hear how my day went, which was surprisingly helpful. Perhaps the best part of having Judith as my host was that she was responsive and flexible. If I had a concern about food or shopping or anything, or if I wanted to have some friends stay over, she was more than happy to accommodate.
 
Actually, I lied – the best part were the kids! Carmen, the 8 year-old girl, and Carro, the 4-year old boy, were my host siblings for my time in Rwanda, and they were the best! With all of the games we played and mini-arguments we had, they made me feel like I was truly a part of the family, not just a guest. I love them and already miss them so much!!

 

How were the house and your room?
Judith’s house is in Kimihurura, a central, safe, and expat-heavy neighborhood in Kigali. It is right next to Waka Fitness, the best gym in Kigali (though it was quite pricey, I went basically every day after work), and some great places to meet up with people, like a sports club, a bar, and an art studio that was the most exciting place to watch World Cup matches!
 
The house itself was spacious and comfortable. There was a beautiful backyard (with a trampoline!) that had a fantastic view of the city, and we ate breakfast there everyday. My room was also quite spacious, with plenty of cabinets and drawers for all my things. My colleague and I shared one bathroom between our two rooms, and it was fine, except there was no curtain for the shower so I got weirdly used to looking at myself in the mirror while showering.
 
Judith also has a security guard, a housemaid, and a cook, whom all made my experience a lot better. The housemaid and cook didn’t speak any English, so communication became a fun game of hand signals, mouth gestures, and certain Kinyarwanda phrases. One of my biggest fears coming into Rwanda was that, as a vegetarian, I would have very few options. This seemed to be coming true in the first few weeks because the cook kept making the same meal with rice and beans for every dinner. However, after I showed Judith some other recipes, the cook also adapted and made a larger variety of food. It made me feel a lot better.
 
I must admit though, there were some difficulties. The Wi-Fi was often unreliable. Once, it went out for an entire weekend when I had an article due so I found myself at a nightclub at 3am trying to send an email. Because of the electricity credit system in Rwanda, the light often went out when the credit was empty. If Judith wasn’t home, we would be stuck without electricity. This system led me to packing entirely in candlelight the night before I left Rwanda.
 
But, apart from these small inconveniences, I was blessed to live in Judith’s home!

 

What did you do in your free time?
After work most days, I went to Waka Fitness. Then, I would try to go explore one of the many things on my Rwanda To-Do List, whether it be museums, cafes, or clubs. Kigali itself is a small but rapidly growing city with a significant expat community, so I found some spots that became my go-to places. On Mondays, a restaurant called Soleluna held ‘Trivia Night,’ which we only attended once after coming in last place! On Tuesdays, Mamba Club held volleyball night. I started playing regularly with people originating from Japan, France, India, and USA, along with locals. On Thursdays, Inema Art Center held a happy hour, where a lot of expats and young students from around town came to hang out. This was a great place for me to start making friends. (Check out livinginkigali.com for reviews on all the best places in Kigali!)
 
All of this was possible because I felt safe in Kigali, always. No matter what time of day it was or where I was, I never seriously was concerned for my personal safety. Obviously, one should play it safe and bring trusted friends. But I always felt safe to explore, or walk home by myself from a nearby cafe at night.
 
On the weekends, my friends and colleagues and I took advantage of the amazing and stunning beauty of Rwanda through its national parks. Through ‘A Step Into Nature,’ we got a package deal for these trips that made it really affordable and fun. We visited Akagera National Park (a 6-hour safari), Nyungwe National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and Lake Kivu, each of which was stunning in their own way. I climbed one of the highest peaks in Rwanda, Mount Bisoke (a recently active volcano), swam in the pristine Lake Kivu, and enjoyed the beauty of the Nyungwe Waterfall, not to mention the Akagera landscape. While the most popular tourist aspect of Rwanda is the gorilla, that was slightly above our budget. Instead, we took a long weekend to visit Nairobi, Kenya, and went on the world-famous Masai Mara Safari.

 

What would you recommend to prospective future interns?
For anyone thinking of working in Kigali, or really any place that they have not explored before, I’d say go for it! This is the time in our lives when we can stretch our comfort zone and career opportunities as far and wide as possible. My decision to live in Rwanda was a great way for me to do so.
 
In these vastly new environments, I had to learn how to make good friends quickly. Everyone in Rwanda was friendly, but because I had no other levels of reference or networking, I had to start deciding for myself who would be a good crowd to spend time with. This was a very important life lesson.
 
From this experience, especially the excursions, I also learned what’s really important to pack in your back. Whenever we went to a new place, I focused on five things: a source of water (bottles), a source of food (nuts, granola bars, chips), a source of medicine (band-aids, painkillers), a source of communication (phone), and a source of entertainment (a book, music, etc.). For overnight trips, this list would get lengthened to clothes and toothbrushes, but I really learned to prioritize.
 
Each study abroad experience is unique and personal in its own way, and I was lucky to have an experience that truly engaged me in every way. Thanks to GEI and my homestay family, I was able to make the best of my time in Rwanda in a summer that I will never forget.

Accommodation: What to expect?

This post tells you more about the types of accommodation that we typically use on our programs.

 

Hotel, Guesthouse, Serviced apartment, Homestay
According to the student program or destination, we offer different types of accommodation. You will find below what to expect if you choose to stay in a simple hotel, guesthouse, serviced apartment or homestay.
 
All accommodation suppliers that work with us are required to meet rigorous standards for quality, safety and cleanliness, so you will always stay in safe, clean and comfortable rooms, wherever you go.

 

Hotel & Guest House
You will stay in a 2- to 3-star property, with a relatively central position, close to grocery stores and public transports. It is a simple hotel or guest house where most rooms have a private bathroom (except for some properties in Rwanda). You will be automatically placed in a twin room with another student of the same gender. If you’re traveling with a friend, you can request to stay in the same room. Besides, students may upgrade their room type to Double or Single at an additional cost.
 
Amenities & services:

  • Wi-Fi
  • Wardrobe and desk
  • Fan or air conditioning
  • Breakfast
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Laundry services at an additional cost
  • Private fridge or shared in the main kitchen (depending on destination)

 
Serviced apartment
They are furnished apartments available for short or long-term rental. From studio apartments located in the heart of the city centre to large house in the suburban area. This type of accommodation is available for students staying minimum 4 weeks in country.
 
Amenities & services:

  • Wi-Fi
  • Fan or air conditioning
  • Weekly housekeeping
  • Laundry services at an additional cost
  • Fully equipped kitchen
  • Fresh towels and bed linen each week

 
Homestay
The host family welcomes you as a member of theirs and you are therefore invited to behave as if you were part of the family and not as a tourist or guest. According to your preferences, you will be staying with a local family, vetted by GEI, which means that their house is located in a safe neighbourhood with public transports within ten minutes’ walk and grocery stores nearby. Usually, families can host two or three students at the same time, if in twin rooms, so you can stay there with a friend.
At least one female member of the family lives permanently in the household and at least one member of the family is fluent in English.

 
Amenities & services:

  • Wi-Fi (speed and availability might vary depending on destination)
  • Private lockable bedroom equipped with, among others, a bed, a desk and a wardrobe
  • Fresh towels and bed linen each week
  • Access to a bathroom. Some households in Africa might not have hot running water though, you will then be provided with a bucket and boiled water.
  • Daily local breakfast
  • Family dinner five times a week (depending on destination)

Stories from Abroad – Doan Quang Huy

It is an important GEI policy to offer scholarships to outstanding local students and hence enable them to join our international programs. Doan Quang Huy, a business student at the University of Economics in Ho Chi Minh City, benefited from this initiative and was able to participate in a recent Social Innovation Lab field course in Vietnam. Here he writes about his experiences:

 

Doan Quang Huy
The opportunity to join the course was an amazing experience for me. We were assigned to work with a Vietnamese IT company and help them find solutions for real business challenges. In the beginning, we benefited from various introductory lectures and received important theoretical background. This helped us to understand the general business environment and the immense opportunities for technology companies in Vietnam. We also studied concepts such as Big Data and learned about the process of design thinking. This theoretical foundation was invaluable for the business challenges that we then went on to solve as a team.
 
In addition to technical knowledge, the course gave me a precious chance to work hand in hand with great new friends from other countries and enhance my soft skills. Based on honesty, openness and respect, we were quickly getting to know each other and forming nice friendships. Each team member was valued as a critical thinker, and I learned how to persuade them, sell my ideas and also listen to other opinions.
 
I particularly valued certain character traits that I observed in some of my team members. Students from Turkey, for example, have a very straightforward, persuasive and respectful attitude. We were all made aware that communicating effectively in a multicultural environment is a key to success for future global leaders.
 
We also had a lot of fun! Various extra-curricular activities aimed at enriching our experience. We exchanged our culture, tried to speak each other’s languages and pointed out differences between typical European, American and Vietnamese behaviors. As a result, we became more understanding and respectful of diversity.
 
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my participation in this course and believe that it opened my eyes in many ways. Most importantly, I have learned to step out of my comfort zone. I am grateful to GEI and my international team members for having given me such a great chance to broaden my horizon, and I will keep many unforgettable memories.