A 4-credit interdisciplinary field course in Rwanda or Vietnam


  • Dates (2024): May 26-Jun 15 | Jun 16-Jul 6 | Jul 7-27 | Jul 28-Aug 17 | Custom dates (larger student groups)
  • Dates (2025): Dec 29-Jan 18 | May 25-Jun 14 | Jun 15-Jul 5 | Jul 6-26 | Jul 27-Aug 16 | Custom dates (larger student groups)
  • Destinations: Rwanda | Vietnam
  • Credit: 4 U.S. credit hours (~ 8 ECTS credits) for eligible undergraduate university students
  • Eligibility: High school/undergrad/grad/professional - any field and level of study
  • Tuition fees: US $1,036 ($259 per credit hour)
  • Onsite program fees (logistics etc): US $1,790
Course overview
This course allows you to embark on a transformative journey to develop your personal leadership story – and the core competencies that you'll need as a future global change leader for sustainable development. 

Select one of two fascinating destinations in Africa or Asia for a 3-week adventure that not only enables you to acquire the skills, knowledge, and understanding to address the planet's most pressing challenges in a holistic way. Far beyond, it's one of the best ways to dive deep into the life and culture of a community in a very different part of the world. As a member of a small multicultural cohort and hand-in-hand with local peers, you explore six systemic entry point for successful transformations towards sustainable development. 

The course builds on the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) methodology coined by UNESCO. We use an action-oriented and transformational real-life learning approach that is supplemented by engaging virtual instruction. You'll also plan and implement a community-engage learning project together with members of your local host community. 

  • Develop core competencies of global change leaders for sustainable development.
  • Adopt a systemic approach to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Plan, implement, and evaluate a community-engaged sustainable development project.
  • Explore transformations towards sustainable development in a leading African or Asian success story.
  • Broaden your personal and professional network and build lasting international friendships.
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One of today’s greatest development success stories, Rwanda is Africa’s prime study abroad jewel. The country underwent a breathtaking transformation since the 1994 genocide. A model for poverty reduction and economic growth, it accounts for the highest percentage of women in parliament anywhere in the world. And the streets of its modern green capital Kigali are clean, safe, and free of corruption.
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The Asian Dragon is undergoing some of the fastest socio-economic changes any country in the world has seen. It is a major development success story with remarkable rates of economic growth since the start of massive political and economic reforms in 1986. But the lure of modern living has a deep impact on the traditional networks of family and community that continue to play a pivotal role in society.
The purpose of this interdisciplinary hybrid course is to develop core competencies for future global change leaders for sustainable development. It introduces basic concepts, global trends, and local responses to the most pressing challenges of our time under the notion of sustainability and sustainable development, taking into consideration key ethical and cultural dimensions. Students are based at one of our course locations in Rwanda or Vietnam. 

The majority of the introductory content, materials, and assignments are provided via virtual instruction. Students then deepen their understanding through guided action-oriented and transformational real-life learning experiences in their host community as well as through a community-engaged learning project. 

At its core, the course consists of six thematic modules that each focus on a systemic entry point for successful transformations towards sustainable development. These entry points have the potential to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They harness important synergies, multiplier effects, and trade-offs across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The course starts at a gateway city (Kigali or Ho Chi Minh City). After cultural orientations, students study the six thematic modules in a combination of site visits, meetings, and action-oriented coursework. They then travel in cohorts of no more than 20 to a host site, typically consisting of a smaller town, where they spend the second part of their stay to design and implement their community-engaged learning project. The course ends back at the gateway city with reflection time to help students build their personal leadership story.

Further details:

Dates, fees, and scholarships
The program dates are generally identical across all program locations (Rwanda and Vietnam).

Program dates

Application due date

May 26-June 15, 2024 (Summer 1)

April 1, 2024
US $1,036 (tuition) + US $1,790 (onsite)

June 16-July 6, 2024 (Summer 2)

April 1, 2024
US $1,036 (tuition) + US $1,790 (onsite)

July 7-27, 2024 (Summer 3)

June 1, 2024
US $1,036 (tuition) + US $1,790 (onsite)

July 28-Aug 17, 2024 (Summer 4)

June 1, 2024
US $1,036 (tuition) + US $1,790 (onsite)

Dec 29-Jan 18, 2025 (J-term)

Nov 1, 2024
US $1,036 (tuition) + US $1,790 (onsite)

May 25-June 14, 2025 (Summer 1)

April 1, 2025

US $1,036 (tuition) + US $1,790 (onsite)

June 15-July 5, 2025 (Summer 2)

April 1, 2025
US $1,036 (tuition) + US $1,790 (onsite)

July 6-26, 2025 (Summer 3)

June 1, 2025
US $1,036 (tuition) + US $1,790 (onsite)

July 27-Aug 16, 2025 (Summer 4)

June 1, 2025
US $1,036 (tuition) + US $1,790 (onsite)
* Early bird discount (10%) available until February 1 for all summer program dates.

We value full transparency and no hidden costs. As a result, you won’t have any disappointing surprises when you arrive. 

Included in your onsite program fees are airport transfers, housing with breakfast, weekday lunches and welcome/farewell dinners, program-related activities and excursions, program-related local transportation, full-time local coordination, guiding, and support, pre-departure advising, and health insurance. 

It is important that you take note of what is explicitly not included in the program fees. This helps you budget. Not included are the transportation to/from the program location airport (including international airfare and taxes), visas, immunizations, most dinners, excursions that you may want to do in your own time during weekends as well as weekend meals, general items and services of a personal nature, medical expenses not covered by the health insurance provided, and other discretionary expenses. 

In addition, if you want to seek academic credit, your home institution may charge additional fees for study abroad, or may require you to receive a transcript via GEI’s academic school of record, The College of New Jersey, which carries an additional fee of US $125 per credit hour, i.e. US $500 in total for this course. 

GEI offers a variety of merit scholarships, trailblazer scholarships, and opportunity scholarships and grants. You can find further information as well as additional resources for external funding opportunities in the following blog post: Financial Assistance.


Meet our core team

All of our instructors and coordinators are highly experienced and resourceful professionals.

Dr. Michael Grosspietsch, PhD
Course Director

Waleed Fatth, MPH
Senior Instructor
Francoise Uzamukunda, MA
Academic Director, East Africa
Thuy Phan, MA
Academic Director, Southeast Asia
Kari Cousins, MA/MSc
Academic Director, Southern Africa
Yvan Rubengebenge
Operations Manager, Rwanda
Eric Kingoina, DCS
Operations Manager, Kenya
Denyse Iradukunda, BA
Operations, Rwanda
Adeline Imanirakiza, DIS
Operations, Rwanda
Sammy Davies Mochama, BSc
Operations, Kenya
Dang Huynh, BA
Operations Manager, Vietnam

Program timeline

FAQs - General

Where are you located?
We are officially incorporated in New York and headquartered in Berlin. Our GEI Regional Study Centers are located in Kigali (Rwanda), Nairobi (Kenya), Cape Town (South Africa), and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam).
Where do you operate programs?
Our study abroad and internship programs generally focus exclusively on our GEI Regional Study Centers in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and Vietnam. That said, institutional affiliate partners regularly request that we provide their faculty-led and custom programs also in neighboring countries. As such, we have the operational capacity and experience to provide programs across our three regions – in East Africa (Burundi, DR Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda), Southern Africa (Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe), and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam).

FAQs - Application & credits

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to join your programs?
We welcome applicants from all nationalities in our programs. If you seek academic credits or continuing education credits, please make sure that your home institution will accept the (typically U.S.) credits that we offer. More details about credits can be found on our program pages.
Is a deposit required to apply?
Yes, your application is only complete with the payment of a non-refundable deposit payment of US $300 that goes towards your total program fee.
Before I apply, is it possible to contact an alumnus?
Sure, if you’re still looking for answers, we’ll be happy to connect you with one of our alumni.
What kind of credits do you offer?
We have signed a School of Record agreement with The College of New Jersey (TCNJ). Undergraduate student participants of our courses are generally eligible for U.S. credits via TCNJ. You can find more information in the following blog post: Academic Credits.
How much do credits cost?
Credits are not typically included in regular program fees. They typically cost an additional US $125 per U.S. credit hour, payable to us.
How long will it take to receive my transcript?
It can take up to 4 weeks for you or your home university to receive a transcript.

FAQs - Health & Safety

How do you monitor safety and security at your program locations?
The continuous monitoring of safety and security at our program locations has been an intimate part of our daily work since the very beginning of our operations. All of our decisions are made after careful consideration of every resource at our fingertips – our GEI Regional Study Center staff, our diverse in-country institutional partners, contacts in the field, relevant local government and police sources, local diplomatic missions, and a variety of news sources. Our program managers subscribe to various countries’ travel warnings and advisories, including those of the U.S. State Department. Resident managers make every reasonable effort to stay informed, and they disseminate updates to GEI staff and program participants about any changes that have implications on local safety, security, and health risks. And, when necessary, we take immediate action, including program relocation or evacuation.
What does your response to crises look like?
Over the years of operating in Africa and Asia, we have unfortunately been forced to occasionally deal with diverse crises, ranging from civil unrest, terrorist attacks, politically motivated violence, or street crimes to car accidents, public health and medical emergencies, and natural disasters. As terrible and sad as every single one of these events has been, they have strengthened our ability to foresee and prevent many potential problems, and to respond swiftly and decisively to any crisis that really hits us. They have also helped us to develop the networks and relationships to those institutions and individuals who can make the difference in the event of an emergency.
Will you provide health insurance?
Yes. Participants of our study abroad and internship programs receive a comprehensive health insurance that includes evacuation coverage. This is part of the program fees and arranged by GEI.

FAQs - Trip arrangements

Do you help with flights?
No. We are not a travel agent and typically only provide in-country services. Our partners and clients regularly recommend StudentUniverse for affordable international options.
Can I arrive earlier or depart later?
No problem to arrive earlier or depart later. But you will be responsible for covering the added costs. If desirable, please contact us with your travel plans. If we’re able to assist with housing, transportation services, and excursions, we’ll gladly do so. Late arrivals are not permitted, unless previously discussed with GEI.
What are the living arrangements?
Depending on the program and the program location, we offer different types of accommodation: hotels, guest houses, serviced apartments, or homestays. As a general rule, study abroad programs utilize trusted guesthouses in gateway cities and trusted guesthouses, serviced apartments, or homestays in host communities. The latter are particularly applicable to interns. You can find additional information in the following blog post: Accommodation – What to expect.
Do I need a power converter?
Most of the modern electronic devices no longer need power converters. Please check if all your devices can cover the current between 110–230 Volt.
Is there Wi-Fi available?
In gateway cities, we typically select hotels and guesthouses where Wi-Fi is relatively reliable, as long as you take into account that you’ll be staying in a developing country where internet speed can be slow and patchy. Homestay host families don’t always have an internet connection readily available. In such a case, we offer mobile hotspots that you can rent at an additional fee. At the host communities, we’ll make every effort to also provide internet access, even though speed and reliability are likely to be significantly poorer.
Can you accommodate my dietary restrictions?
In the great majority of cases yes! A lot of the participants we host have dietary restrictions or food allergies. Please make sure to let us know in advance – on your application form – precisely what restriction or allergy you have. We will then try our very best to accommodate your needs, whether at a hotel or guesthouse or with a host family or serviced apartment.

FAQs - Finances

Once my deposit is received, does that mean that I'm accepted into the program?
Yes, as long as you're actually eligible for the program in question. Our programs are generally inclusive.
Does my deposit go towards the full price of the program?
Yes, the deposit counts toward your program balance and will hence be deducted from the final payment.
Is my deposit refundable?
No. Your deposit is not refundable. However, should you not be able to join a program, deposits can be stored for one year and used for another GEI program after discussion with your GEI coordinator. Please contact us immediately if you need to cancel your participation.
Does GEI offer scholarships?
Yes. GEI offers a variety of merit scholarships, trailblazer scholarships, and opportunity scholarships and grants. You can find further information as well as additional resources for external funding opportunities in the following blog post: Scholarships & Grants.
How can I finance my experience abroad?
Don’t wait until the last minute to take care of this important point. Various options are possible (scholarships, fellowships, financial aid, grants, or loans) and seeking multiple resources, including from friends and family, may be a very good idea.