A 10-credit certificate to develop skills, knowledge, and understanding that prepare you for leadership and engagement in our global society.


  • Summer or custom (blended learning, with 7+ weeks abroad)
  • Available study abroad destinations: Kenya | Rwanda | South Africa | Vietnam
  • Credit: 10 U.S. credit hours (~ 20-24 ECTS credits) for eligible university students
  • Eligibility: Undergraduate - any field and level of study
Course overview
Globalization in the 21st century has reshaped virtually all facets of human life and the pace of change in our interconnected world has become faster than we ever imagined. As such, it is ever more crucial that we have the competencies that empower us to navigate the challenges and become change leaders.

GEI’s Global Engagement Certificate is designed to help students develop skills, knowledge, and understanding to prepare them for leadership and engagement in our global society. We use an interdisciplinary approach and a unique combination of coursework and co-curricular experiences, both online and onsite at our program locations in Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, and Vietnam.

The Certificate is open to all learners, with elements tailored for different audiences, including high school students, university students, and professionals. University credits are available for undergraduate university students.

  • 4 foundation modules
  • 1 online asynchronous course
  • 1 international field course (3 weeks) in Rwanda or Vietnam
  • 1 international community field experience or internship (4 weeks) in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, or Vietnam
  • Digital portfolio with key reflection opportunities
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Known for its breathtaking landscapes and wildlife as well as its rich cultural heritage, Kenya is increasingly establishing itself as a beacon of innovation on the global stage. From groundbreaking fintech solutions in Nairobi’s Silicon Savannah to innovative agricultural practices transforming rural communities, Kenya is at the cutting edge of technological advancement and entrepreneurial spirit.
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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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South Africa - often referred to as 'The World in One Country' - is not only known for its natural beauty, historical depth, and vibrant culture. It also aspires to be one of the leaders of the Global South and increasingly engages on the global stage as the undisputed African political and economic powerhouse.
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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.
In order to obtain the Certificate in Global Engagement, participants have to complete three courses and compile a digital portfolio as the culminating capstone of the program.

The first of the courses is an online asynchronous course that sets the thematic background for the Certificate. Participants can choose from a list of discipline-specific and interdisciplinary course options (currently, global health, social entrepreneurship, global engineering, global mental health, global education, and sustainable development). The course is self-paced and participants should expect at least one full week of full-time study plus assignments. Additionally, participants undergo virtual foundation modules on cultural intelligence training, core competencies of global change leaders, the cultures of GEI program locations, and an introduction to international internships and community field experiences.

The second of the courses is a 3-week study abroad experience in the form of an international field course, currently available in Rwanda and Vietnam. Its goal is to empower the participants to develop 8 core competencies of global change leaders. The academic focus is an interdisciplinary field study of 6 thematic entry points to global transformations in sustainable development:

  • Human wellbeing and capabilities
  • Sustainable and just economies
  • Food systems and nutrition
  • Energy decarbonization and universal access
  • Urban and peri-urban development
  • Global environmental commons

The third of the courses is a 4-week international community field experience or internship in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, or Vietnam. A community field experience is a practical cohort-based project where students team up with community hosts to develop solutions to real-world challenges or engage in clinical or shadowing activities. Upon request, we also provide customized internship placements in suitable local host organizations.

Currently available options:
  • Community public health (Rwanda, South Africa, Vietnam)
  • Social entrepreneurship (Rwanda, South Africa)
  • Engineering in community service (South Africa, Vietnam)
  • Community mental health (Rwanda)
  • Education for sustainable development (Rwanda)
  • Clinical experience in nursing or health sciences (Rwanda, Vietnam)
  • Teach abroad (Rwanda, Vietnam)
  • Pre-veterinary shadowing (Kenya)
  • Wildlife management (Kenya)
  • Custom internship or clinical internship (Rwanda, Vietnam)

The digital portfolio is an opportunity to help participants document their accomplishments in a structured way and to synthesize their learning. They compile portfolio artefacts as they complete different Certificate requirements. As final components, they will include a culminating reflective essay and provide a 20-minute portfolio presentation to their peers.

Further details:

Dates, fees, and scholarships

Program dates

Application due date


Summer 2024 (8 weeks): June 3-July 26
Fall 2024 (15 weeks): August 26-Dec 6
Spring 2025 (15 weeks): January 27-May 9
Summer 2025 (8 weeks): June 2-July 25

Custom options may be available, especially since it's possible to complete the Certificate with only 7 weeks abroad.

Summer 2024: April 1
Fall 2024: July 1
Spring 2025: December 1
Summer 2025: April 1

For custom options, we accept applications on a rolling basis at any time of the year.

Summer (8 weeks): US $7,450
Semester (15 weeks): US $12,284

Custom options:
- Tuition: US $387/credit hour
   (US $3,870-4,644 total)
- Onsite program fee (field course): US $1,790
- Onsite program fee (internship): US $1,790
- Additional onsite weeks: US $580/week

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

Included in your program fees are:

  • Tuition
  • Online asynchronous course
  • Field course: 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 
  • Internship: Airport transfers, housing with breakfast, 2 days of cultural orientation (with meals and entrance fees), placement, full-time local coordination and support, pre-departure advising, and health insurance
  • Additional onsite weeks: Housing with breakfast, 24/7 emergency support, health insurance, optional events and cultural activities

It is important that you take note of what is explicitly not included in the program fees. This helps you budget.

  • Field course: 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.
  • Internship: Not included are the transportation to/from the program location airport (including international airfare and taxes), visas, immunizations, meals and local transportation other than what’s included in your accommodation, excursions that you may want to do in your own time during weekends, general items and services of a personal nature, medical expenses not covered by the 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.

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.


Meet our core team

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

Dr. Michael Grosspietsch, PhD
Program Director & Global Instructor

Waleed Fatth, MPH
Program Coordinator & Global Instructor
Jonathan George, MA
Global Instructor
Cailin Human, MBA
Global 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
Espoir Baraka, BA
Operations, Rwanda
Sammy Davies Mochama, BSc
Operations, Kenya
Mabwe Gwamure, BSc
Operations, South Africa
Dang Huynh, BA
Operations, 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.