Are you passionate about emotional wellbeing and would like to learn more about the combined skills of mindfulness and self-compassion (MSC)? Do you wish to cultivate self-compassion skills for daily life? Have you dreamed of immersing yourself in a unique culture in Africa or Asia and engaging deeply with local and international colleagues? Would you like to be part of helping local clinicians and professionals to experience more of MSC and to support them in learning to share the program and the practices with the people most in need of it in their community?
The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (CMSC) and GEI invite professionals and students interested in Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) to join a unique training retreat. International delegations travel to a developing country in Africa or Asia to engage with local professionals and enjoy an MSC intensive course. Every person who signs up to attend, will allow two local people to also participate in the program, thereby meeting the main pre-requisite for attending MSC Teacher Training in the future. Our destinations include Vietnam and Kenya.

The program has been approved by the University of California – San Diego Center for Mindfulness for APA CE Credit. For more details regarding the credit specifications, please click here to read more.

  • Learn to practice mindfulness and self-compassion in daily life.
  • Understand the current scientific research underlying the skill and attitude of self-compassion.
  • Gain invaluable intercultural competence relevant to your profession.
  • Share your knowledge and gain cultural insight through a unique African or Asian perspective on emotional wellbeing.
  • Benefit from the professional exchange with other participants and local colleagues.
  • Support the inclusion of local clinicians and individuals in the program, in order to actively enhance MSC skills in other cultures.
  • Add your personal piece to a growing global network of professionals and benefit from its connections.
  • Explore an exciting destination in a meaningful way and immerse yourself in the culture of your hosts, while supporting the local community.

What’s Included?

The following in-country arrangements are included in the experience:

  • All accommodation in shared mid-range hotel rooms (single rooms available at an additional cost)
  • All in-country transportation for the delegation
  • Meals, as specified in the itinerary, each including one nonalcoholic drink
  • Admission to all activities, as specified in the itinerary
  • MSC intensive course
  • Mineral water available during transportation
  • Full-time local delegation management and guiding
  • 24/7 emergency support from our local program office


What’s Not?

Not included are the international transport (flights, airport taxes, etc.), visas, travel and medical insurance, selected meals, alcoholic and additional nonalcoholic drinks, personal expenses, and other extras.

Program Background

The Center for Mindful Self-Compassion (CMSC) was originally founded in 2012 in the USA by the developers of MSC, Christopher Germer, PhD, and Kristin Neff, PhD. CMSC is an international nonprofit organization – a vibrant center for the learning, teaching and practice of self-compassion worldwide. CMSC’s vision is to contribute to a more compassionate world through cultivating deep understanding and personal practice of self-compassion. We believe that mindfulness and self-compassion are basic human capacities that can be cultivated to support well-being and reduce suffering in the world. We want to cultivate an inclusive, caring and multi-cultural community that allows individuals to thrive, and foster a professional global community in service of self-compassion and compassion.

Mindful Self-Compassion can be learned – more correctly, remembered – by anyone. It is one essential foundation of emotional healing – being aware in the present moment when we’re struggling with feelings of inadequacy, despair, confusion, and other forms of stress (mindfulness) and responding with kindness and understanding (self-compassion), aware that all human beings experience similar emotions and that we are all interconnected in this (common humanity). Mindful self-compassion also means holding difficult emotions – fear, anger, sadness, shame and self- doubt – and ourselves, in loving awareness, leading to greater ease and well- being in our daily lives. It’s the practice of cultivating an attitude of good will toward ourselves, cultivating the same desire that all living beings wish to live happily and free from suffering.

MSC Intensive is an intensive format of the full eight-session MSC curriculum, usually consisting of an introductory evening, four full days of training, and a final morning of training and closing. Intensives are primarily taught by Certified MSC teachers who have completed additional MSC teacher training. It is a deep dive into the practice of self-compassion. While it can be emotionally challenging, this concentrated practice allows you to immerse yourself very deeply and experience its transformative potential. Attendance at the MSC Intensive satisfies a pre-requisite to ultimately attend MSC Teacher Training and become a teacher of the program.

Destination: Vietnam

Today’s Vietnam is undergoing some of the fastest socio-economic changes any country in the world has seen. The Asian Dragon, as it is frequently called, is a major development success story that has experienced remarkable rates of economic growth since the start of massive political and economic reforms called doi moi in 1986. It is now a middle-income country with a poverty rate of less than 10%, massive influx of foreign investment, and booming modern cities that swallow up many of the surrounding villages.

At the same time, 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 Vietnamese society. More than half of the population of over 90 million is under the age of 26. Major developmental challenges have emerged, ranging from rapidly growing inequality to environmental degradation, depletion of natural resources, rapid urbanization and corruption.

Especially in urban areas, the Vietnamese increasingly question the old Confucian principles upheld in what continues to be nominally a communist society. And women in particular struggle to redefine their place in a country that was traditionally driven by a strong patriarchal system that emphasized male leadership.

It is this vibrant and at times explosive environment that forms the exciting backdrop for this program. The program gateway is Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, Vietnam’s largest city with almost 10 million inhabitants and the economic and cultural center of the country.

Pulsating with energy, Ho Chi Minh City is a place of contrasts. Next to the timeless alleys with Buddhist temples and street vendors are modern designer malls and sleek skyscrapers. Ho Chi Minh City is the perfect embodiment of modern-day Vietnam – and the ideal place to start to explore Vietnamese culture.


Destination: Kenya

The powerhouse of the East African Community, Kenya is one of the most diverse countries in Africa. From the white sandy beaches and the turquoise waters of the Indian Ocean to volcanic mountains in the Great Rift Valley. From the vast savannahs to the lacustrine highlands near Lake Victoria, the largest freshwater lake on the continent. Cultural traditions converge in Kenya, making it a dynamic and vibrant place to visit and experience.

The country has become the political and economic leader in East Africa. It features a vibrant manufacturing industry that has moved beyond producing the basic daily goods needed by Kenyans and, increasingly, exports to neighboring countries. Despite recent terrorist incidents, tourism remains an important industry that provides service jobs and much needed foreign capital. There are not many mineral riches to be found in Kenya, but its agricultural exports of coffee, tea and cut flowers more than compensate. Recent investments in energy, technology and communications have also proven to have big economic potential for Kenya’s growth.


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