AT A GLANCE

Dates (2023): Jan 1-21 | May 28-Jun 17 | Jun 18-Jul 8 | Jul 9-29 | Jul 30-Aug 19 | Custom dates

Credit: 4 US credits (~ 8 ECTS credits) for eligible university students

Eligibility: Undergrad/grad – any field and level of study

Program fees: US $2,370

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Course overview

Select one of three fascinating destinations in Africa or Asia and 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.
 
This 3-week adventure 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 where the student becomes the teacher in a host community classroom.

 

Highlights:

  • 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.
  • Program locations

    Kenya

  • Program locations

    Rwanda

  • Program locations

    Vietnam

Program locations

 

Kenya

The political and economic leader of East Africa, Kenya might still be most well-known internationally for the immense diversity and beauty of its landscapes and wildlife. But that’s only part of the story. In recent years, its capital Nairobi has become an epicenter for innovation. This is best seen by exploring the incredible tech startup scene with its dozens of accelerators, incubators, and innovation hubs.

 

Rwanda

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.

Vietnam

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.

Academics

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 Kenya, 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 (Nairobi, Kigali, Ho Chi Minh City, or Hue, respectively). After thematic and cultural orientations, students travel in cohorts of no more than 20 to a host site, typically consisting of a smaller town, where they spend the next 15 days to study the six thematic modules and to design and implement their community-engaged learning project. The course ends back at the gateway city with a unique workshop to help students build their personal leadership story.

 

Further details:


8 core competencies for global change leaders for sustainable development

  • Systems thinking competence
  • Futures thinking (anticipatory) competence
  • Values thinking (normative) competence
  • Strategic thinking competence
  • Implementation competence
  • Interpersonal (collaboration) competence
  • Intrapersonal competence
  • Integrated problem-solving competence


6 thematic entry points for successful transformations towards sustainable development

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


Eligibility
It is our express desire to make this vital interdisciplinary course available to as many people as possible. As such, there are no specific prerequisites or requirements. Students can be enrolled in any major or minor and can be at any level of study (both undergrad and grad). While we try to always place students in cohorts with similar levels of study, this is not always possible.

Course requirements & student evaluation
Our courses are designed to follow U.S. academic culture and standards. Since the course is a full semester in content, the pace is accelerated and the workload is demanding. The U.S. grading scale of A to F is used. Participants will receive a variety of assignments. You will be evaluated according to module-specific exercises, your community-engaged learning project implementation plan, and a weekly reflective journal, blog, or vlog. To be eligible to obtain the academic credits (for undergrad students), you also need to submit an essay.

Credits
4 U.S. credits (~ 8 ETCS credits) for eligible undergrad students via our U.S. academic school of record

Language of instruction
The language of instruction is English.

Dates, fees, and scholarships

The program dates are generally identical across our three program locations – Kenya, Rwanda, and Vietnam.

 

Program Application due Start date End date Fees*
J-Term November 1, 2022 January 1, 2023 January 21, 2023 US $2,370
Summer 1 April 1, 2023 May 28, 2023 June 17, 2023 US $2,370
Summer 2 April 1, 2023 June 18, 2023 July 8, 2023 US $2,370
Summer 3 May 1, 2023 July 9, 2023 July 29, 2023 US $2,370
Summer 4 May 1, 2023 July 30, 2023 August 19, 2023 US $2,370
* Early bird discount (10%) available until March 1, 2023 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 program fees are airport transfers; housing, meals, activities, excursions, and local transportation during the on-site orientation and the final wrap-up days at the gateway city; transfers to and from the host community site; housing with breakfast at the host community site; full-time leadership 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, meals at and local transportation at the host community, 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. Also not included are potential expenses relating to any Covid-19-related measures, including testing, quarantine, or isolation requirements. Should such requirements exist, we will gladly provide on-site assistance, but you will have to cover all related expenses.
 
In addition, if you are an undergraduate student and want to seek academic credit, your college or university 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 $500.

 

Scholarships:

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.

Our program staff

Our in-country program staff consists of experienced local education, sustainability, and program operations experts.

 

Yvan Rubengebenge
Regional Director, East Africa

Cailin Human, MBA
Regional Director, Southern Africa 

Thuy Phan, MA
Regional Director, Southeast Asia

Francoise Uzamukunda, MA
Academic Director, East Africa

Eric Kingoina, DCS
Operations, Kenya

Adeline Imanirakiza, DIS
Operations, Rwanda

Amy Lin, MA
Operations, Vietnam

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 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, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda), Southern Africa (Botswana, eSwatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe), and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam).

 

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.
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.
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 $500 (4 credits), 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.

 

Healthy & safety

Do you have a COVID-19 vaccination policy?
Yes. At GEI, we value the health and safety of all members of our worldwide community as paramount. This not only includes program participants, but also staff, instructors, host community partners, and logistics, activity, and excursion partners. We find that it is vital that we try to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 and its variants between and within the communities in which we live and work. It goes without saying that we have strong prevention measures in place. But vaccination is an important additional element of our health and safety strategy in order to significantly increase protection for all members of the GEI community. As a result, we have made it a requirement for all members of our worldwide community who have access to an approved vaccine – especially including all program participants – to be fully vaccinated no later than January 1, 2022. To report your vaccination status, you must provide us a copy of your COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card, or other acceptable form of proof, by uploading it to your GEI account before the start of your program. If you are receiving a two-dose vaccine (e.g., Pfizer, Moderna, or AstraZeneca), the card or form of written proof should indicate that you have received both doses. We will only accept exemption or accommodation from the vaccination requirement upon request for documented medical or deeply held religious reasons, or for any reasons protected by your home country’s law. In such a case, please contact us so that we can provide you with a COVID-19 Vaccination Exemption Request Form that you need to complete. We shall review your request for exemption or accommodation, taking into consideration the particulars of the spread of the disease and the conditions of vaccination status of the host location. In any case, we may not be able to accommodate such requests, especially if country laws, policies, and public health regulations supersede our own GEI requirements.
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 programs receive a comprehensive health insurance that includes evacuation coverage. This is part of the program fees and arranged by GEI.

 

Trip arrangements

Do you help with flights?
No. We are not a travel agent and 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 of allergy you have. We will then try our very best to accommodate for your needs, whether at a hotel or guesthouse or with a host family or serviced apartment.

 

Finances

Once my deposit is received, does that mean that I'm accepted into the program?
Yes. Our programs are generally inclusive. Students can be enrolled in any major or minor and can be at any level of study (both undergrad and grad).
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.

            

            

                        
            
            
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Additional information

Data protection

GDPR: Policy on the protection and processing of personal data of program participants

This Policy regards all personal data of yours that we have obtained - whether from you directly or indirectly from any entity - for the planning and organization of your GEI program and related GEI services.

These data will be processed and handled by us in accordance with our policies, with the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation ("GDPR"), and with the principles of fairness, lawfulness, transparency, purpose limitation, accuracy, storage limitation, integrity and confidentiality, and accountability, as well as the utmost protection of your privacy.

Sensitive data processing will only take place in relation to data regarding your health condition (such as diseases, allergies or food intolerances) or judicial data of relevance to your participation in the GEI program.

All data shall be processed exclusively for GEI institutional purposes, connected or related to the activities carried out by GEI, such as the planning and organization of your GEI program, the accomplishment of bureaucratic practices for your entry in your program destination, and the performance of the contractual obligations of GEI in connection with your program stay.

In particular, the data supplied or collected may be processed for the following purposes:

  • To fulfill the obligations established by any applicable law;
  • To execute the contractual obligations with reference to your enrolment with the GEI program (such as, but not limited to, program content and logistics bookings, program attendance certification, or participant health and safety protection); and
  • To take the necessary actions in the case of an accident or aggression.

Sensitive data regarding your health conditions and food habits will only be processed for the purpose of protecting your safety or of fulfilling the obligations established by any applicable law.

Sensitive data regarding judicial measures which may have been provided to GEI by public bodies will be processed only for purposes relating to a health or safety emergency and complying with any applicable mandatory provision of any applicable law.

Submittal and processing of personal data is necessary in order to achieve the purposes above specified.

Any refusal will make it impossible to carry out the necessary activities and the correct administrative and didactic management of your program necessary to accomplish the contractual obligations of GEI in connection with your program stay, as well as the obligations imposed by law.

Data - including sensitive data - will be collected and processed automatically and/or manually, and by adopting the respective minimum safety measures.

The data will be handled only by the persons who are in charge of and responsible for the related program activities and services.

Your data may be communicated, in compliance with the rules above indicated, to public or private subjects to whom they may be necessary in order to carry out the planning and organization of your GEI program, and to fulfill obligations set forth by applicable laws.

Sensitive data may be communicated to public bodies and authorities (such as public hospitals, public safety authorities, police offices, courts, magistrates and the like) and to private subjects (such as private hospitals and clinics, security supervisors, insurance companies and the like) only for purposes relating to health and safety emergency and for the purposes of fulfilling obligations set forth by applicable laws.

You will be able to exercise any and all rights foreseen, among others, by the GDPR, electronically available at https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/law-topic/data-protection_en.

This includes, among others, the following rights:

  • You have the right to obtain confirmation of the existence or not of personal data, even if not yet recorded, and their communication in intelligible form.
  • You have the right to obtain indication a) of the origin of the personal data, b) of the ends and methods of their processing, c) of the logics applied in the event of processing being carried out with the aid of electronic equipment, d) of the identification data of your data manager at GEI, and e) of the organizations and categories of organizations to whom personal data can be communicated or who are likely to get to know them at the program destination(s).
  • You have the right to obtain a) the update, the rectification or, if you have the interest to, the integration of the data, b) the cancellation, transformation in anonymous form or blockage of any data processed unlawfully, including those whose storage is not necessary in relation to the aims for which the data were collected or later processed, and c) a statement that the operations indicated in a) and b), including their content, have been made known to those to whom the data have been communicated or released, except in the case of this being found to be impossible or requiring the use of means which are clearly disproportionate to the protected right.
  • You have the right to completely or partially oppose a) for legitimate reasons, the processing of personal data even if relevant to the aims of their collection, and b) the processing of personal data for the purpose of sending publicity material, direct sales or for carrying out market research or commercial communications.

The Data Controller for your data is GEI. In order to exercise the rights mentioned in 7. above, you can contact us at 251 State Street, #204 (c/o Mlekoday), Schenectady, NY 12305, USA, or by sending an email to programs@global-engagement.org.

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