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Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI)

2023 Program Options

The Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI) continues to offer modified programming in light of ongoing limitations to international travel, including:

Summer GESI 2023
The following in-person locations (Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uganda and Vietnam) are approved for return to travel. Program details can be found below and in the GLObal Gateway.

Spring 2023: Global Development in Action 
An academic internship field studies course in Evanston during spring quarter with 15 hour/week virtual internship options in four locations. See GLO's virtual programs webpage for more information Spring 2023: Global Development in Action. 

Schedule an appointment with a GLO adviser to discuss the program options in more detail:

  • Tabish Bilal (GESI-Uganda and Global Development in Action)
  • Miranda Goosy (GESI-Vietnam and Global Development in Action)
  • Patrick Eccles (GESI-Bolivia, GESI-Ecuador, GESI-Costa Rica)

 

About GESI

The Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI) is a study abroad program that provides undergraduates with the knowledge, tools, and experiences to partner with communities to confront shared global challenges. GESI provides opportunities in collaborative experiential learning – opportunities that develop global leaders while contributing to the sustainable development of communities in which our students work and learn. Through service-learning in Argentina, Costa Rica, Ghana, Guatemala, Uganda, or Vietnam, teams of students join the efforts of local organizations to advance community-driven change.

If you are looking for a program where you learn by doing and are ready to challenge yourself in the pursuit of global social change, GESI is for you.

Quick facts:

  • GESI is one study abroad program with six different location options
  • While students select a first and second choice location preference, GESI location is placement based
  • All students live with a host family
  • All years in undergrad and all majors/minors are eligible 

Select your preferred location

Applicants are invited to select a specific GESI location and one alternative location preference. GESI staff will review applications with attention to:

  • Available spots. Not all students are guaranteed their first choice location.
  • Demonstrated language ability for Spanish-speaking locations. This is tested in your interview.
  • Your work interests.
  • The requests and needs of the community.

"GESI takes everything you think you know about the world and completely flips it upside down in an extremely impactful way. The skills and lessons I learned from GESI will last me a lifetime."

Rachel Gladney

Connect with GESI Alums

Program Details

GESI has three components that make up the structure of the program:

  • Pre-departure Seminar (week-long coursework and orientation at Northwestern)
  • In-country Immersion (8 weeks interning with a host organization and living in a homestay)
  • Final Reflection Summit (3 days of re-entry programming back at Northwestern)

All accommodations and the majority of meals are arranged for students for all three components.

Program dates

To be announced soon.

Academics

Pre-Departure Seminar

The GESI program starts on Northwestern’s campus where students take part in a week of pre-departure coursework and orientation focused on building an understanding of their role in the process of international immersion and community development. In addition to lectures, team-building and small group activities, students will attend country-specific sessions, learn about development topics from practitioners, and attend language classes to prepare them for time abroad. The pre-departure seminar also include a focus on discussing social identities, health and safety, and sharing resources and practical information for the field. GESI students will also work closely with a team of peer facilitators, who will provide academic and personal support, as well as assist in teaching activities.

3-credit GESI field studies course:

  • INTL ST 393-SA Development in a Global Context
*course titles subject to change

In-Country Immersion

While abroad, you will be working in teams with local organizations, advancing their efforts towards sustainable change. Topics vary by program location and include a focus on issues like human rights, sustainable agriculture, gender rights, health services, and youth/education. Your schedule will resemble a work schedule common in your location (roughly 30 hours/week). All students live in homestays and will complete weekly assignments (reflections, field essays and final papers) submitted to Northwestern program faculty. Host organization supervisors will also evaluate students on their project work and community engagement during the internship experience. 

Final Reflection Summit

At the end of GESI, all students reconvenes in the classroom at Northwestern for three days of re-entry coursework and programming as a cohort.  Everyone discusses lessons learned, challenges, and successes of their internship and in-country experience. We believe that reflective practice is an integral component of study abroad programs. The GESI Final Reflection Summit is designed to help students contextualize their international community development experiences within the larger issues of international development theory and practice and to look ahead to next steps beyond the program.

Pre-departure packets

Coming soon.


Travel, Passports, & Visas

Please make sure to have a current passport, valid for at least six months from the end of your program. GESI staff will book group flights. Once you are accepted, you will be provided more information about applying for your visa.

If you have more questions about the GESI program, review the program pages for your desired location(s) and read through GESI FAQs.

Student Stories

One active way GESI encourages story sharing is through the Open Letters curriculum. Open Letters are an exercise to deepen reflective practice, reinforce group formation, and provide opportunities for students to convey the impact of their experiences and engagement in new ways. The Story Slam is the live recording of GESI students sharing an Open Letter. These are live recordings that have not been edited or modified.

Story Slam Summer 2016

Story Slam Summer 2015