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GESI Summer 2022

Global Development in Action

As COVID-19 continues, the Global Engagement Studies Institute (GESI) is offering a hybrid rendition of its programming in the summer of 2022. This is a unique hybrid opportunity to explore complex questions through coursework while simultaneously engaging in a meaningful internship—through a combination of in-person and online coursework and options for remote or in-person internship settings.

Program highlights:

  • Earn academic credits
  • Intern virtually or in-person with a community-based nonprofit
  • Learn about development in a global context
  • Gain experience collaborating with remote and global teams on project-based work, an increasingly important skill in a post-COVID world

Program dates:

  • June 13-18: Pre-departure seminar (6 days, in-person at Northwestern)
  • Sunday, June 19: Departure day
  • Monday June 20: In-country or remote internships begin
  • August 24-26: Final reflection summit (re-entry programming, virtual)


Earn Northwestern credits through INTL ST 393: Development in a Global Context. This field studies course will use a flipped classroom model to help students build the skills necessary to operate ethically and reflexively in complex transnational work environments. In conjunction with a virtual internship with nonprofits and NGOs around the world, you will engage in real-time reflection and critical analysis of concepts like "participation" and cultural humility in development work. This course invites you to examine deep complexities within global structures, the impact of good intentions, and your role in a rapidly changing world. You should check with your major/minor and academic advisors to see how these credits might count for you. One unit of INTL ST 393 may be applied towards the Weinberg College Distribution Requirements in Social and Behavioral Sciences (Area III).

The course will be co-taught by Dr. Diego Arispe-Bazán, Associate Director of Curriculum and Instruction in the Global Learning Office and Assistant Professor of Instruction, Anthropology.

The syllabus linked to below reflects the virtual GESI program during 2020-21. A syllabus for the hybrid iteration of GESI programming is still under development. 


Diego Arispe-BazánDiego Arispe-Bazán, Assistant Professor of Instruction, Anthropology

Diego researches Global North to Global South migration, internal migration in South America, and historical ideologies of Spanish colonization, from a linguistic and cultural anthropological framework. His work combines textual and ethnographic data and investigates the relationship between (post)colonialism, race, and identity. 


You will be matched with a community-based nonprofit or NGO in one of following countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador,  Ghana, India, Peru, Uganda, or Vietnam. As an intern, you will support your organization with various projects, using your academic background and skills to support your organization and the community's needs. Some locations are still being finalized. Please note that mobility or in-person options are subject to approval for return to travel (to be decided by March or April of 2022). 

The unpaid internship will include 15-30 hours per week, depending on whether done remotely or in-person. Some internships will include teams of 2-5 Northwestern students, while others will entail individual work. Within this time commitment are opportunities for supplemental learning such as practical workshops, cultural context or language classes.

Being accepted to GESI and committing to participate in the program means agreeing to work with a host organization that is expecting you. Please plan your participation seriously, as placements will be considered with students and hosts in mind.

Argentina (In-person)

  • Ability/disability
  • Environment
  • Habitat (WASH)
  • Public health 
  • Youth programs
  • Urban agriculture
  • Requires Spanish-speaking ability
  • Subject to approval for return to travel (mobility)

Bolivia (In-person)

  • Ability/disability
  • Environment
  • Public health 
  • Youth programs
  • Urban agriculture
  • Requires Spanish-speaking ability

Costa Rica (In-person)

  • Arts
  • Business
  • Education
  • Environment/Ecotourism
  • Gender
  • Social and other media
  • Website design/management
  • Requires Spanish-speaking ability
  • Subject to approval for return to travel (mobility)

Ecuador (Virtual)

  • Intercultural education
  • Gender
  • Transformative justice
  • Food sovereignty
  • Community-based tourism
  • Digital storytelling
  • Activist research
  • Spanish and English options available

Ghana (Virtual)

  • Public health
  • HIV/AIDS and infectious disease
  • Education
  • Grant Writing
  • Research
  • English-only options

India (Virtual)

  • Public health
  • HIV/AIDS and national strategies
  • LGBTQ rights
  • Maternal and child health
  • English-only options

Peru (Virtual)

  • Renewable Energy
  • Ecosystem Restoration
  • Water and Sanitation
  • NGO management
  • Social enterprise creation
  • Research
  • English and Spanish options available

Uganda (Virtual)

  • Environment
  • Engineering
  • Gender
  • Health (WASH)
  • Human rights
  • Microfinance/microenterprise/business
  • Women
  • Youth and education
  • English-only options

Vietnam (In-person)

  • Business development
  • Communications
  • Environment
  • Marketing, advertising
  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Social and other media
  • Youth and education
  • English-only options
  • Subject to approval for return to travel (mobility)

Student Testimonials

"GESI gave me the opportunity to connect the work I was doing hands-on with the theory and history behind development while deepening my understanding of cultural humility, ethical storytelling, and the complexities of NGOs." 
--Cindy Shou

"The GESI program has been incredibly insightful and eye-opening. I got to learn about the complex web of power structures in the international development world, and how that can manifest in unexpected places. The lectures have been interesting and engaging with in-class activities, discussions, and guest speakers. The internship was informative and meaningful. We get to see the inner-workings of a real-life, professional organization, and how our work can help support them in their endeavor." 
--Quan Pham

"GESI is a great window into the global sphere of NGO's and a great way to learn about, through first-hand involvement, another nation from your own home." 
--Sebastian Gomez-Parra

Time & Availability

All remote internships (virtual option) will require 15 hours per week. Each internship will vary in terms of the amount of live (synchronous) work time required (with Northwestern student teammates and/or host organization staff). Exact meeting times will be scheduled with site teams and host organizations once internship assignments are made. Most locations will require specific time availability to ensure synchronous meetings across time zone differences. Please be flexible in the process of determining common availability for internship meetings and workshops. Meeting times may occur at a time that is not usually convenient (early or late hours). 

All in-person internships (mobility option) will require up to 30 hours per week in alignment with a regular work schedule in the local context. The option to study abroad is subject to approval for return to travel in certain locations, to be determined by March or April of 2022. If a location is not approved for travel, opportunities will exist to shift to a remote internship option in that location.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.   When are applications for the summer program due?

  • Applications for the summer offering of GESI 2021: Virtual Global Development in Action will be due on February 10. The application will be available in December.

2.   Who can take part in "hybrid GESI"?

  • GESI is open to second, third, and fourth year undergraduate students from every major and minor.
  • Students who have completed their first full academic year (rising sophomores) at Northwestern can participate in the summer program.

3.   What are the application requirements?

  • All students must attend or view a recorded information session (also imbedded in the online application) as part of the application process.
  • If your GPA is below a 2.5, you will be asked follow-up questions within the application.

4.   How can the credits for INTL ST 393 be articulated?

  • WCAS students: One course credit may be counted toward the distribution requirement for social and behavioral sciences (Area III).
  • Global Health Studies students: GESI will count for one required GHS elective credit toward the adjunct major or minor.

5.   Is there a language requirement?

  • Internship placements in Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica require at least conversational Spanish ability (i.e. 1 year of college level Spanish).
  • Peru and Ecuador have internship options in both English and/or Spanish.
  • No other locations have a language requirement.

6.   Is there anything else applicants should keep in mind about applying for this program?

  • Strong applicants will demonstrate flexibility, curiosity, and a willingness to learn.
  • Once selected, students will be enrolled in this class through CAESAR by GLO staff.

7.  Will financial aid apply to hybrid GESI?

  • Yes. If you receive financial aid during the academic year, financial aid may also be applied in the summer GESI program.
  • Any students who received a Gilman scholarship are able to apply this award to GESI. 
  • Students can request a summer aid estimate from the Office of Undergraduate Financial Aid at

Other questions can be directed to