GESI is a two-course, summer study abroad program focused on teaching students about community development in a global context. To see photos of student’s experiences throughout the GESI program, visit the GESI facebook page.
GESI’s Four Program Components:
- Pre-Departure Learning Summit
During this rigorous, seven-day Pre-Departure Learning Summit in Chicago, students take two courses taught by Northwestern faculty–one in International Development Theory and one in Community Consulting Practice. The training also includes historical, political, and cultural information from country experts, language training, team-building exercises, and panels on development topics with specialists from the field (see academics page for further information). Following the Pre-Departure Learning Summit, teams take group flights to their summer destinations.
- In-Country Immersion
Students participate in a two-month internship in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic/Haiti, Nicaragua, India, South Africa, or Uganda. While in-country, student teams work directly with local leaders doing work to advance the social mission of their organization. Living in homestays with community members, students are supported by our in-country partners. Through their 24/7 professional field staff at each site, our partners facilitate student relationships with their local hosts and provide support for health, safety, etc. See GESI’s facebook page for photos of the in-country experience.
- Final Reflection Summit
Upon returning from their host-countries, students meet back in Chicago for a three-day Final Reflection Summit. GESI participants from all six sites share and compare geographical experiences while processing their immersion. Students will also consider how to respond to the GESI experience by networking with and learning from professionals who are creating social change in a range of fields.
- Alumni Network
As the program closes, the Center for Global Engagement (CGE), which runs the GESI program, transitions into the role of alumni support. CGE aspires to help students lead lives committed to international social justice. For us, this means helping our alumni find internships, jobs, or project support opportunities that allow them to continue engaging with the issues they care about most.