Our Program

Global Engagement Studies Institute is a study abroad
program that prepares undergraduates with the
knowledge, tools, and experiences to confront
shared global challenges. Through service-learning
in Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, India,
Kenya, Nicaragua, South Africa, or Uganda,
students partner with organizations in
the developing world to advance
community-driven change.

Values in Action


  • 1. Comprehensive preparation and education

    GESI integrates experiential learning with an in-class curriculum and training developed to equip students with tools to understand and effectively engage in international community development.
    1. Comprehensive preparation and education
  • 2. Immersion and experiential learning

    GESI believes that living and working in developing communities is the foundation of students' education in the field of international development. Each GESI participant therefore lives with a family in the host community. Through this immersion experience, students gain credibility in the community, understanding of the strengths and limitations of development projects, and invaluable insight into another culture.
    2. Immersion and experiential learning
  • 3. Impact-driven partnerships

    Through our partners, the Foundation for Sustainable Development, ThinkImpact, and Social Entrepreneur Corps, GESI pairs groups of students with local organizations or community groups that have an emphasis on community-led solutions and are invested in developing a new generation of global change leaders. By developing relationships with their host communities, students learn the ins, outs, and challenges of working in multicultural environments.
    3. Impact-driven partnerships
  • 4. Group work and a diversity of perspectives

    GESI recognizes that every individual is instilled with experiences, knowledge, and values that can enrich a team. Our students come from various universities, academic programs, and ethnicities, and work in groups of three to six, a structure that allows them to harness this diversity as well as develop their ability to collaborate and cooperate.
    4. Group work and a diversity of perspectives
  • 5. Sustainable asset-based development

    In order to create real change, GESI students implement solutions that build upon the strengths of developing communities so that successful projects can continue long after students return to the United States. Students' worldviews are transformed as they learn to leverage the strengths--rather than list the weaknesses--of the communities in which they live and work.
    5. Sustainable asset-based development
  • 6. Student-centered, multi-tiered support

    An integrated network of Northwestern faculty, GESI staff, student instructors, and on-the-ground partner site teams support and equip students before, during, and after their in-country experience. GESI is committed to challenging students personally, professionally, and academically while fostering an enduring community of students passionate about social change.
    6. Student-centered, multi-tiered support

Important Dates


GESI 2015 Programs:

GESI Summer:
June 15 - August 19

GESI Fall:
September 14 - December 12