Choose one of four fascinating destinations in Africa or Asia, select an engaging interdisciplinary track for your real-world project, and embark on a transformative journey with The Most Vital Course of our Time.
This 3-week adventure not only enables you to acquire the skills, knowledge, and understanding to address sustainability challenges and opportunities 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 foreign part of the world. As a member of a small multicultural cohort and hand-in-hand with key local stakeholders, you explore sustainable development through the eyes of your hosts.
The course builds on the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) approach coined by UNESCO. Accordingly, we use an “action-oriented, transformative pedagogy, which supports, self-directed learning, participation and collaboration, problem-orientation, inter- and transdisciplinarity, and the linking of formal and informal learning”.
- Develop cross-cutting key competencies for sustainability that are relevant to all SDGs.
- Develop specific learning outcomes needed to achieving selected particular SDGs.
- Engage in a collaborative real-world project via community-engaged learning and campaigns.
- Explore sustainable development opportunities and challenges in a leading African or Asian success story.
- Broaden your personal and professional network, and build lasting international friendships.
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.
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.
South Africa has emerged from its troubled and turbulent past into a healthy democratic country and the economic powerhouse of the African continent. At the same time, it’s a great place to witness a society going through dynamic changes, as it can still be considered both a developed and an underdeveloped country. South Africans forge a new identity, strongly embracing their unique multicultural character.
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.
The course is offered as a 3-week field course. All participants meet at their gateway cities (Nairobi, Kigali, Cape Town, Ho Chi Minh City) for a comprehensive in-country orientation (3 days). Afterwards, they transfer to their respective local host communities in groups of no more than 20. Such host communities can consist of a neighborhood in the gateway city, a smaller city or town, or also a more rural area. Here, they spend the next 15 days. By the end of the course, all participants meet again at their gateway cities for a conference and final group activities (2 days).
At their host communities, participants study and work in cohorts of around 5. Weekday mornings are typically reserved for a mix of didactic and action-oriented experiential learning activities to study applied SDGs in the local context. Content, materials, and assignments are mostly provided virtually, before participants go out into the community for guided transformational real-life learning.
During weekday afternoons, participant cohorts link up with a group of local peers – frequently local high school students from a partner school – for a guided collaborative real-world project relating to their assigned interdisciplinary track. Examples of projects include the development of a community sustainability monitoring framework, the creation of teaching aids that can be used in sustainability and STEM education, the organization of a school mental health awareness campaign, or the creation of local micro-enterprises. The project work typically culminates in a special event that engages the entire school or community.
Dates, fees, and scholarships
The program dates are generally identical across our four program locations – Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and Vietnam.
|Program||Application due||Start date||End date||Fees*|
|Summer 1||April 1, 2022||May 29, 2022||June 18, 2022||US $2,370|
|Summer 2||April 1, 2022||June 19, 2022||July 9, 2022||US $2,370|
|Summer 3||May 1, 2022||July 10, 2022||July 30, 2022||US $2,370|
|Summer 4||May 1, 2022||July 31, 2022||August 20, 2022||US $2,370|
|* Early bird discount (10%) available until March 1, 2022 for all 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; transfers to and from the host community; housing with breakfast at the host community; 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.
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.
GEI offers scholarships for students with proven academic or extra-curricular merit. You can find additional information in the following blog post: Scholarships.
Our program staff
Our in-country program staff consists of experienced local education, sustainability, and program operations experts.
Application & credits
Healthy & safety