Thumbnail

Global Engagement Institute

About

At GEI, we pride ourselves to be a pioneer in high-impact international education in Africa and Asia since 2006. We are a private American institute with particularly deep roots in the countries where we operate. Our core destinations are Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, and Vietnam.

Our work supports the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that was adopted by all UN member states in 2015. We share the Agenda’s vision of a sustainable world – a world where all people can live productive, vibrant, and peaceful lives on a healthy planet.

Our purpose is to unleash the catalytic impact of international education to address key transformations towards sustainable development. To do so, we blend research, education, training, and innovative practical solutions that support sustainable development processes.

Reviews

Default avatar
Reid
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Cannot get any better than this

I have run more than 6 programs in Rwanda for students and faculty using GEI, and every one of them was a success because of their work. GEI knows the country exceptionally well and has creative ideas for things to include in the itinerary. They have opened doors for us, and gone out of their way to open doors they hadn't opened before. Plus, they know all the best restaurants and work with the restaurants to accommodate the group. They also work within our budget for guides, hotels, restaurants, ground transportation and other things to support the program. GEI staff are all professional and friendly, and are willing to work hard for demanding groups amid schedule changes and unforeseen events. Yvan and Francoise are awesome! GEI will not disappoint you.

Pros
  • knowledge of the country and things to do
  • top-quality staff willing to go beyond "normal" responsibilities
  • flexibility to modify programs as they are running
Cons
  • more expensive because it's premium service
Default avatar
Henny
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Service Learning

In 2018, a colleague and I led a Jan term course to Vietnam and Cambodia. This was a service learning/experiential learning course in collaboration with Global Engagement Institute (GEI). During the Jan term course, students collected data for a partner NGO of GEI in San Francisco. Vietnam has a high prevalence of anemia and malnutrition in children living in rural communities. During the Jan term course, we visited five different schools and collected data on 130 children. The data collected included: measuring hemoglobin, height, weight and body mass index of the children. The students had an amazing experience. GEI provided us with a guide who was exceptional in introducing us to the culture and arranging all the site visits. In addition to the service learning, we also had the opportunity to have lunch with a local family, visit some hospitals, museums and learn more about the Vietnam war and visit some amazing sites such as Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Default avatar
Nguyen
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This is a great experience!

This is a good program for students who want to experience working with foreign students. This program is helpful for students to understand clearly about teamworking, presenting skills. It also help students improve knowlegde about a specific topic. It is a wonderful chance to make friend with foreigner and practice english. My partner is so cute and she supported me too much during working. I had a wonderful time to experience this project because I can update my knowledge about breastfeeding and understand how to make a paper.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I will focus more about breastfeeding practices in Vietnam during Covid-19 pandemic. Because there are currently a few studies on breastfeeding related to Covid-19 in Vietnam and I don't have enough information about it to discuss.
Default avatar
Thao
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GEI Virtual Internship experience

I had a wonderful 4-week time working with GEI and my partner. During the working process, I always receive supports and do not have any time constraints because of the flexible time management of the coordinator. Besides, the program is also very meaningful with many activities that contribute to the community. It is also an opportunity to exchange with people from many other countries, as a way to internationalize social issues. Especially after this program, I am happy to have a great partner, great teamwork experience with her. I am so grateful to join in this activity.

Default avatar
Long
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The new horizon

This progamme help me a lot to step out the comfort zone. I really appreciate the meeting with friend i work with from others uni. Great time for learning and experiencing the new thing ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Programs

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Why did you choose this program?

At the start of the Fall 2017 semester, I knew that I wanted to find some opportunity to travel abroad for a program related to healthcare for the following summer. Upon hearing about the Rwanda Global Health Internship offered at BYU, I immediately felt strongly that it would be a perfect opportunity for me to enhance my world perspective by getting to experience healthcare through a culture outside of America.

I had the privilege of connecting with various immigrants from Rwanda during my time as a missionary in Montréal, Canada, and hearing about this internship opportunity reignited the connection I felt with them. It also fueled a desire to do everything in my capabilities to pursue this opportunity. It just felt right to me.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

Brigham Young University helped me feel well-prepared for the internship. They gave me some good expectations of what I would be doing, and they also relieved the stress of logistically planning an international trip. The Global Engagement Institute, our program provider, did everything in their power to ensure that I would get the most out of my Rwandan experience. They were extremely accommodating and taught me to really embrace the culture of Rwanda. In addition, they gave me some great opportunities to interact with health professionals of various backgrounds.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I would advise anyone considering this internship to spend as much time as you can learning about Rwanda BEFORE you arrive. Rwanda has a unique history and culture, and the more you know about the country's context, the better prepared you will be to facilitate positive interactions with the locals. They enjoy guests who come to visit their country and appreciate when you show genuine interest and knowledge of their culture.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

IPC is an important acronym to know as most of our days revolve entirely around it. It stands for Infection Prevention/Control. Here’s what one day could look like during the week:

We wake up at 6:30 AM and get ready for the day. We do some laundry if it needs done, and we eat the breakfast provided for us. We start walking to the health center around 8:30 AM and get there close to 9 AM. From there, we attend a health education course that is held for patients or anyone else in the community on topics such as HIV/AIDS, other communicable diseases, and health insurance.

After the course is done with, we usually start to focus on the Infection Prevention/Control assignment for the day. This could include observation/interaction with healthcare workers and patients or meetings with the clinical directors. We work until lunch which is usually around noon at the local women’s center.

After lunch, we spend some time discussing our findings from the morning, and we talk about ways to help the health center improve their IPC efforts. After that, we continue working on the different presentations and reports we have for the next few days. We usually end the day around 4 PM.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was being able to connect with the locals. I had spent some time with Rwandans before, but I had never been to their country. This gave me a great bit of uncertainty, and this carried over until we got there. Once we arrived, our coordinators from the Global Engagement Institute really helped us feel comfortable. We were given cultural background and advice from different members of GEI which allowed us to understand the environment in which we would be working.

It takes a continual effort to step outside of your comfort zone, but when you do it, you start to learn and grow in completely new ways.

How did you manage all of the expenses for your internship?

Evidently, traveling abroad is an expensive endeavor. Brigham Young University did a great job at informing me of the many ways in which I could seek help to fund my international experience. I applied to numerous scholarships on both the university and national level. I received funding from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and BYU ISP Scholarship. The help I received from these programs alleviated much of the financial burden for my internship. I strongly believe that no student should ever avoid traveling abroad simply because of finances. There are plenty of resources out there just waiting to help you achieve your goals; you just have to get out there and find them!

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Eric Kingoina

Job Title
Operations Manager - East Africa
Eric was born in a small town called Kisii, in the south Nyanza province and moved to Nairobi for his studies. He majored in computer science at the University of Nairobi but fell in love with his passion for travelling and meeting new people. As a result, he now works for an organization that helps to create easy and memorable trips for its participants. Eric is a very patient and joyful person that many people call "the fixer" as he fixes real issues in real time. Eric believes in hard work and nothing but hard work.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Standing at Airport

I have travelled a lot, especially in East Africa, which means I know my neighboring countries very well and how to work with them diligently. There are a million plus nice memories but let me choose one; when we visited Zanzibar to explore food security in Africa and learnt how various NGO’s are helping to teach farmers modern ways of productive farming.

Many people do visit Zanzibar’s beautiful beaches but they do not know what common villagers or farmers undergo to have at least one meal on the table.

Most of them eat a single dish (rice) for the whole week, sometimes the month. With the introduction of this kind of farming they can not only have 3 meals a day, but have a balanced diet of fish, chicken, beef and vegetables.

At first, when I was doing the interpreting it was so emotional I could barely hold myself together because of how these stories moved me.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I am very grateful to GEI because this is where I have been nurtured and molded to be who I am today with my wonderful family. Our vision is a major inspiration that impacts our lives and those who work closely with us.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

Working with students always has its entertaining stories. We once gave a student an assignment to buy some items in town to teach them how to handle situations on their own. After the student became tired he sat on a popular spot mostly used by beggars and this was so funny to all of us.

The experience of having to work so hard to find common items made the student go back home and develop an app which can help Africans to know where exactly to find items instead of traveling endlessly to find those everyday items.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would like to take part in the Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) program so that I can learn how this actually works since I love babies so much. I can envision myself then being able to actively lead a program and let others learn to save lives as well.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

There are so many companies out there, but our company is especially results-oriented. We achieve our results by acting as a bridge linking various people together to teach and learn two or three things from each other, thus impacting their lives in the best way possible by inspiring them.

We are also the best at fixing logistical challenges thus making your trip with us the most memorable one, at all times. Each delegation offers me a unique experience with different guests and I learn a lot from each group that I deal with.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Working closely with each other in the most trustworthy and transparent manner possible. In addition, it is important to have different staff from different backgrounds as they can contribute their varied experience to the company.

Professional Associations

NAFSA Logo