Global Engagement Institute

Global Engagement Institute

About

GEI is a private institute that provides international students and professionals with high-impact education and engagement programs in Africa and Asia. We inspire and empower participants to apply their passion and skills to create positive change in the world.

Main destinations: Rwanda, Kenya, South Africa, Vietnam

Founded
2006

Reviews

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

I found my time participating in this program and virtual internship to be highly beneficial for my interpersonal communication and professionalism skills. Aside from that, it provided me with the opportunity to expand my worldview and take on a deeper understanding of the perspectives of a culture different from my own. Overall, I found it to be a unique and engaging experience where I received tremendous support from those guiding me. I would recommend it to anyone interested in expanding on their academic learnings and developing real-world experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I was unfortunately only able to participate in the program and internship virtually, however, still found it to be worthwhile.
My style is no style?
Hieu
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

In addition to the expertise, there are 3 affairs I ascertained and appreciated most in this internship.

The first was the teamwork skills, notably the esteem of partners and opinions of partners working with us. Because of the knowledge of a firth-year medical student like me and being not so passionate about Obstetrics, I did indeed not expect to earn esteem from "the best partner ever" "the resident physician" Kelsey much like that. Undoubtedly,  the sentences I listened to most during team meetings or video calls were "What do you think? What are your thoughts? Why do you want to do that? ..." and most of my ideas were adopted 😋😋😋. Or any alternations in handout, PowerPoint or poster, she always consulted with me and asked for my permission before any decisions. And from the beginning, we had the intention of altering the topic to Neonatal Resuscitation (which was also attributable to my manipulation and ideas). And in the end, the guidelines of Neonatal Resuscitation between US and Vietnam was rather analogous and we applied general recommendations from an association. Hence, we elected to reselect and keep at the previous topic. Nonetheless, Kelsey asked me a question not erased from my mind. That was "Is there another neonatal topic you are interested in?". Actually, until now, when I am writing this review, I still find that question respectful and a little bit affecting. Heart-felt thanks for all, Kelsey.

The second lesson I ascertained was be bold enough to step out of my comfort zone. I always wish and realize I ought to explore capacities beyond my comfort zone. But it's easy said than done. As Obstetrics did not fascinate me earlier, what I always reckoned in my mind when participating in this internship was "neonatology, neonatology". I was fairly embarrassed while recieving the topic of Postpartum Hemorrhage, although it was truly stimulating and practical. However, since my partner was adorable and respectful of her partner's opinions, my mentor and the organizers was caring and zealous, so I still did it. Subsequently, I considered my topic (or Obtestrics) so attention-grabbing. I assume it was merely because I did not research on it earlier and at the end we had a thriving presentation which was beyond my expectations at the beginning.

And the last was absolutely English and communication skills. I did not opine I would have a great deal of language barriers when taking this internship but in reality I confronted numerous obstacles on the first days. For instance, I made my partner frustrated and upset because of not grasping her meanings and I was unpunctual because of misinterpreting 🤣🤣🤣. Nevertheless, we eventually surmounted all, endeavored to remedy and advance day by day to have an ultimate fruitful presentation. Moreover, at first, I attempted to use advanced vocabularies in Ielts while I was talking or texting but no one could totally fathom, later on, I learned how to use vocabularies which were simple, easy to understand, contextual and more natural 😬😬 😬 ...

And it is certainly indispensable that I express my gratitude, even though I already said and texted all of you. Please permit me to thank you again. The first is to permit me to thank Mr. Bao, thanks a million for your assistance and furthermore during this internship. Although I perceived you to be hectic especially during the quality verification program, when you saw our messages, you immediately replied and obviously elucidated and even recommended documents for us to research more. You are actually caring and zealous. Next, I would like to thanks, Ms. Thuy and Ms. Amy, for always assisting us with all our heart, rescheduling team meetings in accordance with our wishes, sending emails announcing team meetings every week to motivate us. Although I do believe that these was your responsibilities and work, I have to thank you very much, especially spending almost 2 hours on weekend night listening to 2 time-consuming specialized topics. Thanks, Mai, for endeavoring together, comforting, confiding and encouraging in overcoming deadlines. "Together we can". Thanks, Phú, Phúc, Vinh, Minh, for assisting me a lot when writing my CV and during my internship. And last but not least, thank you so so so much, "my best partner ever" Kelsey, for being my partner till the end, always esteeming me, being responsible, working together and supporting each other during this internship. Thank you, everyone. Thanks for everything!

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Because of the time difference of up to 13 hours and our hectic college schedules, we had to burn a midnight oil to video call, deliberate and meet dealines on the last days of the internship. Nevertheless, "together we can" and we totally nailed it.
Default avatar
Christie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I had an amazing time during my internship. Everyone was really welcoming and accommodating with the virtual limitations. I was able to gain more research, writing, and public speaking experience with my teammate under Dr. Bao's supportive guidance. Furthermore this internship experience provided us with social and cultural experiences as well to expand our global outlook. The internship challenged me to expand beyond my field of study and look at social implications of my work. I believe this experience has better prepared me for my career.

What was your funniest moment?
Our team is spread out across three different time zones, so whenever we ended a meeting, we all said both good morning and good night!
Default avatar
Mai
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This is the first time I have ever joined in a virtual internship. At first, I was a little bit nervous because I was afraid of my language barriers and lack of medical knowledge. Thanks to the support from our friendly supervisor, Dr.Bao and the great teamwork with my cute American partner, our team finished our work successfully. Moreover, when I had any problems, the GEI team was very supportive which helps us a lot to get through the program. After joining this virtual internship, I can expand my knowledge in my field of study, improve my English competency and some soft skills. Thank you everyone for an unforgettable and amazing experience. I am looking forward to working with you guys in the future.

What was your funniest moment?
The funniest moment in my internship was the time when our team received compliment from our supervisor for our presentation and our cute flyer.
Default avatar
Vinh
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

One of my best opportunities were engaging in the Virtual Internship. Though it's solely been a month, both me and my partner, Lauren, have been operating very effectively together. 

My project is really interesting and shows me how to prevent unintended pregnancy and the best methods of birth control - something to which I have not been previously introduced. Throughout the whole process, Dr Bao has been extremely supportive, always supplying my team with contraceptive methods guidance anytime we run into problems. If you never try, you will never know. Consequently, I feel more self-confident after the Virtual Internship because I came out of my comfort zone.

Take every chance you get in life because some things only happen once

What was your funniest moment?
I think the foremost exciting moment was once I selected the hilarious background colour for our poster.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Cody Ritz

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.

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