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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

Reviews

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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.
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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.

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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 ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

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KeiAndra
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Virtual Experience

This was a wonderful online program. Despite often having meetings with people from up to four countries on the call, we never had to be on zoom at a time that isn’t in the normal work day hours. I was assigned a local intern as my partner which made the experience so much more like an actual study/intern abroad experience because I was able to learn more about the culture and language directly from him. I would highly recommend this program for anyone looking for a suitable substitution for going abroad, or anyone searching for a way to get professional experience in a unique and engaging way.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish there were more opportunities to engage with other interns that were not my direct partner.
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Sam
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

GEI Virtual Internship

I had a great time throughout this internship period. The experience is topnotch, I enjoyed working collaboratively with my colleague and learned a lot from her perspectives and viewpoints. Also, I learned a lot from the entire research process, the process is even more practical than I expected since it was virtual. The guidance and support from the preceptors are tremendous and commendable. The skills and knowledge acquired from this internship will help me grow as a global public health leader.

What was your funniest moment?
The Global Cafe moment was fun to me! It was engaging and interactive.

Alumni Interviews

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

Cody Ritz

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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

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