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
Headquarters

426 State Street
#4001 (c/o Mlekoday)
Schenectady, NY 12305
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Jack
9/10

I was attached to the clinical psychology department of Huye Isange Rehabilitation Center, which is a rehab facility for people with drug addiction. During that 2 months, I picked up some of the duties of clinical psychologist, such as conducting psychotherapy session and psycho-education. Throughout the process, I was closely supervised by the psychologist in the center, which allowed me to have a fingertip sense of being a psychologist.

By listening to different life stories, I realized that history does play an important role in one psychological makeup, and it's hard for one to truly know others' feeling. A vivid example is a patient, who witnessed genocide when he was a little child, told me that he still has fear reaction when he sees someone carrying a machete; but that is not the case for a foreigner. This is a valuable lesson of not assuming you know one's feeling, but by constant dialogue, we strive to understand their feeling.

Overall speaking, the whole journey is a life changing experience.

Travelling tips
- Try to immerse yourself in the culture, such as learning Kinyarwanda, visiting different museum, or even attending celebration event (e.g. umuganura day, assumption day)
- Most of the Rwandans are friendly and like talking to foreigner, be open to that kind of experience
- Some of the cities might have shortage of water or electricity supply (like few hours), be ready to that
- Motor bike is one of the common traveling means, it is mostly safe in city
- Try to negotiate the price when you are buying something from a market (but not supermarket)
- Find creative ways to overcome language barrier, since people from the old generation used to speak in Kinyarwanda and French

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

This internship was a life changing opportunity for me. The close interactions with the Nyamibrambo Women’s Center and other NGOs provided valuable first hand experience of how to begin these NGOs and how they run. On this internship I learnt so much about Rwanda and it’s people, it’s history, and resilience. I learnt to extend myself beyond my comfort zone and developed new and valuable academic skills while doing so - these include experience with editing, writing, photographing, marketing, hands on volunteer work, researching, and putting together proposals. My favorite part of the internship was writing blog posts for the women of the NWC, I was so inspired by the lady I was given to write on and learnt so much about leadership from her. The part of the internship that had the most impact on me was working with the Her Voice Matters program - I got to meet and contribute to the valuable work these women are doing to advance women both educationally and culturally in Rwanda.

How can this program be improved?
I would have like to know what exactly to expect to work on and be doing in Rwanda, and how best to prepare for it as I probably would have done so differently. However, this did not at all take away from the value of the experience.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
McKenna
10/10

I am so grateful that I decided to participate in this program. I fell in love with Rwanda and I was inspired by the many women we worked with. I definitely gained more than I was able to give. I was able to learn many new business-related skills as we interned for the Nyamirambo Women's center, as well as teamwork and leadership skills. I know that these skills will continue to be of value to me throughout my life. I enjoyed being able to interact with so many different organizations who are making a real positive impact in their communities and the lives of individuals. After participating in this program, I have a renewed desire to follow the example of the women that we worked with in finding ways to create real and sustainable change in the world by lifting and empowering others.

How can this program be improved?
It would have been nice to know a bit more specifically what kind of work I was going to be doing before actually going to Rwanda. I didn't realize until I got there how much business-related work we were going to be doing like helping the Nyamirambo Women's Center come up with new sales strategies, marketing techniques, etc. I didn't have really any experience in any of these areas so I felt a bit overwhelmed at first. But I was able to learn a lot!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Kayla
9/10

This was such an incredible program! This country and culture is unlike anything I have experienced and I really loved getting to interact with the people, and informally learning about the country as I walked through the market in Kigali.
One of the days we participated in a wonderful workshop by Generation Rise about storytelling and leadership where I was able to share my values and hear the values of the other team members, learn the correct structure of a good story, and then to hear other people’s story as well as sharing my own. I had never done any activity like this but it was crazy to see how much I learned about myself, my team members, and the people of Rwanda in such a short amount of time. The time goes so fast while you are there which was sad because I felt like I couldn't soak in everything that I want to!
One of my team members and I taught a workout class to the amazing women at the Nyamirambo Women’s Center. We split up so we were in different rooms leading at the same time. I was nervous to be on my own, but the women remembered the exercises and were so excited to get up and do them! It made me so happy because those exercises were really focusing on their health and well-being (which is what I am studying in Public Health).
I love Rwanda and all of the work we did here, my new found friends, and the countless memories!!

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

For me, the phrase, “Rwanda is people,” is something that I witnessed firsthand during my time in the country. Reality started to set in once I heard some locals share their stories about how their lives were impacted by the genocide that took place just over 20 years ago. Due to the sensitive nature of this topic, it was rare to hear people openly discuss in detail what they experienced. However, I also surprised by the willingness of some people to share their stories without any reservations. For example, one of our Rwandan coordinators from G.E.I, shared with us the story of how her family fled during the time of the genocide while she was just a small child. It was truly sobering to hear her share the small details of this experience that she still remembers. Some of the University of Rwanda students who we came to know during the internship were also open to discussing how the genocide affected their families. I think it’s important that the memory of the genocide remains within the hearts of the people – not just for grieving but also for healing. Visiting the genocide museum reinforced this idea and really helped me understand how Rwandan culture has evolved. The people in Rwanda have many great and powerful stories to tell – we just need to listen to them. This is what I tried to do during my time there. Sometimes, with a lot of preconceived notions about the people of a different country, it can be too easy to assume that you already understand the locals. But more important than talking to them, is listening to their point of view. Especially within the context of Infection Control and Prevention, I did my best to listen to what the healthcare workers had to share with us. It could have been easy for us to focus on what was lacking in certain areas regarding IPC, but instead, I think we encouraged positive interactions with the healthcare workers and emphasized the importance of improving, regardless of where you live. By listening to them, I was inspired by their utilization of the resources that were available to them. The healthcare workers were dedicated and diligent. I hope to be able to follow their examples during my own career in the medical field. I also made many friends with locals and those involved in our program. Thanks to the internet and the ease of global communication, I hope to maintain these great relationships for the rest of my life. Overall, I learned a lot from the people of Rwanda. If I were to sum it all up shortly, I would say the biggest lesson I learned from them is the importance of unity. Rwanda is not only a people, but they are one people, united to help the country progress sustainably into the future.

How can this program be improved?
One thing I would suggest to improve the program would be increasing its duration. Due to our limitations on time, we could only spend so much time in and around the different healthcare facilities. With more time available, we would get a greater exposure to different examples of the various levels of healthcare in Rwanda. This would allow us to increase our understanding of the ins and outs that the healthcare workers deal with from day to day. It can be difficult to work evaluate Infection Control and Prevention in such a short amount of time.
Yes, I recommend this program

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