Go ED. Study Abroad

Go ED. Study Abroad

About

Go ED. Study Abroad has programs in Rwanda and Thailand with classes focused on human trafficking, transformational development, poverty alleviation, culture, and reconciliation. Students also participate in a 4 week practicum in groups of two where they can observe first hand the work of various organizations with minority groups, orphans, displaced peoples, local villages, and work in situations related to their major such as nursing, education, business, photography, digital media, international development, sustainability, TESOL, and journalism. Emphasis is placed on students understanding their role in owning and ending poverty and engaging the culture through forming relationships.

Website
go-ed.org
Founded
2006

Reviews

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

Choosing a program that would give me liberty to engage with the REAL people and place where I studied was my goal. I never dreamed Go ED. would go above and beyond this expectation, impacting my life for years to come. It did.

It is often said that the best "development work" is accomplished through walking a mile in the shoes of the recipients or beneficiaries, not just inviting them to participate but truly depending on them to both partner and inform the work and process. It is this togetherness that leads to impact with dignity for all involved. It is that "walk a mile in their shoes" approach that results in something deeper than just project outcomes.

With this approach at its core, the Go ED. Study Abroad semester in Rwanda challenges students' worldviews. It supports them in the process of dismantling the former and distilling the new, resulting in a transformed posture altogether. This is achieved through confronting some of the harshest realities of the human condition through close academic study, first-hand educational experiences, and engagement with both glaring poverty and vibrant culture - as if you literally stepped into the shoes of an East African man or woman.

The Go. ED program ultimately left me with a new value system. Values that transcend culture; values that anchor oneself in authentic solidarity with the little understood nor appreciated majority of the world - those too often just labeled as "the poor". It was as a result of these values, the overall experience and education of Go ED., and resulting transformation I underwent that led me back to Rwanda to partner with people there to create a successfully operating social business.

Without the Go ED. Study Abroad Semester, I would not be the same person I am today, with the tremendous privilege to apply what I've learned, producing fruit far beyond what I ever dreamed it would bear!

What would you improve about this program?
If I could, I would suggest some minor changes concerning coursework. To add to an already diverse curriculum of studies, I would add options for technical areas of experience/internship and/or observation, in areas such as business and entrepreneurship.
Leah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It's not just about riding elephants in the jungle, visiting beautiful temples, eating amazing food, living in Thai villages, partaking in the activities of the different villages: harvesting rice, picking coffee, petting monkeys…
There are many amazing, fun stories to be told about the jungle, the tribal people, like rides in the back of a truck to go up to the farm at the top of the hill or funny foot massage stories.
What made this program so special was the Truth. The Inspiration.
The Connection.
Go Ed is a Transformational Experience. It is organic. It is intense and pushes you to the limits not in that harsh, tense way but in the way a blossom comes from a seed. Go Ed embeds you into a community, you become a community thanks to the strong structures of Love and Truth that are in place. Never have I been so truly inspired from the depth of the core of myself. Go Ed is about Community Development and YOU experience this firsthand as you are the Community of Go Ed.
The Program is constructed in a way that you are challenged and lifted up to be a creative actor of change! You are equipped through this Program and the wide range of vibrant experiences that come with it to to engage with important issues in a multidimensional way.
My experience at Go Ed changed me. Or perhaps what is more accurate to say is that it refined me. I accepted and grew in my relationship with God, with my fellow American students/christians, with myself in a way that I was not expecting. To me it is a testimony that God honors the desires of your heart. For me, it has to do with hearing the cry of the hopeless, speaking the words of the speechless, empowering, witnessing and bridging people to one another. God brought together all the elements of the reaction that He wanted and I needed and could never have fathomed. I am filled with gratitude. The only difficulty now is finding a graduate program that can measure up to the standards Go Ed set!

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

This program was absolutely fantastic. It was certainly an academic experience, but it was also a personal one. My time in Rwanda was transformational. I learned about culture, history, about poverty, about myself. The depth and beauty of my relationships formed from this experience are permanently engrained in my heart.

Day to day, we went to classes, traveled to the market, hung out with friends, explored Kigali. I think the highlight of the semester was spending a month in the Eastern Province interning with an organization that helped vulnerable youth from the cities. These guys became my brothers, and they taught me a lot about understanding my reality and taking joy in life. Incredible experiences from dancing in the rain to drawing to having Bible studies with them - unforgettable.

My classes were rigorous, but I still had enough time to explore downtown and beyond. A few of us traveled to Gisenyi in the Northern Province one weekend, and to other parts of Rwanda in the rest of the semester to visit friends.

All in all, I cannot recommend this program enough. Prepare for a life-changing, challenging, and absolutely beautiful experience abroad.

What would you improve about this program?
It's hard to say what I would change about this program - I had such a unique experience and I can't really imagine it any other way.
Default avatar
kate
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Choosing to study abroad with the Go ED. Mekong program in Thailand was easily the best decision I have ever made. One of my favorite parts about the program was the exposure to culture. Housing is provided on a campus where members of the Lahu hilltribe live and go to school. We had the opportunity to interact with them on a daily basis, and they included us in their community by teaching us how to harvest rice and backstrap weave.We also had the chance to go to several villages and do a homestay overnight. Visits to local temples were numerous, as were learned about the dominant religion of the country: Buddhism. The fabulous cook prepares delicious and authentic Thai dishes, and there are plenty of opportunities to travel into the city of Chiang Mai and explore.

As by the program's nature, I was challenged both intellectually and spiritually by the topics that were discussed in class. My worldview has been molded as I have internalized and dealt with these issues. The professors act as a great support system, as they offer their insights and knowledge in their respective studies.

Beyond the classroom lies the opportunity to explore and experience Thailand. A month-long Practicum gives students the chance to live with their peers while working alongside local organizations in different areas of the country. Trips include an elephant ride in Chiang Rai, a visit to the beautiful beaches of Phuket, an exploration of Bangkok, and an unforgettable night at Loi Kratong, the lantern festival. There's always plenty to do, whether its bamboo rafting or just hanging out at the nearby coffee shop and getting a foot massage.

Go ED. is more than just a semester abroad. I have developed relationships with the 5 other students that I studied with which has helped immensely in my transition to living back in the States. The Student Life Coordinators and Program Directors are encouraging and open to discussion as I continue to process my experience. The things that Go ED. exposed me to really did change me as a person.I cherish the time that I spent in Thailand.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish there was a place in the US where alumni could meet and share their experiences.
Default avatar
annie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Our classes are divided into thirds: we have 2 classes the 1st month, our practicum in the middle and 2 classes for the last month. We spend a lot of time doing field work and seeing museums and temples in Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. We also have spent a considerable amount of time in some of the villages in the very northern part of Thailand. One of the reasons I love this program so much is because we are put in settings that are difficult, that are truly gut-wrenching. These experiences make you think, and makes you feel emotions that are some what uncomfortable. Yet, this has been one of my favorite experiences--being in these uncomfortable situations because those are the places where I grow the most.

In GO ED, our main focus is on poverty alleviation and community development. I feel that this program has a great balance: 1-allowing us to engage in what we are learning about, see poverty first hand, see exploitation and 2-have people around us we we can talk to and journey through our experiences here, where we are free to express ourselves, whatever it is we're thinking and feeling.

I will always remember my time abroad in Thailand. This experience will not just leave when I board my flight back to the USA. This experience has changed me and has inspired me to use everything I have learned in my future endeavors.

What would you improve about this program?
More organization, as in knowing what specific plans are more in advance.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Arley is a 22 year old, who studied abroad through GoED Rwanda from early January in 2012 to early May of 2012. He is a native of upstate New York, from a small town named Hammondsport. Arley studied at Greenville College in Southern Illinois, and is currently interning with Invisible Children in San Diego, CA while freelancing in motion design and animation on the side.

Why did you decide to study abroad with Go ED in Rwanda?

I decided to study abroad with GoED in Rwanda because I had always wanted to travel abroad, and because Rwanda had experienced and dealt with issues of genocide, reconciliation, and justice, which are issues that are near and dear to my heart. I wanted to see and experience a different culture, and based on what I knew of GoED, it would truly be an immersive, challenging, and eye-opening time. I gave it some prayer, and it became obvious that this was to be an excellent investment of my time in terms of experience, academics, and vocational growth. I wasn't disappointed.

How has this experience impacted your future?

GoED Rwanda has affected the course of my life in ways that words can't really describe. Personally, I have understood in richly the ways in which we, as human beings all share poverty. Some poverty is manifested materially, some spiritually - I feel as if I know now, because of my time Rwanda, just how deeply impoverished I and everyone else is before God, and how deep my my need of him is. One experience I had while I was there was when I stood at a mass grave from Rwanda's genocide for a while... Moments like those set my heart on ending global injustice and promoting peace and liberty with every fiber of my being for the rest of my existence.

I know now that my drive to see justice and truth in the world is what will guide my career path. The cross cultural experiences I had in Rwanda were immensely positive academically as well. Upon returning to my home school in Illinois, I was pleased to see how my worldview was more well-rounded, and that my experiences were incredible assets in the classroom. All in all, Rwanda was a place where I grew as an academic, becoming more well-rounded, and as an individual, becoming more holistic, culturally aware, and mindful of my place in this world.

Tell us about an experience you had that you could not have had at home

One experience that I had that there's no way I could have had at home was when I interned with a reintegration center for vulnerable youth in the Eastern Province. There I created videos and other media for the nonprofit organization that would eventually help raise funds for the center. The most rewarding and beautiful part of this experience, however, was the time I spent making friends with the kids. By the end of the internship, I felt like I had new family. I still keep in contact with my brothers from the center, and still am astonished by how beautiful the experience was in the relational sense, and what an asset to my portfolio and resume my work at the center was vocationally. I would not have been able to have as wild and rewarding an experience as this anywhere else.

What is one piece of advice you'd give future students?

A piece of advice that I'd give to future GoED students is to invest deeply in your time in Rwanda. The more you put into your time there, the more you will get out - go exploring. Talk to locals. Take weekend trips to other parts of the country (some of my best memories were made doing this). Make sure that you not only learn with your head, but learn with your emotions as well. If you let the people and culture of Rwanda move, change, and motivate you, you won't be disappointed. My life has forever been enriched by falling in love with that place.

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