Global Engagement Institute

Program Reviews

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Sarah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I did a virtual internship through GEI specifically for research related to maternal and newborn health. It was a good experience, although online, it helped me learn more about Vietnam & its culture. It also gave me the opportunity to do research with other students from Vietnam. We produced a paper and a presention. My research was directed by a local professor/doctor and helped me learn much more about vietnamese culture than i anticpiated. The staff at GEI were very friendly and helpful through it all. Overall, I am glad I did this and would do it again!

Phú
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This is the first time I've ever participated in an online internship, not to mention with the American medical student. I was nervous and afraid of my English competency and medical knowledge so I was a bit hesitant. Thanks to the support from my supervisor, I decided to give it a try and it turned out beautifully. Leah - my partner was a great person to teamwork with. She is very smart and nice. On top of that, the GEI team was very supportive which helps us a lot to get through the program. I am glad that I could step out of my comfort zone and do something meaningful to give back to the society. Thank you everyone again for a very memorable and interesting experience. I am looking forward to working with you guys again!

What would you improve about this program?
I still think the program can be better if we can have more time interacting with each other beside the work. It's just about cultural exchange and stuffs so we can both learn from each other and that would help a lot to break the ice and get to know the other person on a deeper level.
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Nguyen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Engaging in GEI Internship was an eye-opening experience to me. I was not only supported by the instructors but I also broadened my horizon towards Obstetrics topics. The 4-week period enabled me to push myself more to complete such intriguing tasks and adopt more soft skills. GEI proved that it is an interesting and helpful platform to connect international students for the sake of improving overall academic levels. More important, I really appreciate the fact that participating students can create practically valuable projects and not just simply immerse ourselves in an academic environment. I hope GEI internships will be spreaded worldwide so more international students will have the chance to work together to create values for both themselves and our society.

What was your funniest moment?
The funniest part of my internship was doing and showing a Tiktok video in the final presentation.
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Liliane
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It was a great experience with enough support of staff. Though I was not used to the virtual internship, but there was enough support and motivation from the supervisor and the whole team of GEI. At first I was nervous ad afraid that something could go wrong but as times went, I felt that virtual internship is also a possible option for students and anyone who wish to do internship abroad especial in period it is not possible to do onsite internship. The whole team made sure that all that is needed is available and answered every problem in timely manner All internship goals were achieved as planned. It was a perfect internship. Thank you GEI and mHub Rwanda for making everything possible.

What was your funniest moment?
It was the moment we had a virtual coffee time (on zoom). It was funny to see how everyone with different background brought something special from his/her home country to eat. All the funniest stories and talks was amazing!
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EIlen
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This spring I had a fantastic time an intern/student in Vietnam with GEI for 3 weeks. Very smooth experience. The staff at GEI are committed to providing an easy transition and I felt very safe in their hands. They picked me up from the airport and coordinated the travel between various districts very thoroughly. They were really good about making sure I was having an educational but still fun and immersive time in places like Hi Chi Minh and Hue. The itinerary was clear and I felt like I had time in each place to learn enough, but still have a really good mix of different contexts.

I loved the mix of classroom and service learning at various district hospitals and care centres. It felt more meaningful than just volunteering, since we got to work closely with Vietnamese colleagues in order to meet their community needs. I really feel the staff and patients at the hospitals were so welcoming! The hands-on side of things was a massive help in developing practical skills in a cool setting. I had also never done storytelling as part of a public health course, so that was certainly unique. I learned a lot about infection prevention and day-to-day operations of medical facilities in different areas of Vietnam, in a way that complemented my own university education. It was interesting to compare the national health frameworks between Canada and Vietnam. Getting to talk to and work with people in the community was an invaluable experience and I really felt I learned a lot—not just about public health but about life in Vietnam.

The immersion and cultural trips were incredible. I loved the mix of trips relating to Vietnamese culture and Vietnamese nature. The food was amazing!! I really enjoyed how we got to eat some meals with local families. All in all, a great immersive experience.

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E
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This spring I had a fantastic time an intern/student in Vietnam with GEI for 3 weeks. Very smooth experience. The staff at GEI are committed to providing an easy transition and I felt very safe in their hands. They picked me up from the airport and coordinated the travel between various districts very thoroughly. They were really good about making sure I was having an educational but still fun and immersive time in places like Hi Chi Minh and Hue. The itinerary was clear and I felt like I had time in each place to learn enough, but still have a really good mix of different contexts.

I loved the mix of classroom and service learning at various district hospitals and care centres. It felt more meaningful than just volunteering, since we got to work closely with Vietnamese colleagues in order to meet their community needs. I really feel the staff and patients at the hospitals were so welcoming! The hands-on side of things was a massive help in developing practical skills in a cool setting. I had also never done storytelling as part of a public health course, so that was certainly unique. I learned a lot about infection prevention and day-to-day operations of medical facilities in different areas of Vietnam, in a way that complemented my own university education. It was interesting to compare the national health frameworks between Canada and Vietnam. Getting to talk to and work with people in the community was an invaluable experience and I really felt I learned a lot—not just about public health but about life in Vietnam.

The immersion and cultural trips were incredible. I loved the mix of trips relating to Vietnamese culture and Vietnamese nature. The food was amazing!! I really enjoyed how we got to eat some meals with local families. All in all, a great immersive experience.

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E
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Wow! Getting to do a custom internship in South Africa was a dream come true. The team at GEI worked so hard to find me a unique opportunity connecting my love for educational development and social justice, and the placement at Rainbow Academy was perfect! I had been overwhelmed by trying to choose an internship, but GEI was so accommodating about my internship that I really felt like I was in good hands. I also was able to earn transfer credits for my university program!

I was so excited to work with students and teachers in such a cool program. The combination of performing arts and entrepreneurship really opened my eyes to sustainable educational development. I got to work closely with educators and community partners to see how the school managed to develop its programs. I definitely cried when I left my students and I hope I can see them again.

The students were incredible! I fell in love with the music and dance and performance classes here. South Africa really is a Rainbow country, and the music is out of this world. I loved the food and the ambiance of Cape Town and the excursions I went on were amazing. Taking the aerial cableway to Table Mountain will remain as one of my top experiences.

I wish I had thought to stay longer and visit some of the places around South Africa! I’ve always wanted to see Namibia or Botswana but I will definitely be back. I also desperately want to stay in Addo Elephant Park—how magical!! Cape Town is such an incredible city.

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Mariah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Last year I completed my internship in Rwanda and decided that I wanted to go back to complete my capstone project again with a civil society organization. I was happy to use GEI both times that I went. They are always available if you have a question, and I enjoyed the periodic meetings with them throughout the 8 weeks I was there. We met to discuss how things were going. In addition, I found it helpful that they helped me obtain the student visa through the immigration office as I wouldn't have wanted to do that by myself. They also provide a nice map of Kigali and brochures that are filled with things to do and what restaurants to go to depending on the food you want. Kigali is also very clean and safe which was nice. I enjoyed staying with my hose family both times as well, and liked learning more about the Rwandan culture with them.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To always be open about your adventures abroad. Don't expect things to go the way you have planned, and learn to be flexible and adaptable and know that in the end everything will work out!
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Aimee
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I always knew I wanted to study abroad, but it was an overwhelming thought with all of the options of places to go, figuring out how to make it work with my university and all the little details in between. GEI helped make the entire process smooth and seamless.
This program also allowed me to grow and mature as an individual by placing myself in unfamiliar situations. I was able to experience a culture that I would never be able to find in my country, thanks to working hand in hand with local students in a rural health center. Rwanda is this tiny landlocked country in East Africa made of rolling hills, mountains, lakes and valleys and too often associated with the tragic 1994 genocide only. This country has so much to offer today! Kigali is a gorgeous city with great weather and dozens of interesting places to visit! We went to some of them during the three weeks spent there, like the Genocide Memorial. It was also very exciting to go on a safari excursion to Akagera National Park, three hours north of Kigali, with zebras, rhinos, hippos, buffalos, giraffes but we didn’t see lions, unfortunately.
I highly recommend this program to anyone interested in public or community health!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I was very surprised to see that Rwanda is such a peaceful and safe country. I was expecting much more chaos on the road, open air dumps but I discovered a very orderly and clean country instead. That taught me a great deal about prejudices :-)!
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Frank
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The experience of studying abroad gives a surreal feeling of personal growth right before your eyes. I made wonderful life-long friends from all over the world and met some incredible people. I really liked this program because there was a great balance of letting us be independent while also providing ample opportunities to see and experience Rwandan culture. People are amazingly welcoming and always curious about where you're coming from and what brought you to their country.

My favorite moment was when the woman I interviewed for an article took me in her arms at the end of the conversation and thank me for listening to her story and give power to her voice. I will remember her face expression forever.

I would have liked more time to prepare for the final presentation but otherwise, I wouldn't change anything. The class on storytelling was eye-opening for me and I will try to use stories in the future to convey important information, which is essential as I'm studying environmental sciences.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I think I would have booked a later flight to travel in the region with my fellow classmates met during the program. Some visited Uganda and others went to Kenya for a week or so.