Partner with real communities, learn by doing, have the experience of a lifetime


Argentina  *   India  *  Uganda

Applications accepted on a rolling basis until March 2

Undergraduate leadership training in international community development


Earn Northwestern University course credit this summer for designing projects with NGOs:

Microfinance, community development, youth and education, hygiene education, environment, social enterprise

Contact the GESI Program at the Northwestern Center for Global Engagement

Program Overview:

The Global Engagement Summer Institute (GESI) is a two-course summer study abroad program focused on community development in a global context and will send students to Argentina; India; and Uganda. Students from around the country learn about international development, project management, leadership, and the realities of contemporary Argentinean, Indian, or Ugandan life by connecting them with community based organizations to co-design and collaboratively implement a small-scale community development project.

GESI starts with a 7-10 day training institute at Northwestern University in which students prepare for their project-based immersion by taking two courses—Intro to International Community Development and Theory and Practice of Community Consulting—as well as learning from guest speakers about the cultural, historical, political, and economic background of their country. Students then spend seven weeks in either Argentina, India, or Uganda living in homestays, working with a local non profit in a team of five, and participating in guest lectures and discussion with local experts and a Northwestern TA. The Foundation for Sustainable Development ( will be in charge of overseeing student projects, setting up home stays, overseeing all orientation, cultural, health, and security concerns, and managing relationships with NGOs. GESI concludes with a 2-3 day comparative final summit in Chicago.  As GESI alumni, CGE will actively work to help students find internships and jobs in the development sector.

The Global Engagement Summer Institute program builds on Northwestern’s successful Engage Uganda program, which for the last two years has sent students to learn about team-based community development in Uganda over the last two years. It has been designed in collaboration with faculty from the Northwestern Asset-Based Community Development Institute, Engage Uganda faculty and staff, country- and issue- specific Northwestern faculty experts, and the Foundation for Sustainable Development, which has been a partner in our Engage Uganda program.

For more information, visit or contact Program Staff at

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