Bolivia is home to the Andes Mountains, Amazonian rainforests, and Lake Titicaca. Despite its economic potential, Bolivia is the poorest country in South America due to corruption and the exploitation of resources by foreign investors. GESI students work in and around the city of Cochabamba, the third largest city in Bolivia in a valley nearly 9,000 feet above sea level. Cochabamba is home to La Cancha - the largest open-air market in South America. The city’s vibrant grassroots political community and strong indigenous culture make this site perfect for students interested in cementing their Spanish skills while working in multiethnic settings.
Despite significant growth in India’s national economy and its mounting presence on the world stage, an astounding 80 percent of India’s citizens live on less than two dollars per day. Udaipur is an ideal setting for GESI students to collaborate with local organizations who work with populations mired in poverty yet determined for a brighter future.
Though the region is well known for its volcanic features and beautiful lakes, residents of Ciudad Sandino experience poor infrastructure, low socioeconomic status, and few opportunities to improve their situation. Nicaragua is an exciting location for participants who desire to implement innovative approaches to participatory development in collaboration with local organizations.
Famous for its beautiful white sand beaches and diverse ecosystems, the Dominican Republic has a history that includes cruel dictators, three centuries of colonial rule, and devastation wrought by hurricanes. Although the nation boasts a booming tourist industry and has the second largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American regions, communities struggle with environmental degradation, unemployment, corruption, and infrastructural challenges. With a focus on social entrepreneurship, GESI students will participate in grassroots development by partnering with Dominican communities to create first-time access to life-changing technologies, products, and services for rural communities through locally-owned, managed, and profitable entrepreneurial solutions.
The South Africa program differs from other GESI sites in that it has a distinct thematic focus on social entrepreneurship and requires total immersion in remote communities. Students collaborate with local people to understand their strengths and assets, and then together the groups discover and develop opportunities for new socially-driven businesses and initiatives.
With seventy-five percent of the workforce engaged in agriculture, Kenyan farmers face growing problems of soil erosion, deforestation, water pollution, and desertification. Students interested in understanding connections between local people and their environment will find this a perfect location to work with citizens and NGOs to do community development.
Jinja is relatively small, making most places accessible by foot or by bicycle. Citizens face challenges ranging from poverty to climate change - GESI participants will have the exciting opportunity to work alongside Ugandan-led NGOs focusing on these and a host of development issues.