CGIS: Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates (GIEU)
The Global Intercultural Experience for Undergraduates (GIEU) at the University of Michigan creates new opportunities for short-term (3 or 4 week) intercultural study of a global nature at field sites, both domestic and abroad. The program enables 12 to 15 undergraduates, led by GIEU program leaders to learn in rich cultural environments while gaining a greater understanding of global situations and processes. GIEU is part of the Center for Global and Intercultural Study.
GIEU is a year-long commitment. You do not apply to a specific site; instead, you apply for an intercultural experience. For the 2020 program, the application deadline is November 1st and the GIEU Course is in the Winter term. The field experiences last between 3-4 weeks during the spring and/or summer terms.
Student benefits include:
Academic credit and potential funding through financial aid
Dynamic multicultural teams making a difference in intercultural understanding through collaboration, partnerships, service, and networks
Development of intercultural leadership skills
Exploration of how life is affected by national, political, social, and economic issues you study
Re-imagined career possibilities
The opportunity to share your learning through new experiences on campus
2020 GIEU Program Sites
GIEU South Africa: Community Healthcare and Outreach St. Lucia, South Africa
Tentative Dates: (Group 1) - May 4 - May 31; (Group 2 if necessary) - June 2 - June 28
Experience the rich culture, unique traditions and robust diversity of South Africa! St. Lucia is a Zulu community on South Africa’s northeastern coast, situated within iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and is surrounded by 3 rural communities that struggle with a lack of resources and skilled medical staff. GIEU participants will provide support to ongoing treatment programs that have helped villagers recover from illness and disease. Students will participate in projects that may include assisting with the daily functioning of under-resourced clinics, facilitating workshops & classes designed to empower and educate local communities about nutrition and the prevention of HIV/AIDS, and community outreach projects centered on early childhood development and education.
GIEU students will learn first-hand about rural and community based healthcare, and how it impacts communities on a daily basis. Students will develop valuable tangible and intangible skills in the facilitation of this work, while also learning from one of the richest cultural histories the world has to offer. Students will NOT engage in any clinical practice or procedures with patients.
GIEU Tanzania- Education, Gender, & Community Empowerment Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Tentative Dates: (Group 1) - May 4 - May 31; (Group 2 if necessary) - June 2 - June 28
Experience the diversity of living and working next to the Maasai people, a historical tribe important to East African history but who are often neglected due to tourism being the only income and a lack of access to education.
GIEU participants will volunteer with the Mdawi community, situated in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, to gain insight into social issues and help community members address key needs that they themselves have identified. The particular initiatives involve helping young girls, teenagers, single mothers, widows, and people with disabilities build self esteem and confidence, and providing training in basic skills that they can use to further their own empowerment. Students will also assist in conducting programs that focus on English language, gender equality, and sexual and general health issues.
GIEU Vietnam—Community Development and Entrepreneurship Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tentative Dates: (Group 1) May 7 - June 4; (Group 2 if necessary) - July 9 - August 6
On the Vietnam program, you will encounter topics relevant to most developing nations— public health infrastructure, economic inequality, and the effects of war. In Ho Chi Minh City you will volunteer within 4 local community organization’s: Friends for Street Children, Thao Dan, Smile Group HIV-Positive Support Group, and Hong An Center for Disabled People. Through participation, you will gain first hand inside knowledge from daily work experience, a better understanding of how the organization operates structurally, and how it provides effective outreach to serving their local community.
GIEU Bolivia- TBD
Description to come....
Only U-M undergraduates (Ann Arbor campus) with a GPA of at least 2.0 and who will be enrolled at U-M in Winter and following Fall terms are eligible to apply. Students graduating in April or August are not eligible. Those with little travel or no field experience are strongly encouraged to apply. Students must be in good academic standing.
All participants must enroll in the STDABRD course ____ for two credits in the Winter 2020 term.
If selected,a program fee of $2,250 is billed to the student account in early February. The program fee includes onsite transportation, food, and group excursions. Payment of the total fee helps to cover a portion of on-site costs and on-campus academic and administrative costs. All LSA Pell Grant recipients who participate in GIEU can receive the GIEU Grant. The grant pays the entire program fee for GIEU but they must apply for the LSA Study Abroad Scholarship. Applicants will also be considered for other scholarships that cover travel expenses. All LSA students who are not Pell Grant recipients should apply to be considered for scholarship assistance for the GIEU program fee and travel expenses. To apply, go to the LSA Scholarship Website: lsa.umich.edu/scholarships
Non-LSA Pell Grant recipients students may be eligible for similar funding through their college or through external scholarships.
Transportation to/from field site (e.g., airline ticket and flight insurance): GIEU selects site locations of varying airline ticket price points.
Personal Incidental Expenses and Souvenirs while on-site (e.g., snacks, bottled water, toiletries, miscellaneous expenses incurred during off time such as museum fees, shows, movies)
Passport/Visa (if needed): For international sites, students must check with the local embassy to confirm the country's entry requirements. Costs may range from $30 - $300.
If selected, GIEU can provide students with links to potential travel scholarships and grants which may help cover these additional expenses and do not need to be repaid.
Actual final costs will vary from student to student, based on the project site and the student's anticipated personal expenses (e.g., airfare to Africa may be higher than airfare to Peru). The Center for Global and Intercultural Study encourages all students to share this information with people in your life who help you make decisions (parents, guardians, family members, etc.).
LSA Study Abroad Scholarship: Students should apply for the LSA Study Abroad Scholarship at the same time they apply for the program. Scholarships are granted based on financial need and may only be applied to one program per spring/summer period.
Students paying for their university experience via a Michigan Educational Trust (MET) plan may use this plan towards a CGIS study abroad program.
Program costs vary greatly among all CGIS programs and the CGIS staff recommends that you carefully review the most recent budget sheet for any program you may be interested in to see what fees/costs are involved. Please note that the itemized budget sheets are per term estimates accurate at the time of publication and are subject to change. Please check back regularly to see the most recent term costs available. If you have any questions about the costs involved for a program or how to read the budget sheet or interpret the notes, please contact the appropriate CGIS Intercultural Programs Advisor for more details and information.
Passport and Visa
For international sites, prior to departure, it is each student's responsibility to research and obtain entry/exit requirements. The consulate or embassy of your country of destination determines the visa requirements and application process for each type of visa. You can locate consular information and read about entry/exit requirements on the U.S. Department of State website.
When determining your exit/entry requirements, be sure to check each country in your travel itinerary, even if you will only be visiting for a short period. Requirements, visa types, and application fees can vary greatly based on your citizenship and individual travel plans. Please note that most consulates will require a passport to be submitted as part of the visa application. The amount of time required can also vary greatly. We recommend beginning your research early and being aware that independent travel plans may be affected by the process.
Housing options vary and are based upon program site location.
Would you like to hear about this experience from a returnee who participated in this program previously? Consult an e-advisor! E-advisors are part of the CGIS Ambassador cohort, you can reach out to them via e-mail any time and ask questions to a peer who actually knows what it will be like on-site. For this program you can reach out to:
Japan — Community Revitalization
Amay Bhansali - firstname.lastname@example.org
Angela Shi - email@example.com
Lama Badadh - firstname.lastname@example.org
Vietnam — Community Development and Entrepreneurship
Maryrose Clark - email@example.com
Katelyn Albrecht - firstname.lastname@example.org
Israel and Palestine — Conflict Resolution and Co-Resistance
Khanh Le - email@example.com
Need to Know
CGIS provides resources and information on its website to help students understand policies, procedures, and how to navigate the experience from start to finish. Refer to the Students for information related to the topics listed below, and more:
Health and Safety (travel health insurance, vaccinations/medications, self-disclosure of health information, mental health, social identities, emergencies abroad)
Policies (grades and credit, registration, billing, withdrawals)
Diversity and Access Abroad (helpful resources, LGBTQ+ identities abroad, racial and ethnic identities abroad, disabilities and accommodations)
Information for families of students participating in CGIS programs
Initial applications will be due on November 1st. Applications will be screened by a committee and selected participants will be notified of their status within 1-2 weeks.
Student Scholar Selection
GIEU aims to recruit students interested in having an intercultural experience regardless of location. The GIEU Student Selection Committee will review application submissions.
If selected, students must review and sign a Participation Agreement by early December (date TBA upon acceptance). Failure to submit the participation agreement on or before this date will result in cancellation of the student's application and their place will be given to a wait-listed student. Students who withdraw after submitting the participation agreement will still be billed and are responsible for paying the program fee in full.
Orientation will be held on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 6:00-8:00pm. This is mandatory for accepted students. Student will receive a program overview and meet with the program advisor and other program participants in the site group for first team meeting.
Will be held on Saturday, February 22, 2020. This is mandatory for accepted students.
GIEU Debrief 2020 (coming soon)
GIEU Debrief (2019) ...
Will be on Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 1:00-4:30pm.This is mandatory for accepted students.
If you withdraw from any part of the GIEU Program, you must inform the CGIS Office immediately. Withdrawals must be submitted in writing, either via email or hard copy letter only. Students who withdraw after submitting their Participation Agreement will still be billed and are responsible for paying the program fee in full. Those who withdraw later in the program year may be responsible for other program expenses up to that point.
GIEU holds its students to the highest standards of integrity and excellence. Those who fail to complete GIEU program requirements are subject to disqualification. This includes, but is not limited to:
Failure to complete all course assignments
Failure to attend full duration of the GIEU Retreat and Debrief
Failure to attend all site group meetings
Failure to complete and/or turn in all GIEU forms
Failure to be present at field site for full duration of official project dates
Misconduct at the field site
Disqualified students are not eligible for a program fee refund and will incur a "No Credit" grade for the course, as well as a penalty to recover student program costs. Disqualified students may be required to return scholarships and/or to leave the field site.
"Immersing myself in the city of Oaxaca proved that Mexico has not and cannot be a monolith. Interviewing countless artists, having coffee with politicians, rock climbing over petroglyphs, glass blowing with Germans, dancing in a Mexican jazz-folk concert, drumming in a Zócalo townhouse, visiting ruins on top of mountains, journeying into a cloud forest, trekking through agave fields, and many more experiences that could never be captured through words, I recognize the thriving diversity of Oaxaca, one of Mexico’s cultural capitals. GIEU was the ideal program for a traveler like me, someone who comes from a low income, working class family, because it pushed me to evaluate what an intercultural experience means and was project-based. My experience has changed my entire academic path for the better and has made me more passionate about working on a global platform."
- Hunter Zhao, GIEU 2015 Oaxaca, Mexico
During my GIEU trip, I found myself being challenged in ways that I had never imagined possible. On a daily basis I spoke a new language, navigated through beautiful (yet unfamiliar) territory, and observed the education system in a developing country. I forged relationships with people of a culture completely different from my own, and through our shared experiences and cultural exchange, learned that the human experience is a universal one. I can sincerely say that because of GIEU, I am a changed person -- hopefully my peers would say, changed for the better.
- Brittany Boyle, GIEU 2015 Disability in Tanzania