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Detailed information about this program is shown below.
  • Locations: Cape Town, South Africa
  • Program Terms: Spring and/or Summer
  • Homepage: Click to visit
  • Restrictions: UM applicants only
  • This program is currently not accepting applications, please see Dates & Deadlines or contact the sponsoring office for more information.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Class Standing: Graduate Student, Professional Student Click here for a definition of this term Experience Type: Study/Education, Volunteer/Community Service, Work/Internship
Click here for a definition of this term Foreign Language Required: No
Program Description:
Information logo

UMSI Global Information Engagement Program
2019 Cape Town, South Africa

The need for innovative information management and tools is a global challenge.


Cape Town Aerial View

The Global Information Engagement Program (GIEP) partners South African-based non-profit organizations with teams of interdisciplinary graduate students from the University of Michigan. The objective of GIEP is to leverage appropriate technology and information management skills and tools to address a contemporary social concern.
Students will scope their projects in a Winter semester half-term course, then spend two months in Cape Town, South Africa working full-time to address their information challenge by partnering with an organization to adopt a user-centric, capacity-building solution.

Information sessions are offered on the following dates and times (all sessions are located in the UMSI Engagement Center, 777 N. University, above Panera):

  • Friday, January 11, 2019, 12:00 - 1:00 pm
  • Wednesday, January 16, 2019, 12:00 - 1:00 pm
Indicate your interest in GIEP here


Graduate students from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor are eligible to apply. Projects require a range of skill sets and knowledge, so students from all programs are encouraged to participate and will have the opportunity to share novel experiences and expertise. Students selected for the program will work in multi-disciplinary groups of three to four and will primarily come from the School of Information, the sponsoring academic unit.

  • Students must be currently enrolled graduate students in the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
  • Students must be in good academic standing
  • Students must be in possession of a valid Passport that does not expire in 2019 and is valid for at least 6 months after the end of the program, with two blank pages at time of travel
  • Students are required to enroll in SI 688 for six (6) credits in the Winter term 
  • Students must be willing to go to Chicago (international students may have additional requirements to fulfill) to obtain a volunteer visa to enter South Africa, if required by the consulate
  • Students must be able to attend a three-hour class that runs on Thursdays 9:00 am - 12:00 pm from March through April 2019
  • Students must be able to commit to the on-site engagement in Cape Town between May 7 through June 28, 2019
  • Graduate students planning to graduate in April 2019 are eligible and encouraged to apply.
Potential applicants are encouraged to attend a School of Information Community Engagement Orientation prior to application (and attendance at an orientation is required if admitted). Orientations are held in the UMSI Engagement Center (777 N. University, Above Panera) on the following dates:
  • Wednesday, January 9th, 12:00 - 1:00 pm
  • Tuesday, February 5th, 12:00 - 1:00 pm
  • Tuesday, March 12th, 12:00 - 1:00 pm


Course Enrollment and Credit

SI 688: Students will receive six (6) credits for pre-departure activities and the in-country experience through enrollment in SI 688: Global Information Engagement Program, in the Winter term. Enrollment in the course for six credits is required (it is not possible to enroll in fewer than six credits). Students will receive a "Y" on their transcript until course completion in July 2019. Grading will be Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory. Graduating students are allowed and encouraged to enroll; official graduation for graduating students will be in August 2019. Graduating international students who have completed the minimum UMSI internship requirement of six credits and all other course requirements are not eligible to participate.

Winter 2019 SI 688 Course Schedule: Thursdays, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm in North Quad (note that this is a half-term course that begins meeting in March after U-M's spring break).

Language of instruction: English


2019 GIEP Projects:

View more information on the student experience from 2014-2018 programs at the UMSI GIEP website and the GIEP Seelio gallery.

View the 2019 GIEP Information Session Slides here


There is no program fee for GIEP. The School of Information will provide international airfare, lodging in Cape Town, and support for in-country transportation and meals required for project success. If selected to participate, students will be expected to cover personal expenses such as personal travel, passport, visa, and immunization costs, if necessary. Students will also receive a modest in-country stipend of around $850 to cover other out-of-pocket necessities.

Passport and Visa

Students are required to possess a valid passport to participate in the program that does not expire in 2019 and has two blank pages. The School of Information will assist in the obtainment of entry/exit requirements; however, all students may be required to go to Chicago (or another South African Consulate) to obtain a visa.  The official embassy of your destination country, based on the nationality of your passport, determines the visa requirements and application process for each type of visa. Students are required to provide the necessary information in a timely manner as requested in order to ensure participation.

For more information on travel documents and pre-departure preparation, visit Students Abroad, a website created by the US Department of State just for students.

Application Procedures

Application Timeline

  • December 14, 2018: Application opens
  • January 27, 2019: Application deadline
  • Early February 2019: A pool of applicants are invited for an interview with GIEP program managers
  • Mid-February 2019: Students will be notified of admissions decisions; admitted students will have approximately one week to accept or decline
  • March - April 2019: (starting after U-M's Spring Break) Students meet weekly in SI 688 on Thursdays 9:00 am to 12:00 pm 
  • May 7 - June 29, 2019: Students are in Cape Town, South Africa for 8 weeks

Student selection

  • Students will be selected based on overall quality of application, program and project fit, and ability to commit to participate
  • Students must be able to demonstrate the ability to work in a team setting, under tight deadlines, and demonstrate adaptability in a range of situations

Participants and project matching

Program design and capacity allows for approximately 15-18 University of Michigan graduate students primarily from the School of Information to travel to South Africa. Graduate students from all areas of the university are encouraged to apply to round out skill sets. Student teams will be matched to projects based on application, skill set, and interest. The application process is competitive and there are no guarantees for acceptance into the program.


Students will be housed in loft-style shared apartments in Observatory, Cape Town, South Africa. Each student will have their own room, but share common spaces such as kitchen and living room. Note that in order to include a greater number of students in the program, students may be asked to share larger rooms.

Contact Information

Students interested in learning more about this program can sign up for updates on the GIEP Interest Form.

Jill Coughlin, UMSI Intercultural and Global Engagement Program Manager
Email: | Phone: 734-647-8799
Schedule appointments on iTrack
University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI)
Office of Professional and Community Engagement (OPCE)
UMSI Engagement Center | 2nd Floor 
777 North University Ave 
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1611
GIEP Website


Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring and/or Summer 2019 01/27/2019
Rolling Admission 05/07/2019 06/29/2019

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Applicants will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.

Indicates that deadline has passed

This program is currently not accepting applications, please see Dates & Deadlines or contact the sponsoring office for more information.