Immersive Experience You Won't Regret! October 09, 2019

By (International Relations, Grand Valley State University) - abroad from 06/25/2015 to 07/13/2015 with

Global Youth Connect: Human Rights and Peace Studies in Rwanda

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned so much about what it's really like inside of refugee camps and what that struggle looks like. I also gained a very real, inside perspective on what it's like to live as a refugee and how organizations like UNHCR handle the management of these camps. I also learned so much about how different cultures view human rights.

Review Photos

Global Youth Connect: Human Rights and Peace Studies in Rwanda Photo Global Youth Connect: Human Rights and Peace Studies in Rwanda Photo Global Youth Connect: Human Rights and Peace Studies in Rwanda Photo Global Youth Connect: Human Rights and Peace Studies in Rwanda Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The coursework leading up to the in-country program required a fair amount of reading and online discussion with my peers. I found all of the readings to be interesting and informative. We had Skype conferences to talk about preparing for the trip and to discuss readings in more in-depth ways.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The GYC staff was great and really took care of us throughout our time in country. When I fell ill, they looked after me and made sure I had everything I needed. There are multiple staff available to talk to as well. The only way they could have improved was by having more orientation regarding public transportation.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Our hotels were all very nice and clean. We stayed at two hotels and had one home-share experience. Our second hotel had some trouble with electricity and running water on occasion but that is to be expected. Everywhere we stayed, we had private bathrooms and shared a room with one or two other delegates.

* Food:

The food was delicious and we were always given water for the day. I never felt hungry and it was very affordable to eat there if I decided to pick up extra snacks or drinks.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

With this program, you really get a full taste of what life is like in Rwanda. We traveled through different parts of the country and even visited a refugee camp. If you're looking for an immersive experience, I really recommend this program.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had a bad cold during the trip and needed to be seen by a doctor when a fever developed. One of the program coordinators went with me to see a doctor and it was very inexpensive. All of the program coordinators made sure I was taken care of, had the medication I needed to feel better, and checked on me constantly.

* Safety:

I felt very safe throughout my time in country. We were all given pre-paid cellphones so we could contact one another and the program coordinators. There is security everywhere and I never felt uncomfortable.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I learned so much about what I wanted academically and professionally after I participated in this program. I had experiences that greatly shaped the way I view the world and I would do it all over again if I could.

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? No

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • Host Family
  • Other
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • First-hand experiences I had (refugee camp visit, reconciliation village visit, etc.)
  • Friendships with local students
  • Intense three-week structure of the program
* What could be improved?
  • More support for students when using transportation
  • Longer visits at the refugee camps
  • Basic language lessons before arrival in country
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Packing less is better! I didn't need a lot of the things that I brought and we did move quite a bit.