A High-Impact Summer Past Review

By (University of North Carolina) - abroad from 06/18/2012 to 08/12/2012 with

ThinkImpact: Rwanda - Institute for Social Innovation

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I learned to think of my environment in terms of assets. I fully believe that ThinkImpact gave me the skills to accomplish any goal that I set for myself. Through self-responsibilty, collaboration, deep thinking, and risk-taking, I can create change.

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.

ThinkImpact gave me the resources to create positive change in my host community. Through immersion, collaboration, and coaching from my advisor, I lived a high-impact summer of social change.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

ThinkImpact's in-country team exceeded my expectations. The country coordinator and advisor were attentive to our needs and went above and beyond to make our experience meaningful and impactful.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I loved my host family. Be prepared to live in rustic conditions (no running water, latrines, etc.). You'll be surprised how easy this is to get used to!

* Food:

Although there was little variety in our food options, I generally liked what we were served. Our meals consisted of plantains, beans, rice, and some greens and fruit. We also drank milk tea every morning. It is very easy to be a vegetarian in the communities!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

The first portion of the program is dedicated to immersion. By living with a host family and participating in their daily activities, I felt welcomed and integrated into the local culture. I cooked, cultivated, fetched water, went to church, washed clothes, and fed the cow, among other activities.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

Any health issues were dealt with immediately by ThinkImpact staff.

* Safety:

I felt very safe in my community. My host family and team members were always looking out for my safety. However, we were advised not to go out at night.

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


* 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)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? Not including program expenses, I spent less than 10 USD per week.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

We received some Kinyarwanda training and were encouraged to practice with our families and design teams.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • 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?
  • Host Family
  • Curriculum
  • Design Team and Innovation
* What could be improved?
  • Setting Expectations
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I wish I knew how much my relationships with the community would mean to me by the end of the summer. That way, I would have started working from day one to strengthen those relationships as much as possible.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!