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Students serving in Rwanda Student overlooking mountains Dinner by the water Carter at Crater Lake Foggy mountains



Immerse yourself in the development initiatives transforming one of the most hopeful countries in Africa. This seminar introduces students to the needs of the poor and the diverse models (non-profit, government and business) that have emerged to address those needs. Class sessions are dedicated to deepening our understanding of Rwanda since the tragic genocide of 1994. Speakers and host organizations share lessons from the development frontier in this beautiful ‘land of a thousand hills’.

Rwanda: Expected Summer 2020


Experience first-hand the needs and solutions of developing markets

Social Enterprise
Learn directly from the development experts on entrepreneurial solutions of alleviating poverty

Put knowledge and compassion to use through on-site service learning


Rwanda represents an ideal location for development experts to engage. Because it is a poor country but one of the safest and most stable parts of the African continent, it represents an attractive place to test development impact. The last two decades have shown remarkable progress in Rwanda, and many of the most promising efforts are already being replicated in other developing countries. There is perhaps no more accessible and hopeful location to study the effects of a variety of development initiatives all in one place.


This seminar in developing enterprises will:

  • Introduce students to the people, organizations and pressing issues of one of the most hopeful and promising countries on the development frontier
  • Immerse students in the concepts and movement categorized by the term ‘social enterprise’
  • Foster the empathy and the capacity to listen in order to take in, evaluate and articulately engage in individual and group discussions and projects
  • Allow students the chance to engage and compare over 30 different development organizations, and select one or more most aligned to their own career ambitions for immersive engagement
  • Illustrate the power of entrepreneurial thinking and sustainability across all segments of development
  • Invite students to critically consider, and learn how to reasonably respond to, the real-world complexity of such work
  • Navigate sensitively the emotional, moral and social concerns involved when working in emerging markets and with marginalized people.

On campus: Before departure, students are required to participate in two preparatory class meetings; assigned readings & discussion (materials will be available for those choosing to participate from locations other than Gordon College’s campus).

On the ground:

  • Week 1-2: students spend each morning in a class seminar hosted by faculty, followed by one or two guest speakers. In the afternoons, the group will travel to key organizations and cultural locations in and around the urban setting of Kigali. Knowledge and skills for engaging Rwanda independently will be developed.
  • Week 3: students will immerse themselves at the organization they were introduced to in the prior weeks. Venture pitches will be made to faculty and development professionals. Additional organizations and cultural sites will be visited prior to a final weekend retreat offering time to debrief prior to departure.
  • Weekend Retreats: trekking volcanos, beach outings and safari adventures
  • Optional: summer internship for those seeking to stay and work with the organizations they chose after the seminar is completed.

Once students are exposed to more than 30 organizations, each student will be afforded the opportunity to embark on a short immersion experience at their chosen organization. Students will be responsible for readings, essays & journals, class presentations and participation. 

Course Registration
The GEO will notify seminar participants when they are able to register.

Students wishing to fulfill Global Understanding Thematic core through participation in the Rwanda Seminar must:

  • Participate in COR210 & 211 New Perspectives in Global Understanding 1 and 2 (0-credit) Lab fees apply
  • Register with the GEO for April's COR210 class & for September's COR211. Lab fees apply


Total program cost including non-refundable deposit is approximately $5,000. This covers:

  • tuition for 4 credits
  • program costs including:
    • room
    • board
    • entrance fees
    • course reader
    • in-country transportation
    • international medical & emergency insurance
  • roundtrip airfare (approximately $1,300)

A $30 non-refundable application fee must accompany the application. The remainder will be billed to student accounts. Full details available from Student Financial Services.

Students are responsible for obtaining their passports well in advance of the seminar. Passport numbers required for travel reservations in mid-February.

Students are also responsible for securing any needed immunizations. Go to the CDC website for Rwanda.


Please note, applications will be considered for acceptance in the order received. Applicants should:

  • Have a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA
  • Complete online application
  • Submit a Student Affairs Reference (if applying as a Freshman or rising Sophomore)
  • Have an interview with the Global Education Office
  • Submit a non-refundable $30 application fee
  • Submit a $450 program deposit within 10 days of acceptance

Non-Gordon students interested in applying to ISE291:

Applications will not be considered complete until all materials have been received. Send application fee and all printed forms to:

Gordon College
Global Education Office
255 Grapevine Road
Wenham, MA 01984 


For further information contact:
The Global Education Office
P 978 867 4399

“The Rwanda Seminar is one of the greatest opportunities offered to students at Gordon. Nowhere else have I learned so intensely; developed my professional and personal understanding of the world; met so many inspiring and challenging people; or seen such beautiful places! This seminar is an exceptional program. I was so impressed with the thought-provoking and far-reaching program structure. I loved the interactive nature of this learning experience because we expanded our understanding exponentially by going to the businesses, government offices, NGO’s, and community spaces founded by people committed to Rwanda’s development. I know the lessons I learned will positively influence my opinions, goals, and career path; they already have begun to.”

—Gabrielle Perkins, Senior, Economics & French Major