During the Pre-Departure Coursework and Final Summit, the GESI staff will coordinate meals and group living arrangements in order for students to connect with their team and other GESI participants before departing for their in-country experience. While abroad, students live with carefully selected homestay families. Learn more about your stay below.

Pre-Departure and Final Summit

  • Summer
  • Fall

Pre Departure*
During the Pre-Departure Coursework, GESI students will stay in downtown Chicago at Hosteling International Chicago in shared-rooms with other GESI students. Meals are provided.

In Country Immersion
Once in-country, students will be picked-up by site teams and taken to a local hotel or guesthouse for orientation. After orientation, students will be placed with their carefully selected homestay family for the duration of their time abroad. Homestay families provide a room, meals, and company for each student.

Final Reflection Summit*
Upon return from their host countries, students will return to stay in downtown Chicago at Hosteling International Chicago in shared-rooms with other GESI students. Meals are provided.

*Since the two summits offer valuable opportunities for group bonding, we encourage students to stay with the group. However, with advanced notice, we allow students to stay with family or friends during either or both of these summits. Please note that students who do not stay with the group are still responsible for paying the full program fee, and they are still required to be present and punctual for all classes and activities.

Pre Departure*
During the Pre-Departure Coursework, GESI students will stay together in a hotel coordinated by the GESI staff. Meals are also provided. More information will follow.

In Country Immersion
Once in-country, students will be picked-up by site teams and taken to a local hotel or guesthouse for orientation. After orientation, students will be placed with their carefully selected homestay family for the duration of their time abroad. Homestay families provide a room, meals, and company for each student.

Final Reflection Summit*
Upon return from their host countries, students will return to stay in the same location as Pre-Departure Coursework. Meals provided. More information will follow.

*Since the two summits offer valuable opportunities for group bonding, we encourage students to stay with the group. However, with advanced notice, we allow students to stay with family or friends during either or both of these summits. Please note that students who do not stay with the group are still responsible for paying the full program fee, and they are still required to be present and punctual for all classes and activities.

In-Country

While in-country, students stay with carefully vetted local community homestay families. Amenities at homestays vary by country and household; however, all families are expected to provide a bed, safe drinking water and food, and generally sanitary living conditions for students. Electricity and running water may not be available at all sites. When possible, each GESI student will be placed in his or her own individual homestay unless a student indicates a special reason for wishing to be placed with another student or unless circumstances at the site do not enable students to be placed individually.

Our on-the-ground partners have strong relationships with many families in the host communities, and most of the families where students will be living have hosted interns in the past. All families are thoroughly vetted via the GESI, FSD, Social Entrepreneur Corps, and Amizade network in-country to ensure that they will provide safe accommodations.

Our partners also meet and train each family to ensure that they understand their role as a host family. In general, families are incredibly welcoming and accommodating to students’ needs. However, it is also up to students to make wise decisions about their own safety and to follow established security procedures. Although all sites are selected with certain safety and security criteria, living and working in a developing country requires vigilance. Strategies for keeping safe abroad will be discussed during the pre-departure preparation, as well as with the FSD, Social Entrepreneur Corps, or Amizade site team upon arriving in-country.

Students are expected to behave as part of their homestay family and should treat all members of the family with respect. While the homestay families will do their part to be welcoming and accommodating to students’ needs, students should make every effort to integrate into the family by treating the family with courtesy, abiding by household rules, exhibiting flexibility, and investing in relationships with family members. Building relationships with homestay families is among the lasting rewards of the GESI program.