This SEI summer Dialogue provides Northeastern students the chance to meet and work with leading women social entrepreneurs and social innovators in India on issues ranging from gender education and rights, farming and sustainable development, rural development, social impact investing and civic engagement. Students will have the unique opportunity to observe and engage with social activists from diverse corners of Indian society. The program itinerary provides a broad exposure to the country. Student will visit six Indian states, carry out action research/consulting projects in Mumbai’s informal settlements, volunteer on sustainable farms, and experience life in the homes of Indian families.

The Social Enterprise in India Dialogue is divided into two interdependent, overlapping courses: the first course is focused on the issues of gender and development, with time spent on cultural immersion, observing the realities in urban and rural livelihoods, and applied learning of qualitative research methods in partnership with women social entrepreneurs. The second course is focused on the issues for urban slum dwellers in Mumbai, with time spent learning from business and NGO leaders in the context of deep poverty and marginalization in a mega city of more than 20 million inhabitants where more than half of the population lives in slum communities.

This dialogue is both broad and deep. It is broad in that there is extensive travel with carries students across my geographic and cultural zones of the country. It is also deep in that the consulting projects provide a deep dive into one organization, its context, its work and the challenges its staff face in accomplishing their mission. Homestays provide a chance to see the real lives of modern Indian families. These experiences are punctuated with tourist highlights like the Taj Mahal, Rishikesh and Kerala.

Group Flight Plan:

Application Procedure

  • Application Open: November 1, 2018
  • Application Deadline: January 15, 2019
Submit to GEO
  • GEO Application: All applicants must complete the GEO application. This is the first step for applying to any program.
  • $500 non-refundable deposit: Deposits must be paid through NUPay. Be sure to select the appropriate summer term.
  • Photocopy of Passport: This is to be given to your faculty leader after acceptance.
  • Faculty Interview: Faculty will schedule interviews with applicants of interest to determine acceptance. The interviews can occur anytime before the final deadline.
  • Essay Questions: Answer each question in 2-3 paragraphs (completed online via GEO application).
    • What are your personal and academic reasons for wishing to participate in this Dialogue of Civilizations program?
    • How will the program further your academic and career goals?
    • What is your previous travel and language experience, if any?
    • What courses have you taken which are directly relevant to the program?
    • Are you applying for this Dialogue to fulfill requirements for the Global Social Enterprise minor?

Applications are not considered complete until deposit is received. This deposit will be applied to the full cost of the program.

Update My Travel Plans on myNortheastern
Once you have been accepted into the program and your the flight and accommodation details have been shared with you, you are required to create an entry in My Travel Plans for the trip. Please be sure to enter the following pieces of information:
  • Personal and Emergency Contact Info
  • HealthTravel Info: Dates, flight and accommodation details, etc.
  • Passport Details: Passport number, Expiration date, Passport Country of issue, etc.

Please refer to this step-by-step user’s guide for directions on how to navigate the My Travel Plans system.

Should you fail to complete this step as directed, you may be prevented from traveling, may not receive credit for courses, and/or may be excluded from participating in other Northeastern global programs.

Eligibility Requirements

Studying abroad requires a valid passport. You may also need a visa and/or other travel documents. It is your responsibility to ensure that all your documents are valid and appropriate to the nature of your program.

Minimum Requirements
  • Minimum Cumulative GPA: 2.5
  • Minimum Semesters: Minimum of 2 completed Northeastern semesters at the time of program start date. NUin students are eligible to apply. Transfer and Global Pathways students contact GEO program coordinator for eligibility.
Other Requirements
  • Possible Student Challenges: The program is physically and emotionally challenging. The first half of the program involves constant travel, and frequent changes in location and accommodation. July and August is monsoon, so it is both hot and wet. Food borne illness is common, especially in monsoon, so students must be disciplined in their eating habits. As well, working with organizations based in communities which face extreme poverty and marginalization can be emotional draining. Students should consider their capacity to balance classwork, travel, exposure to new culture/foods, and immersion in environments of deep poverty.


The program provides an opportunity to work closely with social enterprises and NGOs in the contexts in which they operate on a day-to-day basis. Students will learn about the activities of the organization, and then go into the field to see these programs in action, to interact with beneficiaries and to assess from direct observation the effectiveness and impact of the organization and to then ask follow up questions of the organizational about details and challenges of the operation. During the consulting component of the program, students will have the opportunity to support their organization on a project the organization has created to help with analysis of a challenge they are facing.

For student pursuing the Global Social Enterprise Minor, the Dialogue is an opportunity to see social enterprises at work in a developing country context, often in locations of extreme poverty and marginalization. The consulting projects provide an opportunity for students to use and create tools based on knowledge acquired in other courses in the Minor.

Students will see a wide swath of Indian culture and learn the distinctions between the various Indian states. Working extensively in the field, students will have an opportunity to engage with a variety of stakeholders, from organizational staff, to beneficiaries, to government officials. Likewise non-academic components like homestays provide an informal opportunity for students to interact with Indian families at home, where usually three generations of live together under one roof.

  • ENTR4512 - Gender Perspectives on Integrated, Participatory Development in India : Offers a Dialogue of Civilizations course in India focusing on a social entrepreneurial journey of researching and designing sustainable solutions to social problems. This course takes a particularly deep look at challenges of gender and environment in the Indian context. The overriding premise of the course is that the inception and implementation of a social innovation begins by understanding a problem within a specific context by engaging deeply with the people who directly experience that challenge. Through a learning-by-doing approach, the course offers students an opportunity to delve into critical social problems in India by working closely alongside local counterparts, including social entrepreneurs, farmers, women, youth and NGOs.
  • ENTR4514 - Social Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking in Mumbai’s Urban Slums : Offers a Dialogue of Civilizations course in India focusing on hand on projects with social enterprises and non-governmental organizations working in Mumbai’s most disadvantaged slum communities. Utilizing small group action research/consulting projects, this course engages the challenges facing urban slum dwellers in Mumbai, such as housing, access to electricity, gender-based violence, etc, with time spent learning from community leaders in the context of deep poverty. In order to engage effectively in these contexts, the course includes study of applied methods of sustainable development practice, social entrepreneurship principles, social enterprise models and impact measurement, participator action research and human-centered design thinking.


Northeastern Tuition: $12,613
Dialogue of Civilizations Fee: $3,500
  • Northeastern Tuition and DOC Fee Includes: 8 Northeastern credits, international round-trip airfare from Boston, accommodations for program duration, international security and emergency support, and program related expenses (local transportation, field trips, excursions and group meals).


Additional Estimated Expenses: $1,134
  • Students should anticipate spending the following out of pocket expenses during the program: $909 on meals and $225 on incidentals.

GEO offers scholarships and grants for students studying abroad on Dialogue of Civilizations programs. Please visit our Scholarships page for more info!


Additional Resources
  • Tentative Itinerary : This is a tentative itinerary for the DOC. A finalize itinerary will be supplied by your professor in Spring 2019.


We start in New Delhi, the capital, to meet with a leading woman activist and author, as well as a film director, and take an historical tour of the city and begin our immersion into Indian culture. Our class time in Delhi will prepare us for research assignments and storytelling with women and girls as leaders of India’s development. From Delhi, our next stop is Lucknow, in Uttar Pradesh, where we will work with a woman social entrepreneur and Ashoka Fellow, who is leading the way in educating girls and boys about gender rights, critical dialogue and using education as a tool for track learning outcomes to life outcomes.
The two weeks in Mumbai will entail urban immersion and rigorous teamwork on a range of exciting projects around education, mobile health technology, sanitation, food security, land rights, and employment in the Dharavi slums and surrounding slums. Mumbai is the most social entrepreneurial city in India, with a vibrant informal economy. The trip concludes with four days in beautiful Kerala, at the Southern trip of India, where we will learn about their strong gender focus and unique social development
policies, spend the night on a house boat, and enjoy their delicious food, Ayurvedic treatments and lovely beaches. Our final reflection and evaluation will be in this relaxing and nourishing setting, and then we fly home from Kochi to Boston. Vinyasa Yoga (flow) and meditation will be offered every morning during the program.

The U.S. State Department lists travel advisories, local laws, alerts from the embassy, and other important information about India here. Please review this information before applying.


  • Hotel and Hostel: All housing is shared (two people to a room) in either three or four star Indian hotels, and a very modern YWCA in Mumbai; most have WIFI and all have breakfast included, bottled drinking water, equipped bathrooms with warm running water, laundry services, and optional yoga classes every morning. Disability access can be arranged in all locations with advance notice.

Host University or Organization

One of our hosts is the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Mumbai

The Centre for Social Entrepreneurship came into existence after careful thought about the emerging needs of wider society to develop change leaders in the field of social sectors to create enterprises with social purpose. The two-year, full time, Master of Arts in Social Entrepreneurship (MA in SE) aims at training and developing change leaders who contribute to social progress. Students are expected to emerge as social entrepreneurs themselves in collaboration with the state, market and civil society institutions. A distinctive feature of the course curriculum is its inductive pedagogy blending classroom teaching and experiential learning through block fieldwork, assignments finding innovative solutions to social problems individually and through group exercises, in-depth examination of the strengths and weaknesses of social entrepreneurial activities across the world, interacting with successful social entrepreneurs.

Faculty Advisor