Work alongside women Ashoka Fellows and other social entrepreneurs, community activist, impact investors, development leaders, NGOs and social enterprises. Immerse yourself in the challenging work of gender and development in the largest urban slum in the world, stay with Indian families overnight, and work in teams on a design thinking project for a local partner with measurable social impact. Learn about Indian philosophy, yoga, meditation, traditional medicine and appreciate the exposure to different faith traditions.
Visit the Taj Mahal, sail overnight on a houseboat seeing agricultural life along the river, take an overnight train, enjoy a Himalayan trek, learn traditional dance and Ayurvedic cooking, as well as daily yoga and meditation. Hear from special guests speakers across industries and sectors on a range of topics. Being physically fit is important as we will be hiking in the mountains, working in very poor, dirty slums during monsoon season, and taking local Indian transportation. We ask participants to self-reflect very often, be mindful and silent at certain points, and go for large stretches without access to WiFi. We work alongside very fragile communities, so participants will need to practice deep empathy, cultural humility, and be able to put others first on a daily basis. Join us and engage in the mysteries and beauty of India which exist alongside extreme poverty, sickness, discrimination, and all of the many contradictions inherent in the world's largest democracy. You'll be guided in this process from two seasoned development practitioners with years of experience on several continents.

Application Procedure

  • Application Open: October 20, 2017
  • * Priority Deadline: December 3, 2017
  • Application Deadline: February 1, 2018
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 between the priority and 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?
    • What experience do you have with community engagement? Describe a circumstance when you weren’t sure what the correct response was to a culturally sensitive situation.

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

* Priority Deadline: All students that apply by the priority deadline will be considered for admission, as all dialogues remain open until the priority deadline. After the priority deadline, applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until the program fills. Programs are subject to close anytime between the priority deadline and the application deadline when a program receives the maximum number of students.

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: 2.7
  • Minimum Semesters: Minimum of 2 completed Northeastern semesters at the time of program start date. NUin students are eligible to apply during their first semester on the Boston campus. Transfer and Global Pathways students contact GEO program coordinator for eligibility.
Other Requirements
  • : This Dialogue is primarily for students in one of three categories: 1) have a Minor in Global Social Entrepreneurship, or are in the process of applying for the Minor, 2) who have a Concentration in Social Entrepreneurship, 3) who have taken 2206 or another SEI course. All other students who apply will be given due consideration, and we are particularly interested in students from international affairs, engineering, human services, sociology, political science, economics, and computer science.


Conduct research with social enterprises and pitch investors who may want to financially support the organization. Do not just study social entrepreneurship, learn from social entrepreneurs. Do not just study development, hear from practitioners about why development is hard. Work on projects designed by local partners to fulfill a real need. Constantly apply your skills and knowledge in the local context. By experiencing deep poverty and the gender and political complexities in India, learn more about yourself, and this builds character and cultural humility, which are indispensable skills in any career.

  • ENTR4512 - Gender Perspectives on Integrated, Participatory Development in India : This unique SEI/DMSB Dialogue provides Northeastern students the chance to meet and work with leading women social entrepreneurs in India on issues ranging from gender education of girls and boys, waste management and ecology, microfinance, mobile health technology, impact investing, film arts, and civic engagement. In a society where inequality, injustice, and disrespect toward women and girls often prevails, and in the most populous democracy in the world of over 1.2 billion people, women are demonstrating in simple terms and through bold actions that there can be no meaningful development in India without the full participation of all its people. Social entrepreneurs are people who refuse to stop imagining life differently, and they work mindfully and tirelessly for the growth and development of themselves, their communities, and their country. Through these women social entrepreneurs, India is realizing and shaping her future, as each woman leader imbues this great nation with a vibrant and vital force. Students can learn a great deal from observing and engaging with practitioners in their daily work to improve people’s lives. From capturing stories, to designing monitoring and evaluation tools, to collecting data on community engagement, this course will expose students to the ways in which community-driven development, social entrepreneurship, leadership and human-centered design thinking overlap to create conditions for equitable and sustainable development. This course will be useful for any major because the tools we will use can be applied to sustainable business, social enterprise, non-profits, public finance as well as the arts and community action. Students will have the unique opportunity to work alongside Ashoka Fellows, leading literary figures, publicly elected officials and social activists from the diverse corners of Indian society.
  • ENTR4514 - Social Entrepreneurship and Design Thinking in Mumbai’s Urban Slums : Our overriding premise of this four-week course is that the inception and implementation of a social innovation begins by understanding a social problem from the ground up, and within a particular historical context, before developing a systems-based approach to reduce or solve the social problem. This does not imply a neglect of theory or research, but it does emphasize a learning-by-doing approach, where students delve into the hard, complex, messy realities of poverty in the country—gender inequality, financial exclusion, physical abuse, climate vulnerability, environmental degradation, water pollution, infectious disease, illiteracy, human trafficking, food insecurity, etc. Learning by watching, first, and then engaging in problem solving alongside local counterparts in government, private sector and the social sector, students will design, develop and test innovative solutions to either improve existing systems or propose new ideas to achieve sustainable development.


Northeastern Tuition: $12,140
Dialogue of Civilizations Fee: $1,250
  • Northeastern Tuition and DOC Fee Includes: 8 Northeastern credits, 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.

International Airfare: $1,500
  •   This program allows students greater flexibility in dates of travel and departure airports.  Once the program is fully enrolled, students will be able to purchase their airfare individually through a dedicated Northeastern portal of STA – Student Travel Agency.  Please do not purchase your airfare until you have received detailed instructions from GEO!

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


Additional Resources


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.


  • 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