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Contact the IDSI Program:

Ocek Eke, Ph. D.
Director for Global and Local Service Learning Programs
Research and Academic Services Office
Email | Phone: 215-573-8266


IDSI Program Overview

The International Development Summer Institute – Africa Program (IDSI) provides students with the opportunity to have an applied learning and cultural experience abroad. The program consists of 5-weeks of pre-program preparation at Penn, a 4-week long training and service program on the campus of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi, Ghana, and completion of final paper the following semester at Penn. IDSI accepts up to 20 undergraduates across Penn. In Ghana, students participate in lectures from both Penn and KNUST faculty two days a week and service learning at a field site with an NGO three days a week. 

IDSI serves as an entry point for novice undergraduates who desire to gain knowledge of and experience in Africa (West Africa in particular), and in working on problems of the developing world. They will receive an introduction to the vast literature on development, learn about working in a team, and engage in confronting and solving critical problems as they arise. Students are expected to reach a greater understanding and appreciation of the impact that culture, society, politics, economic institutions, and appropriate technologies have on improving the health, education, and quality of life for communities living in the developing world. Finally, IDSI aims to prepare and influence students toward global career opportunities.

Coursework and credit:

IDSI provides students with 2 CU of credit, one in African Studies, and one through SEAS for the field practicum.

There are three components to IDSI: Coursework to introduce conceptual and methodological approaches to development to take place after Spring Break, providing 25 contact hours of instruction and interaction (at Penn); Lectures from Ghanaian faculty and experts and service learning during which students are expected to maintain detailed journals for four weeks (in Ghana); Preparation of a substantial paper/report on field practicum/findings/policy recommendations, with 15-20 hours of advising (fall semester at Penn).

In-Country Overview:

Sat May 11th- Sat June 8th

Service learning at field site (MTW)

Lectures (RF)

Cultural Excursions (Weekends)