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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Bucerias, Mexico; San Pancho, Mexico
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Area of Study: Business, Education, Internships, Marketing, Nonprofit and NGO Studies Program Type: Faculty Directed, Internship Abroad
Class Eligibility: Junior, Senior, Sophomore Housing Options: Hostel, Hotel
Language of Instruction: English Program Provider: NIU Faculty
Click here for a definition of this term Minimum GPA: 2.5 Click here for a definition of this term Language Prerequisite: No
Program Description:

NIU - Human Connections
Global Internship and Leadership Development Program

OverviewBucerias Map



Faculty Director:
Michaela Holtz, Director of the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning

Program Overview

PROGRAM OVERVIEW/OBJECTIVES:  The primary purpose of this program is to provide participants with the opportunity to:

  • Engage in an immersive international internship experience, leaving participants better prepared to understand and engage with local communities during their time abroad.
  • Learn through dialogue and human relationships and thoughtfully consider and begin to understand the needs and capacity of diverse global communities.
  • Gain leadership and professional skills through engagement in their internship and through workshops with local leaders.
Academic credit. The NIU-Human Connections Global Internship and Leadership Development Program (GILD) will engage students in a 3-credit hour hybrid NIU course (INTL 201) where students will complete an online curriculum in addition to engaging in thoughtful discussion and preparatory exercises before beginning their internship.  For the internship and professional development component of the program in Mexico, students will engage in an NIU-HC internship and leadership development experience in Bucerias and the Riviera Nayarit, Mexico for 3 credits.  Upon completion of the internship experience, students will be expected to present a poster as a final capstone.

Structure to maximize impact. The GILD program culminates with the completion of a collaborative, creative, community-based poster, which will be presented by students at the Community Engagement Showcase or in another designated showcase depending upon student’s degree completion date.

IMPORTANT - Download the complete program description for comprehensive information on dates, courses, travel, cost, and more, click:  Human Connections Global Internship and Leadership Development Program Mexico 2019.pdf

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Course Offerings

For satisfactory participation in the program, participants will be registered during the Summer 2019 session for the following courses:
INTL 201  Study Abroad Programs - NIU Human Connections Global Internship and Leadership Program                                      3 semester hour
Description: The 3-credit hour course will be structured as a hybrid course with face-to-face meetings occurring on NIU’s campus and the rest of the course will be online. The face-to-face meetings will include critical reflection, presentations about the local and surrounding communities of Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit, engaged discussion around topics like voluntourism, community needs, community-based participatory research and service and global scholarship. 

INTL 301   Internship                                3 semester hours
Description:  Students will engage in an NIU-HC internship and leadership development experience in Bucerias and the Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.  Upon completion of the internship experience, students will be expected to present a poster as a final capstone.  The final week of the internship will involve an intensive leadership development experience.
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Student Life

Students will stay in comfortable and safe accommodations in Bucerias, which will include kitchen access, double occupancy rooms, and free internet.  In addition, they will be located within convenient distance to grocery stores, restaurants, cafe, and the town plaza.  During their last week in Mexico, students will relocate to the town of San Pancho, and will stay in hostel-style accommodations inside of the Entreamigos community center.  Students will be provided with 12 group meals throughout the program.

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Application Information

APPLICATION:  Click Apply Now to begin the online application process for this program. The online process provides guidance on requesting information, advising, or applying for the program. More detailed instructions can be found in the application.

$200 APPLICATION FEE/DEPOSIT:  A $200 application fee/deposit is required of all applicants.  The $200 consists of $100 for the non-refundable application fee and $100 for a program deposit.  Both the application fee and the deposit will be applied to the total balance of the program cost.  The $100 deposit is refundable only if the participant withdraws prior to the withdrawal deadline indicated on the program materials or for medical reasons verified by a physician if the withdrawal takes place after the withdrawal deadline.
The $200 application fee/deposit will be charged to NIU students’ NIU Bursar's account.  (Checks and money orders cannot be accepted from NIU students.)  Non-NIU students must submit a check or money order in the amount of $200.  More detailed instructions regarding the application fee/deposit can be found on the seminar application website.
IMPORTANT – All applications will be categorized as “Pending – No Deposit” until the $200 application fee/deposit has been received (or, in the case of non-NIU students, once a check has been received).  The Study Abroad Office will not consider or process applications without the $200 application fee/deposit.  In order to reserve your place in the program you must submit the $200 deposit within 14 days of application.  After 14 days applications without a deposit will be changed to inactive.
December 9, 2018 - Extended to JANUARY 25, 2019

Please read the following carefully.
Space in this program is limited, so early application is recommended.  Qualified applicants will be required to interview with the program director in order to be accepted.
Upon acceptance into the program, applicants must change their status to “Committed” and complete all post-decisions items on the Study Abroad Portal in order to be considered an active participant and reserve their place in the program.
Applicants who have not changed their status to “Committed” will be withdrawn from the program.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. Is the GILD program a paid internship?  No, there is a cost associated with the internship program, which covers your housing, most of your food and several excursions for the trip.  You will need to cover your own airfare.
  2. Do I have to take the 3 hour INTL 201 pre-departure course and the 3 hour internship course?  Yes, both courses are required.  The INTL 201 course is the 3 hour pre-program course that takes place from April 8 – May 6.  It’s an online course that will help prepare you for your internship.   The 3 hour internship course takes place from May 13 – June 9.  You must complete the “Internship Credit Approval Form.”  The Study Abroad Office will register you for both courses.  The total credits for this program equal 6 credits.
  3. What can I expect from the internship?  The Human Connections team will provide you with an experience based on your skills, interest and expertise, however the majority of the internship will be for students interested in global and community engagement and outreach.  The final week of the program will involve a leadership development program at Entreamigos, a community center in San Pancho, Mexico.
  4. Is funding available for this experience?  Applicants may apply for the Study Abroad Travel Grant (application deadline: April 15, 2019) as well as any summer financial aid and/or loans.  If you are a student in the College of Business, travel funds are available through the college.  If you are a student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, you are welcome to apply for funding through the Student Engagement Fund (application deadline:  December 9, 2018).  Students can also apply for funds through the USET.  For more information visit to
  5. What about safety concerns?  Bucerias and San Pancho, Mexico are located near Puerta Vallarta.  Both are safe destinations.  NIU follows the U.S. Department of State recommendations very closely and will not send students to any destinations that have been deemed unsafe.
  6. What are the program dates?  The pre-departure course (INTL 201) will begin in early April and will be held mostly online.  The actual internship in Mexico will run from May 13 to June 9.
  7. What if I would like to stay in Mexico beyond June 9?  You are welcome to stay beyond June 9, however, you will no longer be participating in the NIU program and should plan your own accommodations and insurance coverage.
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Space is limited. Decisions on acceptance into the program will be made after the interviews.  The program is open to undergraduate students currently enrolled at NIU.  All majors are welcome.  NIU-HC internships are focused on the following areas: community outreach, research, educational initiatives, social entrepreneurship, financial management, marketing, and graphic design. 

The program is open to current NIU undergraduates who meet the NIU general admission requirements and who are interested in engaging in an intensive global internship and leadership development experience.
Students must be in good academic and disciplinary standing at the time of application. Students who are on academic or disciplinary probation are not eligible to participate in study abroad programs. Applicants must participate in the entire program and satisfy NIU undergraduate or graduate admission and course requirements.
Students cannot have any encumbrances against their NIU records.Any encumbrances placed on a student’s records by NIU (i.e., Undergraduate Admissions, Bursar’s Office, Accounts Receivable, Registration and Records, Office of Student Conduct, Health Services, Parking Services, etc.) must be cleared before a student is granted admission to a study abroad program.
For undergraduate students to be admitted to the program, an applicant’s official transcript must be on file in the NIU Study Abroad Office.Students who are currently enrolled at NIU, or who have previously enrolled at NIU, do not need to request an official transcript; the Study Abroad Office will make this request on behalf of the applicant.  Questions relating to the admission requirements or transcripts should be directed to the Study Abroad Office.
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Program Fees

NIU PROGRAM COST:   The program cost pays for the following cost related services:
  1. Housing and 12 group meals
  2. Program-related land transportation
  3. Program-related admission fees and materials
  4. Six hours of NIU undergraduate credit
  5. NIU International Travel Insurance
*This amount represents the total in charges and fees that will be paid to NIU for this program.  Please note that the following charges will post individually on your MyNIU account:
  • Study Abroad Program Charge
  • Instructional Cost
  • NIU Academic Program Enhancement Fee (if applicable)
All prices quoted are subject to change. The information contained in the program documents and forms is presented in good faith and is believed to be correct as of the date presented. Northern Illinois University reserves the right to amend, modify, revise, or delete any information appearing in these documents, including but not limited to the cost of the program.

Students are eligible for the Undergraduate Student Engagement Travel Grant. For application information go to
  • Airfare
  • Cost of acquiring a passport (approximately $140, including 2 passport pictures).
  • Additional costs associated with obtaining a visa for non-U.S. passport holders.
  • Immunization fees (if immunizations are required).
  • Independent travel and visa costs associated with independent travel.
  • Expenses for free-time pursuits.
  • Expenses and purchases of a personal nature.
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Financial Aid

As a participant in a study abroad program through NIU, you may be eligible for: Pell Grant, SEOG, PLUS Loan, Subsidized or Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, MAP Award or your privately awarded scholarship with consent of awarding organization. Tuition waivers do not apply. Please contact the Study Abroad Office at for more information or visit

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Withdrawal Policy

WITHDRAWAL FROM THE PROGRAM:  Applicants withdrawing from the program after December 9, 2018 will not be refunded the $200 program deposit. 

Applicants withdrawing from the program after this date will also be held accountable for any funds obligated to overseas vendors and agents on the applicant’s behalf.  This provision is in effect even if the applicant has not submitted the $200 deposit or additional payments, and if the applicant is applying for financial aid.

If the applicant must withdraw after December 9, 2018 for medical reasons, funds obligated on their behalf to overseas vendors can only be refunded if:
  1. The request is submitted to the Study Abroad Office in writing and accompanied by a signed statement stating that travel is not advised from a physician on the physician’s letterhead; and
  2. NIU is able to obtain refunds from overseas vendors and agents; and
  3. The program still has the minimum number of participants required to operate.
CANCELLATION OF THE PROGRAM: The Study Abroad Office reserves the right to cancel this program if the minimum required enrollment is not attained.  If, prior to the commencement of the program, a U.S. State Department Travel Warning is issued for Mexico, all applicants will be notified promptly of the warning and the possibility of cancellation of the program.  If, during the course of the program, a U.S. State Department Travel Warning is issued for Mexico, students will be promptly notified of the warning and the advisability of canceling the program.
The information contained in the program documents and forms are presented in good faith and is believed to be correct as of the date presented.  Northern Illinois University reserves the right to amend, modify, revise, or delete any information appearing in these documents, including but not limited to the cost of the program.  

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Passport/Visa Information

All participants must have a passport in order to participate in this seminar. Important Note: U.S. passports must be valid SIX months beyond the intended stay overseas. Individuals who do not currently possess a valid passport should apply for one immediately. Information on acquiring a passport is available at the U.S. State Department’s Website:  U.S. passport holders do not need special visas for this program. Non-U.S. passport holders may need special visas for travel in Mexico and are responsible for obtaining all necessary visas.

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Contact Information

Please contact the Study Abroad Office
Williston Hall 417
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: (815) 753-0700

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This program is currently not accepting applications.