The GLT program also features an optional field format: a network of “group sites” around the world that partner with GLT to provide a city facilitator with the responsibility of orienting, mentoring, and monitoring the placements of three to five students each semester. Group sites provide long-term involvement in, and reciprocal benefit to, select host communities.
As of 2012, these group sites include:
- Manila, Philippines
- Chennai, India
- Nairobi, Kenya
Students will travel to one of these group sites before being divided up, two by two, into select host communities. In their host community, students must complete the academic requirements while living with a local host family, interning with a community organization, and completing individualized research projects. The pairs live with different families and serve in different organizations, but reside in the same municipal area. Students must maintain the values of the full-immersion experience while providing the peer support necessary to cope with the cross-cultural and academic challenges.
The city facilitator identifies three to five urban poor communities that will host students in family residences and provide supervised internships. The following three general guidelines can be applied to selecting host communities:
- The host community must be large enough to feature diverse cultural backgrounds, socioeconomic conditions, and formal and informal leadership. The resident population should number more than 20,000 persons.
- The host community must be established enough (at least 20 years old) to have a distinct community identity, clear geographic boundaries, and a diverse associational and institutional network of churches, schools, businesses, health clinics, citizen associations, recreational centers, etc.
- The host community must be receptive enough to outsiders to have community leaders invite foreign undergraduate students to partner with local organizations in community-improvement efforts.
In each of the group sites, students will complete approximately 100 hours of voluntary service in community organizations that may focus on the following areas:
- Primary health
- Land rights and environmental health
- Business development
- Outreach to marginalized groups
- Church formation
Student Support Services
City facilitators provide the following services to GLT students:
- They will pick up students from the airport upon arrival and take them to their selected host family. From this point, the host family, and their network of relations, becomes the student’s primary source of emotional and social support.
- They facilitate the orientation and awareness of GLT students regarding health and security issues in host communities. They also work with the GLT faculty advisor to establish appropriate operational security procedures, including emergency evacuation plans, and initiate an emergency response protocol to disasters and emergencies, if required.
- They provide periodic mentoring and practical support to individual students. This includes practical emotional support, critical feedback to mentee experience, and help with social analysis and theological reflection.
- They will monitor each student’s host family and internship. They also assist students in problem solving, as needed, in relation to host family heads and internship supervisors. Facilitators will provide informal evaluative feedback to students on their cultural adaptation and service performance.