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Washington, DC, Kigali, Rwanda

Program Description

Our students will work with elementary, middle school and high school aged youth in a school related recreation and sport program, in partnership with Kids Play International. Kids Play International believes that young people are the long-term solution to building a healthy society where each gender’s contribution is highly valued. Their year-round Let’s Play Fair program uses educational sport activities with interactive discussions to shift attitudes, behaviors and social norms between girls and boys aged 7-18. Sport has been proven to provide a unique environment where harmful norms can be renegotiated giving girls the same opportunities as boys to reach their full potential.

Our study abroad will have our students focusing on the KPI Mission to ‘break down harmful social, cultural and gender barriers between girls and boys’ using sport and recreation. On this great adventure, we will be immersed in Rwandan culture, create lasting friendships and work on service learning projects that inspire and educate youth in rural Rwanda. Typically, participants will experience, learn about and work on a variety of projects and activities including some basic teaching and/or coaching local youth.

In addition to their service work with the children, our participants will experience both Rwandan culture and history by meeting with genocide survivors and visiting the Rwanda Genocide Museum, participating in a Safari and visiting and watching Rwandan artisans at work.

Location Description

"Rwanda is known as Le Pays des Mille Collines (Land of a Thousand Hills) thanks to the endless mountains in this scenically stunning little country. Nowhere are the mountains more majestic than the Virunga volcanoes in the northwest, and hidden among the bamboo forests are some of the world's last remaining mountain gorillas.

For a change of scene, the shores of Lake Kivu conceal some of the best inland beaches on the continent, while Nyungwe Forest National Park protects extensive tracts of montane rainforest, and is home to many primates. But it's not all monkey business – Kigali, the capital, is safe and sophisticated.

Sure, Rwanda's name may evoke memories of the horrific genocide that brutalised this country in 1994, but it's all over and the country has embraced a promising and dynamic future. Rwanda remains stable, tourism is once again a key contributor to the economy, and you'll feel absolutely welcome".


Neil Marrin | | Hospitality Sport & Recreation Management

Emeka Anaza | | Hospitality Sport & Recreation Management


Shared dormitory style accommodations will be provided by host organization. Accommodations are centrally located to areas of service. Land transportation will be provided by our host agency.

Two meals per day will be provided by our host organization when we are on-sight. On traveling days students should be prepared to pay for meals.

Additional Items to Consider

Visas will be required.

Required immunizations TBA.

Students will be required to attend evening/weekend pre-departure lectures in the spring semester covering topics such as genocide, gender equality in sports, recreation programming and cultural awareness.

In addition, students will have post-trip assignments which require working with the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.5

The program is intended for Sport/Recreation majors, Education majors, Gender Studies majors and Genocide Studies majors, but is open to all majors.

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short essay 
  • Resume 
  • Interview with Program Director 
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students.

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

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Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


SRM 298: Rwanda: Combating Gender Inequality through Sport and Recreation Education and Coaching (3 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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