What does GIST involve?
The Group Independent Study Travel (GIST) component of the APLP involves a team of selected ‘delegates’ spending fifteen weeks in South East Asia carrying out specific, research, travel and small scale community support activities. GIST provides a condensed and intensive field work experience under the auspices the East-West Center.
GIST involves enhancing individual competencies and honing these abilities in new and diverse environments. In GIST, individuals and teams independently travel to pre-selected field locations to test and enhance their leadership, team and observational skills as well as to see how large scale issues discussed on campus are manifest (or not) in specific locales.
The program includes: 1) focused individual research in one area, 2) group debriefs and meetings in large urban centers; 3) community projects, and 4) a ‘quest’ which involves problem solving and overland travel across the region.
Individuals will be able to select their primary focus sites, communities with which they work and themes to focus on from a wide range of options. These options are as diverse as urban investment fund management to rural hill tribe development.
GIST is premised on the idea that effective learning includes traditional classroom or workshop elements and experiential field-based activities.
- APLP classroom preparation sets the stage and provides tools for engaging ‘the real world.’
- Field-based learning (such as GIST) helps to focus and deepen engagement of the content in the classroom.
- Field-based activities also stretch one’s network of contacts and can provide new career and other possibilities which the classroom may not.
During the GIST experience participants will utilize and enhance a number of competencies. Competencies are skills which may be taught but can really only be developed through actual experience. GIST competency development includes the following activities.
- Strategizing research and travel plans
- Network weaving (developing and maintaining a contact base)
- Engaging people who are navigating regional and personal change in South East Asia
- Intercultural communications (within GIST team and with people met in the region)
- Observation and analysis of complex processes ‘in the real world’ and where information may be scarce.
- Adaptive leadership (problem solving across diverse settings and challenges).
- Team building in shifting environments
- Project managing community projects and personal travel
- Documenting a nd distilling the experience of new locales and focusing thoughts on core issues
- Reflecting on diverse experiences and personal strengths and weaknesses through journaling and debriefing sessions.
- Evaluating outcomes and future plans.
Participation in GIST is by application. Selected “delegates’ (people on the GIST) must demonstrate why the opportunity works for them and what outcomes their involvement will yield. The GIST Motto is: “It is not where…but why.”
The GIST occurs in the spring term. There is a ten-day period of preparation at the EWC Campus.