Design Immersions match Smithies with emerging international organizations for a summer of designing for positive impact. All international travel expenses will be covered and students will be provided a $2K living stipend. This is an opportunity to apply campus learning within real-world dynamic environments, explore beyond the comforts of the classroom and experience new cultural contexts.

Below are a handful of the organizations we already have confirmed, however, additional opportunities can be explored or may arise.

  1. Isla Urbana

    Isla Urbana works to promote large-scale adoption of rainwater harvesting systems in Mexican urban and rural households, schools, and health clinics as a response to the water crisis.
    Mexico City, Mexico

  2. Design + Democracy

    Design + Democracy works in partnership with industry, government, and the social sector to ignite a passion for democracy in young people through user-centered design.
    Wellington, New Zealand

  3. ModRoof

    ModRoof is on a mission to provide high-quality roofing to families in slums and villages globally.
    Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

  4. Studio José de la O

    Studio José de la O works to benefit society and is part of a global network of agencies specializing in human-centered design research and service innovation.
    Mexico City, Mexico

  5. Latin American Leadership Academy

    LALA’s mission is to promote sustainable economic development and strengthen democratic governance in Latin America by developing and connecting a new generation of principled and socially innovative leaders.
    Location TBD

  6. Busara Center for Behavioral Economics

    Busara is a research and advisory firm dedicated to advancing and applying behavioral science in the Global South.  
    Nairobi, Kenya

This is a two-round application process:

Application due by midnight 11/4
Please be sure to submit all of the following information via email to Subject: Summer Design Immersion

  • Your basic information
    Name (First Last)
    Email Address
    Phone Number
    Class Year 
    Major, Minor, Concentration
    Language Proficiencies
  • A link to a 2-3 minute video that speaks to:
    What you are passionate about and why?
    What excites you about the design component of this experience?
    What are your goals for a global immersion? 
    Where would you want to go, and why?
    What makes you a good candidate for the immersion of your choice?

  • Your Résumé
    Please include a 1 page résumé of all relevant experiences, academic and beyond. 

Finalists will be invited for a 45-minute in-person interview with the Design Thinking Initiative team 11/8-10. Selected Immersion candidates will be contacted on 11/12 in order to be able to register for IDP 116 or 316 in J-term or Spring semester before the 11/16 deadline for early registration.

All students are eligible to apply—including graduating seniors!
Students who are selected for Immersions are asked to register and will be given priority positions in IDP 116 or 316 in order to have pre-requisite experience in Human-Centered design. Students are strongly encouraged to take a course relevant to the project, culture, government, or language of the country you’ll be traveling to.

Questions? Contact Emily Norton at