A group of students pose together in the mountains of Peru.

A key part of the Institute’s mission is to provide you with immersive, hands-on learning as part of your studies.

Unlike other classroom-based graduate programs, these immersive experiences allow you to apply practical skills in your field of study before you graduate. Not only do you gain professional experience, but you are exposed to relevant networking opportunities that often lead to jobs after graduation. 

Below are some of the options available, with more emerging as the Institute’s professional partnerships grow and change. 


Institute students can apply for up to $3,000 in Experiential Learning Funding (ELF) to cover costs for eligible unpaid or minimally paid opportunities including virtual internships, volunteer opportunities, global courses, and start-ups. 

Separate from ELF, there is a Professional Development Fund (PDF) for conferences and professional licenses/certificates. 

Student Stories

Learn from the experiences of other students through our experiential learning blog

Immersive Learning: DPMI in Rwanda

My name’s Chris Nemarich, and this January I just completed a immersive learning program doing DPMI in Rwanda. It was really surprising where you hear about Rwanda as this amazing development success story. Reading about it and then seeing it is a completely different experience. Being able to see how much development has taken place and where the country is at now. Just reading about it in a book just doesn’t capture.

We started the program in Kigali, the capital, and had a few days to orient ourselves. We then went out to Rwinkwavu, which is a smaller town in the eastern provinces, and we would have a mix of classroom experiences. We did some field visits and then went through this process of really iteratively learning a concept, learning some new material, and then turning around and applying that to the client projects.

And so being able to be in a classroom, and be in a setting, and be in a group where it’s not just the Middlebury students that you’re interacting with but people from all different countries around the world, all different backgrounds, at different places in their career. And bringing that knowledge, and that experience, and that richness and depth into the classroom. That interaction really adds something to the classroom dynamic that you don’t normally just get in the course of the semester.

For me, as a development practitioner, one of the most important things is taking into account where you are, who you’re working with, and what those local needs and that local capacity is. And so, really to have a program that’s geared towards that has reinforced and reminded me of why I chose this path.

It’s definitely something that has made me excited to come back and really throw myself back into my course work. And it’s an experience that I think I’ll draw on, and already have drawn on.

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