Think Global, Act Local

Students stand in front of a digital display of the Sustainable Development Goals.


The Think Global, Act Local: The United Nations' SDGs at Home and Abroad program, co-developed and co-taught by Modern Languages and Serve-Learn-Sustain, will help you see Atlanta from new perspectives—as a member of a variety of global communities, past and present, and as a leader in advancing sustainable development in new and innovative ways. Anchored in the 17 UN SDGs, the program links the global and the local via the five themes of Planet, People, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnerships, through:

Classroom learning and guest lectures

  • Global documentary film screenings with ethnic food dinners
  • Arts-and equity-focused community engagement in Atlanta

The first course, ML 2500: Introduction to Cross-Cultural Studies, provides a global perspective that crosses national and continental borders insofar as it integrates multi-genre texts by authors, directors, and photographers from Argentina, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Costa Rica, China, France, Germany, Japan, and the United States. The works examined also take us to Australia, Ecuador, Greenland, Haiti, Kiribati, Mongolia, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, and Tanzania. The second course, HTS 2086: Semester in the City, brings the global learning home. Building on knowledge and lessons learned in the first course about the SDGs and the role of the humanities in advancing them, students will spend the majority of this course working in teams on projects in the South Atlanta neighborhood and historic South-View Cemetery with our community partner, artist-activist Charmaine Minniefield, as part of her New Freedom Project.

Artist Charmaine stands in the middle of a light show.Small white house with sign reading "praise house" in black lettering above front door.Light projection of people with arms raised against wall.

The Think Global, Act Local program requires 6 credits. ML 2500 counts toward the Humanities requirement. Both ML 2500 and HTS 2086 count toward the Sustainable Cities minor. (Note that you cannot “double count” a course toward a minor and Core Area C for Humanities.)


This is a residential, Atlanta-based Program. Students are responsible for their own room and board. Students should live in the Atlanta area as classes meet daily from Monday–Friday.


May 11–June 20, 2023

* This program has residential class meetings M-F from 12:30–3:15 p.m. as well as some morning and evening activities. Classes do not meet on weekends or on Memorial Day.

This program is a full-time domestic study abroad program. Students will be expected to be available between 10 a.m.– 8 p.m. on weekdays (but activities will not be scheduled during all of these hours every day). The set class hours are Monday–Friday, from 1–3:45 p.m. Outside of class, there will be a number of other required activities, including project work, service-learning in surrounding communities, documentary screenings with meals provided, etc. The final program schedule will be shared at the orientation meeting in April.


There is no on-campus housing provided for this program; students should live in the Atlanta area and are responsible for their own room and board. The program will provide five group dinners at no additional cost.


Total credits: 6 required credits.

  • ML 2500: Introduction to Cross-Cultural Studies (3 credits)
  • HTS 2086: Semester in the City: Engaging Communities (3 credits)

This hands-on program will work closely with activist-artist Charmaine Minniefield and her New Freedom Project. In ML 2500, students will interview Minniefield and draft a chapter on her artistic work and its relationship to the SDGs, using the chapters they have studied as models. In HTS 2086, students will work with Minniefield and her team and partners in South Atlanta and the South-View Cemetery on a project focused on ancestral memory, using art to call on the past to gain new perspectives on the present and create new visions for the future.

Note that Global at Home students may complete additional study abroad programs in the same summer if the dates do not conflict, but they may not take Atlanta-based Georgia Tech summer classes. This is a USG policy. Students wishing to discuss additional course options for late summer are welcome to contact Jennifer Hirsch.


Good academic standing.


The total program fee is $550. $250 is due at the time of application. $300 is due on April 10, 2023.

Note that the following expenses are not covered by the program fee:

  • Room and board
  • Transportation to/from classes
  • Parking on/near campus
  • Some transportation costs to partner communities, such as when they go on their own to work on service-learning projects

Students may request to have the program fee deferred until May if needed so that financial aid will cover the cost. Students with financial hardship may request that the program fee be waived. Please contact Kelly Comfort to request deferring or waiving the program fee.

Students also pay tuition and GT mandatory fees for 6 credits.

Out-of-state students pay in-state tuition for Global at Home programs.

Hope and Zell scholarships and most financial aid apply to this program.

Cancellation Policy

Program descriptions and fees are subject to final approval by educational units and the Office of International Education. Georgia Tech reserves the right to alter or cancel this program due to low enrollment, unavailability of a professor to teach a planned course, or other unforeseen circumstances. Once GeorgiaTech has made payments to service providers, or if Georgia Tech cancels the program before departure or while the program is in progress for reasons beyond its control, such as political unrest or danger to participants' safety, only those fees that Georgia Tech is able to have refunded by service providers will be returned to participants. If a student withdraws from the program, the student will be responsible for the payment of all fees.

Students who choose not to participate in the program after being accepted in the program will be subject to the following non-negotiable fee schedule:

  • Students canceling on or before April 10, 2023, will lose their $250.00 application fee.
  • Students canceling after April 10, 2023, must pay 100% of the $550 program fee.

Orientation Meeting

One mandatory orientation meeting will be held in April 2023.

SLS-Affiliated Program

Georgia Tech Serve-Learn-Sustain logo

This program is affiliated with Georgia Tech’s Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS) initiative, which provides students with opportunities inside and outside the classroom designed to help them combine their academic and career interests with their desire to improve the human condition, allowing them to help build healthier, more sustainable communities where people and nature thrive. Visit the Serve-Learn-Sustain website to sign up for the SLS Email List and find links to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Quick Links

Program Contacts

Program Application

  • Application Deadline: March 31, 2023
    Decision Date: April 3, 2023