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  • Locations: Bohol, Philippines; Davao, Philippines; Dumaguete, Philippines; Manila, Philippines
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • Budget Sheets: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Minimum GPA (Undergraduate): 2.25 Language of Instruction: English
Housing: Homestay, Hotel Number of Credits Offered: 6
Eligible Population: 01 Freshman, 02 Sophomore, 03 Junior, 04 Senior, Graduate Type of Program: Faculty-led
Click here for a definition of this term Area of Study: Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Criminology Law and Society, Geography, Global Affairs, Integrative Studies Click here for a definition of this term Study Abroad Host: Global Education Office
Open to non-Mason Students: Yes Program eligible for VA Benefits: Yes
Program Description:

Human Trafficking & Community Engagement in the Philippines

Philippines, Summer 2023


Program Overview

Mabuhay! Known as the Pearl of the Orient, the Philippines has 7,107 islands and nearly 90 languages and dialects. This summer study abroad program will offer students direct contact with world issues like human trafficking, poverty, resiliency, grassroots initiatives towards environmental change within the context of Filipino life and culture.  This global education program in the Philippines will expose students to the dynamic interplay between human population and socio-economic, political, and environmental issues affecting the country.
Sessions on Philippine history, culture, politics and governance will be conducted during the entire trip.The trip spans four major cities: Manila, Davao, Tagbilaran and Dumaguete. 

Program Highlights

  • Explore the complexity of human trafficking as one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world, particularly within the context of the Philippines vis-à-vis Southeast Asia.
  • Study the causes, effects, (the) push and pull factors, and the various forms/models of human trafficking towards exploitation particularly of children, youth, men, and women.
  • Visit four of the world’s largest landfills, and will also visit NGOs that promote organic and sustainable agriculture and diversified farming.
  • Interact with local population and grassroots community development workers.
  • Visit local communities that are being affected by aerial spraying conducted by DOLE (banana and pineapple plantations) plantation company and do actual rice planting.


This program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students including students who do not attend George Mason University.

Minimum GPA: 2.25


6 credits

Students will choose two 3-credit courses for a total of 6 credits.

Course Options


  • INTS 399: Study Abroad
  • CONF 385: International Field Experience
  • GGS 333: Issues in Regional Geography
  • GGS 399: Selected Topics in Global Change
  • GLOA 480: Study Abroad
  • CRIM 485: Study Abroad
  • CRIM 490: Special Topics


  • CONF 695: Selected Topics

Program Dates

Summer 2023: Coming Soon!


    Date                Event/Activity
          Time and Place
   Departure for Manila  
Day 1
** Late night snacks (covered)
Arrival at Ninoy Aquino Int’l Airport,  Manila
- Airport pick-up to UCCP Shalom Center
 Shalom Hotel lobby
Day 2

** Breakfast (covered)
-Buy cellphone, gadgets, lunch (own expense
- Visit Cultural-Historical Sites
-Presentation and discussion Re. Experiential Learning and final review of program of activities
7:30am-9:30am  3rd floor Shalom Center
Robinson’s Malate
(2pm- 5:30pm) Intramuros - Spanish Fortress, San Agustin Church, Rizal Park, Manila
7pm 2nd floor, Shalom Hotel
Day 3

** Breakfast/dinner (covered)
- Visit the American Cemetery and Monumental Orientation about WW2 and the Philippine-American relations
-Ayala (optional)
-Lunch (own expense)
-Cultural Dinner
7am-8:30am, 3rd floor Shalom Center
Venice Grand Canal Mall
Barbara’s, Intramuros
Day 4

Day 5

** Breakfast/Snacks (covered)
Orientation: National Situationer: Philippine Politics, Governance and Filipino Culture
-Orientation: Urban Poor: Smokey Mountain, BASECO, Hapilan
-Ocular Visit (Urban Poor)
-Individual/Group Debriefing/Sharing
** Breakfast/Snacks (covered)
-Initial Orientation and Ocular Visit Re. Human Trafficking in the Philippines c/o Visayan Forum (Voice of the Free)
Individual/Group Debriefing/Sharing
7am-8:30am, 3rd floor Shalom Center
9am-10:45am, 2nd floor Shalom Center
-whole afternoon
7:30pm at Shalom Center, 2nd floor
8:30am  - whole day

Right after visit
Day 6
Grand Menseng
Davao City
** Breakfast (covered)
** Departure for Davao City
-Viewing/Shopping indigenous products produced by local communities at Aldevenco
-Shalom Center
Morning (2 hour flight)
4pm: Aldevenco
Day 7

** Breakfast (covered)
- Peacebuilding and the Arts (Visit Kublai, Filipino peace artist and his gallery <Ponce Suite>
-Visit Museo de Davao
Day 8

Day 9
Day 10

** Breakfast/Lunch/Snacks (covered)
- Program Orientation
- Meet and learn Re. stories and experiences of sexually and physically abused children and prostituted women
/street children; many of whom are victims and survivors of sex and labor trafficking
** Breakfast/lunch/snacks (covered)
- Community integration with Tambayan children and youth (In solidarity).
** Breakfast/Dinner/Snacks (covered)
-Journaling/Reading time
- Pearl Shopping (Victoria Plaza)
- Orientation Re. Environmental Issues on Aerial Spraying: Visit Interface Development Intervention, Inc. (IDIS)
Dinner at Kublai and Maan’s residence
9am – 5pm
-9am – whole day
8pm – venue (TBA)
-2pm-5pm, People’s Park
Day 11

** Breakfast/snacks/lunch (covered)
- Community/field visits (women’s organization) affected by Aerial Spraying by Del Monte and DOLE plantations/companies.

Whole day

Day 12
** Breakfast/lunch/snacks (covered)
-Rice planting (wear rugged clothes; bring towel and extra shirt)
-Visit and learn about Organic/Diversified Farming/ride a water buffalo at Imulayan.
-Whole day
Day 13


Day 14

** Breakfast/snacks (covered)
-Journaling/Personal time
-Hangout with Tambayan youth
** Breakfast (covered)
Journaling/Personal time
Final Debriefing based on a journal entry
2pm-5pm at People’s Park
Day 15
Day 16
** Breakfast (covered) 
- Departure for Panglao Island, Bohol (morning flight)

** Breakfast (covered)
-Unwind/Exploring the beach
Lost Horizon, Panglao Island, Bohol
Whole Day
Day 17
** Breakfast/Lunch (covered)
-- Guided Tour and visit to areas affected by earthquake (Geo-Science tour)
* Blood Compact Shrine (Friendship Treaty between Filipinos and  Spaniards 400 years ago)
* Baclayon Church and Museum (Ruins)
* Loay bolo making
* Loboc River Cruise
* Tarsier watching
* Bilar Man-made Mahogany Forest (drive thru)
* Chocolate Hills
* Souvenir Shopping
* Hinagdanan Cave
Whole Day
Day 18

** Breakfast/Snacks (covered)
-At the beach (am)
-Meet families who were beneficiaries of the housing project of batch 2013.
-Lost Horizon
-Early afternoon
Day 19

Stay at Bethel Guesthouse
** Packed breakfast/Dinner (covered)
- Departure for Dumaguete City (ocean cruise)
- Formal Welcome Dinner with officials from Dumaguete City and Silliman University
- Orientation Re. Service-Learning
6:30pm, Bethel Guesthouse
Day 20

** Breakfast/Lunch/Snacks (covered)
- Swimming with whale sharks
Bethel Guesthouse
6am (leave hotel) – early afternoon in Oslob, Cebu
Day 21

** Breakfast/Dinner/snacks (covered)
Human Trafficking Workshop 2 (Dumaguete Context)
-Visit and Dinner at Casa Esperanza (safe house)
8:30am -12 noon
2pm – 5pm
Day 22

** Breakfast/snacks (covered)
Dawn (optional): Pre-breakfast at the public market – sticky rice with mango and organic hot chocolate
Photo ID at Silliman University as part of the Service-Learning program
Forest Camp
Dumaguete Public Market
Day 23

** Breakfast/lunch/dinner/snacks (covered)
- Orientation: Community Service Learning
- Start of the Service-Learning experience
(students will go to their respective host families and assigned local communities with SU buddies)
- Bethel
-9am - 12noon
-- Afternoon
Day 24 – 27
** All meals/accommodation are covered
Service-Learning: Students with host families and communities (homestay)
-Assigned communities and NGOs
Day 28
End of Service-Learning
** Breakfast/Dinner/Snacks (covered)
- Return to Bethel Guest House AFTER breakfast
- Debriefing of S-L experience
- Cultural Solidarity (students invite their host families and friends from the community).
-Morning (after breakfast): teams will work on their experiential learning to share in the afternoon.
Day 29

Fly back to MANILA
Shalom Hotel
** Breakfast (covered)
-Departure for Manila
(Optional): Mall of Asia
Morning flight
Day 30
** Breakfast/Snacks (covered)
-FINAL DEBRIEFING and Review of Course requirements
Note: Sharing of a journal entry
2nd floor Shalom Center

* Dates and itinerary subject to change. The Global Education Office reserves the right to make changes to a program in light of currency fluctuations, changing security and safety conditions, and/or any other unforeseen circumstances.

Program Cost

Summer 2023: Coming Soon!
Summer 2020: $5,120

The Program Cost for study abroad courses is assessed separately from Mason tuition and fees. This means separate charges are put on your student account for this course, a study abroad tuition charge and a study abroad program fee charge, which together equal the published Program Cost for this course. 

  • Application Deposit
  • Tuition and mandatory fees
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Accommodations
  • Most meals
  • Transportation between sites in the Philippines
  • Guided tours and field excursions
  • Post-trip meeting
  • International emergency medical insurance.

Not included:
  • Airfare*
  • Passport and visa fees
  • COVID-19 testing
  • Vaccinations
  • Some meals
  • Other transportation
  • Personal spending
  • Required textbooks and/or course materials

*Note: This program does not include a group flight. Information regarding arrival times and location will be sent out to all participants after the application deadline. Do not purchase airfare until you receive the "Green Light for Flights" notice from the Global Education Office via email.

The notice will include information on the arrival/departure airports, flight times, and where to meet the group. Students who fail to follow the guidelines GEO sends out will be responsible for applicable costs of changing their flights. When the time comes to purchase airfare, GEO will recommend the purchase of Flight Interruption and Cancellation Insurance. The “Green Light for Flights” email will provide additional information about this insurance. 

Program Payments

The full program fee is charged to your Mason Student Account. Students pay the Global Education Office (GEO) Program Fee as advertised in two payments (Application Deposit + Final Payment).

Application Deposit: $200 non-refundable Application Deposit must be received by the application deadline. This fee is paid online through the MasonAbroad application system and is included in the program fee.

Final Payment: The final balance is made through the Mason Bill+Payment system. Payment is due according to the Mason Payment Schedule. The amount due is the difference of your Program Cost minus the $200 you will have already paid, the Application Deposit.

  • You can make your final payment in the Mason Bill+Payment system even if you do not see the GEO program charge on your student account.
  • George Mason University applies payments to outstanding charges first. If you have an outstanding balance from a previous semester your payments will first go to paying that charge. You will still be responsible for the GEO charge.

Financial Aid: In most cases, financial aid (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans) can be used to finance study abroad. It is the student’s responsibility to check with the Office of Financial Aid to review their financial aid package. The Office of Financial Aid is the only office that can determine your aid eligibility. 
Meeting with your financial aid officer prior to applying to study abroad will help you understand if, how much, and when your aid can be used to study abroad.
Confirmation of your financial aid award may not be available until registration and billing for the term in question is final. If aid eligibility changes, or the amount of aid disbursed is lower than anticipated, students are responsible for all remaining account balances or risk late fees, holds on their accounts, and program dismissal.
To assist students in the processing of their financial aid, GEO will communicate with the Office of Financial aid those students who plan to utilize financial aid for their specific study abroad program through their application with GEO.  Please note there is no guarantee to students that their aid can be utilized for their specific study abroad program. 

If you plan to use federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans to finance your study abroad you must: 
  • Mark “Yes” to “Do you plan to use Financial Aid to finance your program (federal, state, institutional financial aid, scholarships, grants or loans)?” in your profile in
After acceptance: 

* Students must be enrolled at least half-time for federal loans and the majority of grant funds. Please refer to the Financial Aid Website for a definition of half-time for undergraduate and graduate students:

VA Benefits: The Veterans Administration determines if a program is eligible to receive VA benefit payments based on the participants VA education program. Use of benefits is dependent on type of benefit and type of program. If you plan to use VA benefits to finance study abroad contact your program officer at to request the "Intent to Use VA Benefits Form." You will complete that form with Mason’s Office of Military Services. To contact Military Services be sure to email them directly at

Withdrawal and Refund Policy: All participants are bound by the Mason GEO Withdrawal and Refund Policy.

Tuition Exemptions
If you plan to apply for a tuition exemption (for example VMSDEP or senior citizen exemption) to cover a portion of the total cost of the Study Abroad program please contact GEO immediately. Not all exemptions are eligible for use on study abroad courses. When an exemption is eligible for use, only tuition charges are covered. The participant will be required to pay program fees, which may include housing, meals, and direct payments to our overseas partners.
Employee Tuition Exemption Benefit
Global Education Office (Study Abroad) courses and trip fees are ineligible for tuition waivers under this policy. For more information please see the Employee Tuition Exemption Benefit for details.

Payment Instructions

For more information on payments, financial aid, and information for non-Mason students:


GEO offers a number of need- and merit-based scholarships. All Mason students are welcome to apply:

Application Deadline:

March 10, 2023


Application requirements:*

Program Deposit: $200 for all applicants.

Course Selection Questionnaire: You will choose the course(s) you would like to be receive credit for on this program. Check the "Academics" tab to see what courses are offered on this program. If you need help selecting your course, check with your academic advisor.

Passport Status Questionnaire: You do not need a passport to complete this questionnaire or the application. However, if you do not have a valid passport, you should begin applying for one now. The Global Education Office offers Passport Grants to help.

Signature Documents: Read and electronically "sign" the documents regarding the acknowledgement of risk, the pre-departure orientation, and your financial responsibility.

Additional requirements for non-Mason applicants:

Official transcript: To be mailed or emailed to the Global Education Office at George Mason University.

Non-degree Contract Course/Admission Form: Please complete the form and upload it into the questionnaire.

* Additional application requirements may apply to individual programs. Once you open your application, you will see all application requirements.

Application instructions:

Academic Director

Name Al Fuertes
Phone 703-993-9727

GEO Program Administrator

Name Brittany Harris


Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.