Practice Experience

BlumLibraryApproved109A student arranged “Practice Experience” is the signature element of the GPP Minor, providing an opportunity for students to connect the theory and practice of poverty action.

The intention is for students to gain valuable learning experiences through working with non-governmental organizations, government agencies, social movements, and community projects that focus on various dimensions of poverty action – from community health and food security to economic justice and grass-roots political power.


The Practice can be arranged domestically or internationally. The minimum time expected for the practice experience is 240 hours over the course of at least six weeks in the field. Many students engage in practice experiences much longer than this minimum.

In planning your Practice, there are three important restrictions to keep in mind. Practice experiences can not involve:

  • Religious instruction or proselytization.
  • Carrying out medical or clinical work which you are not officially trained to do.
  • Teaching English abroad.

Additional information on these restrictions is provided below:

  1. Students should note that campus policy requires students in the Global Poverty and Practice Minor abide by applicable Federal and State laws, including those establishing the separation of church and state. As a result, eligible field experiences must not involve engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization.
  2. If you are planning a practice experience that involves doing medical/clinical work, you must provide documentation from your organization certifying that you will only be permitted to perform those tasks for which you are officially trained.

Finding a Practice Experience

The process of selecting and arranging a Practice is considered a significant learning experience in itself. Therefore, Blum Center staff do not place students into pre-selected Practice Experience sites. Instead, the GPP staff and peer advisers provide substantial support to students in finding a meaningful practice experience. GPP Peer Advisors , all of which hold regular drop in office hours, provide students with resources and guidance on how to go about identifying and developing a Practice Experience that suits the individual student’s interests and needs.

The GPP minor declaration orientation, mandatory for all students who declare the minor, also provides essential information and resources for this process. Such resources include access to a database that contains information on where past GPP students completed practice experiences,organized by sector and location. Prospective GPP students are welcome to visit peer advising office hours to use this tool for brainstorming PE interests. Declared students will also be added to the GPP Weekly Announcements email list, which includes several PE opportunities.

To get started with identifying a practice experience, students are encouraged to view the following documents:

  • GPP Practice Experiences – Critical Questions, Challenges, and Opportunities

    While students have some flexibility to choose their site, scale, and form of poverty action, each choice raises distinct social, political, and logistical challenges and opportunities for the student. This document—organized around 11 common types of PEs—highlights some questions to engage with when considering these PEs.

  • Preliminary Questions for Organizations
    This sheet outlines specific questions students may want to consider when contacting organizations for the practice experience.

  • How do I identify a PE site?
    This document provides helpful tips for finding an organization and criteria for choosing a fulfilling practice experience.

    Practice Experience Examples

    To read about what some students have done for their Practice Experience,

    Visit our Student Stories page