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Programs : Brochure

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  • Locations: Kigali, Rwanda
  • Program Terms: Thanksgiving Break
  • Restrictions: Iowa State applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Thanksgiving Break
Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Thanksgiving Break 2018 08/01/2018 08/02/2018 TBA TBA
Thanksgiving Break 2019 08/01/2019 08/02/2019 TBA TBA
Fact Sheet:
Cumulative GPA: 2.3 Language of Instruction: English
Sponsor: Iowa State
Program Description:
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Architectural Design in Kigali, Rwanda


The proposed course, one section of Arch 401, will start with a study of the environmental, physical and social conditions in Kigali and focus on a neighborhood for architectural intervention. The studio will conclude with a two-week trip to Kigali, overlapping with thanksgiving break, in which students will conduct a design workshop with students at the university of Rwanda and visit important architectural sites to study contemporary sustainable design in the region. Through this course, students will learn to design within tropical environmental conditions, cultural practices and building techniques of East Africa. They will also address sustainable design practices and the contemporary architectural challenges of informal urbanism that is prevalent in the developing world.

At the end of the program, students will:
  • learn to design within tropical environmental conditions, cultural practices and building techniques of East Africa with a particular emphasis on Kigali, Rwanda. 
  • learn to practice sustainable design approaches and understand their impact on community development. 
  • understand the contemporary architectural challenges of informal urbanism that is prevalent in the developing world.
Students interested in this program are required to enroll in Arch 401 section RW in fall 2016.  Students enrolled in this class are not required to travel to Rwanda.

2016 Tentative Program Dates and Itinerary

Saturday November 12: Depart from Des Moines and fly via Minneapolis and Amsterdam, arriving in Kigali Sunday November 13 in the evening.
Monday November 14: visit to main urban locations in the city
Tuesday November 15: visit to the neighborhood identified for design workshop
Wednesday to Friday November 16-18: Design workshop at the University of Rwanda
Saturday November 19: flex day in Kigali
Sunday November 20: Visit to the cities of Nyanza and Butare in South Rwanda
Monday to Wednesday November 21-23: architectural trip to Kayonza province and Bugesera district in Eastern Rwanda to study indigenous and contemporary building practices.
Thursday and Friday November 24 & 25: visit to Cities of Mustanze and Rubavu in Northern Rwanda.
 Saturday November 26: flex day in Kigali. Sunday November 27: travel back to Iowa.

Program Prerequisites and Criteria for Participant Selection

Participants in all College of Design international programs must meet the following requirements:
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Accepted into departmental program of study
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.3
  • Clear academic record including no status of academic warning or probation in the semester prior to or the semester of international program participation
  • Course prerequisites as listed in the ISU Catalog
The College of Design may check a participant's current GPA and/or academic status at any time. Failure to maintain the required GPA of 2.3 or the failure to maintain a clear academic record may affect participation in an international program.

Costs and Financial Assistance

Students are required to pay a program fee to participate in this program. Participants may be able to apply their financial aid packages and should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid for further information. 

Budget information for this program is available by clicking here.


All participants in this program will be automatically enrolled in CISI, an international health insurance and emergency service plan. This insurance plan is required for all undergraduate and graduate students participating in ISU study abroad programs. The cost of the plan is $1.31 per day, and it has been built into the cost of the program fee. More information is available at the links below:

CISI Participant FAQ
International Insurance 101
CISI Policy Information

Withdrawal Penalties

The application deadline for the 2016 program is September 6, 2016. All students who are accepted to participate must either commit to or decline their offer in the ISUAbroad online application system no later than September 11, 2016. Those students who commit to their offer are officially part of the program and will be responsible for program expenses even if withdrawal occurs. The withdrawal penalty will be applied to the U-bill and will be due in full on November 20, 2016. In addition to withdrawal penalties, the participant is also responsible for all program payments the college is obligated to make on his or her behalf.

Date Withdrawal Penalty
After confirming offer in ISUAbroad and before September 23, 2016: $200.00 + any payments already made
On or after September 23, 2016 and before October 14, 2016: 50% of program fee + any payments already made
On or after October 14, 2016 Full program fee

Contact and Additional Information

Questions about Architectural Design in Kigali, Rwanda should be directed to faculty program leader Marwan Ghandour.