Respectfully visit and engage
    with local entrepreneurs

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    Complement regular coursework or activities with experiential learning

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    Grow as a person, grow as a professional:
    hands-on experience with a social enterprise in Mexico

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Social education through travel

Through educational tours, Global Engagement Trips, and student internships, we bring together international travelers and local entrepreneurs across Latin America to share in cultural and personal exchange. Our programs foster cross-cultural relationships that are mutually beneficial and have lasting social impact.


We empower by recognizing the dignity and resourcefulness of our community members 


Delve deeper into the social sphere with these books, TED Talks, podcasts, and other resources 

“As an educator in the field of microfinance, it is rare to find those opportunities that can bring your students closer to the action before they join the professional world. Human Connections provided a boots-on-the-ground experience that my students will be able to share with their peers and use as a stepping stone for their careers, regardless of the industry they choose.”  -Tufts University Professor, 2016 GET Faculty Leader

“I felt that my Human Connections internship this summer was designed specially for me. This experience has transformed me as a person. I was not only able to meet fascinating artisans and help them improve their businesses, but I was also able to have fun working with a team.”  -Yale University Student, Summer Intern

“If you have ever wondered about the individuals who make the items we admire in the marketplace or the food we enjoy eating in the local restaurants, then this is the experience you have been waiting for. Human Connections simply provides the most worthwhile travel experience I have had in many years by affording you the opportunity to meet and interact with those individuals whose stories we would not otherwise hear. Anyone visiting Puerto Vallarta and Bucerias should make the tour a very high priority and not miss it.”  -Jerry, 2016 Tour Guest 

“Human Connections helped confirm different and new possibilities I had for my future. The experience was priceless and I enjoyed every minute of it. Every single person I met had an amazing story that inspired me, and will forever be in my heart. I feel like everyone should have an experience like what HC has to offer because it offers moments of self-reflection and the realization of the importance of giving. I definitely plan to go back!”  -UCSD Student, 2016 GET Participant


Our work starts with our clients — artisans, tradespeople, and food vendors in the Bucerias area. These are low-income but industrious people whose businesses represent rich local culture, economic growth, and personal achievement. Many clients have employed tools like microfinance or fair trade to meet their goals, making their experiences a testament to the power of these tools. Our clients have stories to share and we’re here to facilitate that conversation.

Visit our Artisan Directory for more details about clients and their businesses.

While we are beginning to offer Global Engagement Trips in new countries, our home community is Bucerias, Nayarit, Mexico.  This is where our offices are, where we have our deepest connections, and where most of our programming takes place.  Learn more about Bucerias and the region here!


    Learn from the insights of our staff, community members and interns 


    From cultural fiction to analytical articles, these resources enrich the reader


    Deepen your understanding of a particular topic and enjoy a good film at the same time 


The face of success! Anyone who has had a shot at making tortillas knows the struggle of getting it flat on the pan quick enough so that it doesn't break! And you might also be familiar with the joy of getting it on flat. 😄 Thanks Don Carmelo for being so patient with us as we learn!
“Human Connections introduced me to a culture in which family, community, and hard work is at the center. It was so beautiful that at times it seemed unreal. This experience was a lesson that everlasting joy and peace comes from within. It’s in all of us.” Randiss Hopkins, NIU GET, 2016. #GETinspired
“Learning beyond the classroom. Every  single opportunity provided by Human Connections supported my nonprofit and social entrepreneurship degrees. The power of the Mexican community left me inspired to return  and continue following my dreams for social change in the world. ”  Gabi, NIU Global Engagement Trip, 2016. #GETinspired
New blog post up now! 📝 "We need to stop telling one single story of people living in poverty and start realizing that perpetuating this image of helplessness is damaging for long-term goals in global development. No one wants to be 'saved'." Link in profile.
"Coming to Bucerias I learned that I need to take life day by day. I find it so beautiful how the locals are in touch with their spiritual side and are able to enjoy the little things in life. Being here, I found peace of mind and was able to just relax and enjoy the moment. This experience left me with a new appreciation of life and I can't wait to return!" - Jasmine, NIU Global Engagement Trip, 2016 #GETinspired
Cuteness overload! Our director Elly hanging out with Don Moises and Doña Zenaida's family. Any past visitors or participants remember little baby Janet? She is growing so fast!
We had such a great week with this enthusiastic and passionate group of NIU students last week! They worked incredibly hard to create a video (plus storybook AND blog posts) telling the untold stories of Mexico. We are so touched by their desire to connect with our community, learn from each other and due justice to the stories and people they represented through their project. 
We will miss you all and hope to see you again in the future! #GETinspired
“Visiting Bucerias and learning about the lives of local artisans was truly an eye opening experience. It helped me to realize the importance of family, love, and hard work. The stories of the citizens are an inspiration to me.” - Alex, NIU Global Engagement Trip, May 2016 #GETinspired
"Carmelo said, "a lot of people think about it but no one takes that extra step". Coming to Mexico to participate in Human Connections tour was the beginning of my extra step. I was blessed with the gift to give. When I return home I will be able to give my community the same knowledge I received each day in Mexico. Ending the single story." - Kurnisha, NIU GET, 2016. #GETinspired
“Never did I appreciate life so much until I arrived to Bucerias. The citizens here are happy, genuine, and full of life. The hard work of everyone is just one of many great characteristics that I have enjoyed the time being here.” - Brittany, NIU Global Engagement Trip 2016. #GETinspired
Jasmine and Randiss are some of the students working on a special project with Leonarda. Without giving away too much... filming has almost wrapped up!
Doña Zenaida teaching Brittany how to weave a hammock, Guerrero-style! We have loved seeing this group of students so engaged and eager to hear our clients' stories.