Service Learning Trip

Exploring Social Innovation (ESI) - U.S.A.

Program Schedule
4 - 14 Aug 2024
San Francisco & Silicon Valley, California, USA
Sign Up Now
Apply by 29 Apr 2024 11:59pm
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Exploring Social Innovation

Offered by VIA 

The Exploring Social Innovation (ESI) program brings together a diverse cohort of 12-20 students and young professionals from across Asia and the US in Silicon Valley for an intensive 10-day exploration of social challenges and innovative solutions. You will discover new possibilities for your future, learn innovative ways to make the world a better place, and meet a diverse and passionate group of changemakers from across Asia. You will experience interactive workshops, group discussions, site visits and guest speakers from innovative companies, and exchange ideas with local leaders and global friends.

ESI program goals

Participants will be placed in groups of 3-5 based on shared interests in a specific topic. Led by a Social Innovation Education Fellow, each group will meet regularly to reflect and discuss what was learned in relation to the group’s topic and work on a small project. On the last day of the program, each group will deliver a short presentation based on their topic with the whole cohort.

For more details and sample program schedule, please visit the website, poster or flyer of the ESI Program.

Participants sharing ideas on the community
Participants sharing ideas on the community
Playing games to know each other
Playing games to know each other
Visiting innovative organization
Visiting innovative organization
Visiting Stanford University
Visiting Stanford University
Information Session


  1. 28 Feb 2024 (Wed), 9am HKT [Register]
  2. 23 Mar 2024 (Sat), 8am HKT [Register]
  3. 11 May 2024 (Sat), 8am HKT [Register]

Platform: Online via Zoom
Complete the registration forms above to sign up for the Information Session.

Application Procedures

Application Deadline (Asia Date)

Round 2: 29 Apr 2024 (Mon)

  • Follow the instructions and complete the registration form.
  • Round 2 Shortlisted candidates from the paper selection process will be invited for an interview in 2 - 9 May.
Program Fee & Subsidies

US$3,300, which covers:  

  • Accommodation
  • Most scheduled activities and transportation for program activities
  • Breakfasts
  • Arrival lunch & Graduation dinner

(The program fee does NOT cover airfare, daily meals, optional activities, personal shopping expenses, and travel insurance (approx. US$2,425 in total). All participants are REQUIRED to purchase travel insurance before participating in the program. Participants will also be responsible for any medical testing, care, or additional travel costs associated with COVID infection and treatment)


Students may apply 'Connect Overseas Learning Experience Sponsorship Scheme' to receive subsidy to cover part of the program fee. Additional consideration will be given to those with financial need. More details.

Scholarship is also available at VIA.




Students' Sharing


ESI is an amazing journey! It gives me the chance to be aware of, and actively think about solutions for social issues in the world. Besides of ‘Exploring Social Innovation’, for me it is also exploring myself. After the valuable 10 days, I believe in the unlimited capabilities for each individual, and the possibility to really make an impact for the social good. This is a beginning of something great, and this could be something life-changing.

Kristy Tan

ESI Participant July 2015, Event Manager of Pan-Asian Collegiate Entrepreneurs (PACE);
HKUST Business School student



The ESI program equips me with skills and the mindset needed to be a social innovator. This short-and-sweet program, certainly has helped my to sharpen my business acumen. It led me to be one of the finalist of HKUST 25 Projects, conducting a Positivity Jar Challenge for women throughout Hong Kong, Business Strategy Director of PACE and many exciting opportunities! Always embrace ambiguity, learn from failure and be optimistic!

Trisha C. Natanael

ESI Participant August 2015, Business Strategy Director of Pan-Asian Collegiate Entrepreneurs (PACE);
HKUST Chemical Engineering & Entrepreneurship (Minor) Student