As part of the Global Health (GLBHL) minor, students must complete a supervised fieldwork experience, either internationally or domestically, for a period of five to six weeks during the first summer session i.e. May-June. Throughout their field work experience, students will engage in a range of inter-cultural encounters and gain broad knowledge of global health issues in the resource-poor context. More specifically, they will work in pairs or small groups, under the guidance of an on-site coordinator and supervisor, to observe and, where appropriate, contribute to locally relevant projects that serve to understand and address global health inequities.
Prior to their entry to the fieldwork program, students must complete a semester-long preparation course (i.e. BB H 390A), which aims to ensure their logistic and academic readiness to travel. Following their return to campus, they are encouraged to engage in an interactive workshop during which they will be asked to reflect upon and share their field experiences, as well as consider how their greater appreciation and knowledge of global health issues may be integrated into their personal and professional goals and plans.
Students' direct experience and interactions with local communities serves to deepen their understanding of the complexity of global health issues and interventions, as well as develop the core competencies needed to work cooperatively and respectfully with diverse groups in a global health setting. The fieldwork experience also encourages students to become independent and active global citizens who engage in meaningful two-way exchanges of knowledge and ideas for the purpose of contributing to the development of society.
Presently students have the option of completing their fieldwork experience in one of three African countries, Senegal, South Africa or Tanzania. It is anticipated that in future years new sites in other countries, as well as the United States, may progressively become available.
In Senegal, students will work with medical professionals at the Hospital of MBour. The city of MBour is approximately 42 miles away from the Capitol city of Dakar and has a population of approximately 200,000. The hospital also serves the city and the surrounding villages, or over 500,000 people. The hospital has 4 service units, including medicine, surgery, pediatrics, maternity/gynecology, and also a dental clinic. Students participate in clinical rotations and/or community health screenings and community based outreach projects as well as various cultural activities.
You will receive credit for all academic courses taken at this institution, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. Students may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad. These courses will not be credited at Penn State.
Successful applicants will satisfy the pre-requisites established by the program leader.
Completion of BB H 305 (Introduction to Global Health), BB H/ H P A 440 (Principles of Epidemiology) and BB H 390A (Preparation for Global Health Fieldwork)
Admittance to the Global Health minor. Only students enrolled at University Park are admitted to the minor.
More information regarding the Global Health minor can be found on the Biobehavioral Health website.
Housing and Meals
Students will be responsible for their own housing and meals.
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully. Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on class standing.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Penn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.
The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please visit theFunding Study Abroadsection of the Global Penn State website.
For More Information
For more information about programs and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with or contact our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. If you are not at University Park, contact your Campus Global Representative.
For more information, please contact Dana Naughton, the faculty leader for this program in the Biobehavioral Health Department. You may also schedule an appointment with the education abroad adviser for this program.
For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the Student Spotlights of Penn State students currently studying abroad.
How to Apply
If you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button on this page.
You must complete the following materials in your application:
Education Abroad Questionnaire
One academic recommendation
Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.
Application deadline: February 1, 2018
Studying Abroad with a Disability
Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.