With an ever-increasing world population, increasing disease levels and changing climate patterns, and an ever-increasing need for public health professionals, demand is high for professionals skilled in public health. Studying abroad provides you with an invaluable global perspective essential for this demanding and rewarding field. AU offers several study abroad programs designed to explore the interdependence among various social and economic factors which influence public health initiatives, policies and administration.
Public health students who participate in study abroad courses are well equipped for entering the workforce or furthering their studies in this field. They tend to better comprehend the complex challenges affecting health care provision and are better able to integrate diverse cultural perspectives into their work, as well as identify and address barriers that prevent quality health care for all communities.
This inaugural undergraduate public health-focused study abroad course was created as an addition to existing programs for graduate students within medicine, nursing and public health. These existing programs provided structure around which this new course could be built so faculty could focus more on pedagogy than on travel logistics planning. Following its success, another similar public health-themed program was added into an academic travel company’s multi-disciplinary course set in London, England.
Both courses were created using an established framework provided by the university’s Education Abroad department, providing for an efficient and effective process in creating new study abroad offerings, aligning competencies and curriculum across multiple departments. As a result, participation by undergraduate students increased 275% from year one of implementation to year four of implementation.
As demand for public health-focused study abroad programs increases, more courses are being designed in partnership with our international education partners – from semester-long course extensions to full semester experiences.
AU’s CIEE community public health courses in Buenos Aires, Argentina and Gabarone, Botswana combine classroom learning with field visits to nearby medical facilities and non-governmental organizations. Students engage in immersive and experiential learning experiences to investigate the contrasts of wealth and poverty as well as disparities in public health in an urban environment. Students on this program will benefit from the strong relationships CIEE has developed with leading public health institutions and professionals in Buenos Aires. As part of AU’s Global Health in Geneva program, students will explore regional and social as well as scientific issues while gaining hands-on experience through internships with local healthcare organizations and non-governmental organizations. Students participating in these programs at American University (AU) may earn up to five credits towards their Public Health major by participating in these programs, which may count toward both elective and selective credits or can fulfill the social and behavioral sciences breadth requirement when approved by their Public Health advisor.