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Program Description:

CIEE Community Public Health Program in Gaborone, Botswana
Botswana has one of the most vibrant health care systems in Africa. With CIEE, you’ll explore the country’s healthcare delivery system and learn the successes and challenges from firsthand experience. You will observe the multifaceted response to a variety of healthcare issues in clinics, public health non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and hospitals. Engaging coursework, Setswana-language learning, homestays, and more will immerse you in this inspirational country and help you gain an understanding of its people. Your work in the classroom and engagement in the community offer you a unique insight into healthcare in Botswana and a profound intercultural study abroad experience.

Study abroad in Gaborone and you'll:
  • Study with local professors and students though direct enrollment at the University of Botswana
  • Observe in local healthcare service providers and organizations
  • Give back to the community through volunteerism
  • Explore rural public health issues and the relationship between modern and traditional medicine through a multiday stay in a rural village
Find out more.

Please check the CIEE website for final program dates, and speak with your CIEE Study Abroad Advisor prior to booking airfare. 


The Summer Community Public Health study abroad program in Gaborone provides you with an introduction to basic healthcare issues in Botswana. Through coursework, a community health practicum, homestays, and a rich and challenging social environment, you’ll gain a holistic appreciation and understanding of health and healthcare in Botswana. What’s more, the program helps equip you with basic Setswana-speaking skills. This is accomplished through a communicative and interactive approach that ensures you have the basic language skills to engage the local communities.

Study abroad in Botswana and you will:


  • Work with local public health promoters on a community health practicum in clinics in and around the city
  • Learn firsthand about rural public health issues and the relationship between modern and traditional medicine through a multi-day stay in a rural village
  • Explore Gaborone and the area through excursions to places such as the Mokolodi Nature Reserve, Chase National Park, or the Okavango River Delta

Your work in the classroom and engagement in the community offer you a unique insight into healthcare in Botswana and a profound intercultural experience.

The CIEE Difference


Enroll in a curriculum promoting theory, cultural integration, and practical application:


  • Address scientific and social problems of health and illness in Public and Environmental Health Issues in Botswana.
  • Partake in field placements with local health promoters in marginalized neighborhoods in and around Gaborone in the Community Health Practicum
  • Practice and interact in Setswana during visits to local historical and cultural sites


Learn first-hand about the community hosting you, while giving back to it. Internships are a critical component to the community public health study abroad program in Botswana and one of the most rewarding. Students are required to work with healthcare service providers in government sponsored clinics as well as other public health-focused non-governmental organizations. Through your internship, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation and holistic understanding of the country’s healthcare system.


The study abroad program includes guided visits to sites of historic and cultural importance in and around Gaborone, including a weekend camping trip to the Khama Rhino Sancturay and a safari drive in the Mokolodi Nature Reserve.

In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in an optional field trip either to the Okavango River Delta or Chobe National Park in the northern parts of the country. This optional field trip occurs at the end of the program and requires an additional fee. Students interested in this optional safari should plan to spend approximately five additional days in Botswana after the conclusion of the regular academic study abroad program.

Recommended Credit

Total recommended credit for the summer program is 8 semester/12 quarter hours.

Contact hours for the required Public and Environmental Health course and Community Health Practicum are 45 hours and recommended credit is 3 semester/4.5 quarter hours. The Setswana Language and
Culture Practicum has 30 contact hours and recommended credit of 2 semester/3.5 quarter hours.

Program Requirements

Students on the study abroad Gaborone program are required to take all three courses: the Setswana Language and Culture Practicum, Public and Environmental Health Issues in Botswana, and the Community Health Practicum.

About Gaborone

Botswana is one of Africa’s most stable countries, and a multi-party democracy. It is unusual in that the majority of its population is from a single ethnic group, the Tswana. Gaborone, the capital city, is one of Africa’s fastest-growing cities and lies in south-eastern Botswana, close to the border of South Africa. In addition to the main campus of the University of Botswana, Gaborone also hosts the headquarters of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community, which focuses on regional development, economic growth, and poverty alleviation. Botswana is renowned for its amazing biodiversity and diverse landscapes.

Where You’ll Study

University of Botswana

Established in 1982, the University of Botswana has a student population of 15,000 and a staff of over 2,000. The University’s vision is to be a leading center of academic excellence in Africa and the world; its mission is to improve economic and social conditions for the Nation, while advancing itself as a distinctively African university with a regional and international outlook. The University is committed to its students, to academic freedom and integrity, to cultural authenticity, and to internationalism.

Housing & Meals

Housing is included in the program fee. Students live in single room, apartment-style residences on the University of Botswana campus, or with study abroad homestay families within the immediate neighborhoods of campus.

Students who live in UB residences can either cook in their apartment or eat at local restaurants and cafés. Meals are not included in the program fee for those living in a University residence. Students who live in homestays take their meals at their place of residence. Lunches during the week are not included in the homestay option and are the responsibility of the student.

One week of the program is spent in a rural village where students live with local host families.

Academic Program

This seven-week program consists of five weeks of coursework, a language and culture practicum, and a weeklong field placement in a rural clinic. Students also engage in an urban community service practicum in and around Gaborone as part of the academic curriculum. Students gain a holistic appreciation and understanding of health and healthcare, and obstacles impeding the successful development of sustainable public healthcare. In addition, the program helps equip students with basic Setswana-speaking skills.

Academic Culture

The University of Botswana (UB) is a relatively young institution and, like other universities in the region, has limited resources compared to most U.S. colleges and universities.
The summer courses have been designed by CIEE in conjunction with the University’s Department of Environmental Health. All coursework is conducted in English with the exception of the Setswana Language and Culture Practicum. Students should be prepared for a style of teaching that is more formal and technical, tends to rely solely on lectures, and emphasizes memorization. Readings are typically assigned in class. The practicum may involve independent research, hands-on training, journal writing, and presentations.

Students take the Public and Environmental Health course every morning Monday through Friday for two hours each day. The Community Health Practicum combines lectures with a local service practicum, and includes a week at a rural Botswana health clinic. The practicum features a mix of lectures, tutorials, seminars, and field work.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year UMass/IPO Application Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Spring 2019 12/01/2018 ** Varies TBA TBA
Fall 2019 05/01/2019 ** Varies TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admissions.

If you are applying to a partner program, you must check their website for ACTUAL APPLICATION DEADLINES. The posted deadline above indicates when your UMass Abroad application materials are due and the program’s deadline may be sooner.