CIEE-Botswana...2 months is not enough time!!! Past Review

By (Microbiology B.S., University of Minnesota - Twin Cities) for

CIEE: Gaborone - Summer Community Public Health

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was incredibly worth my while. I find myself talking about my experiences in Botswana all the time and learned the most about myself while I was there. I gained a lot of independence and self-assurance. Also, being exposed to their public health systems has mad me so much more passionate about the subject.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 0-2 weeks

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was less than expected. I had expected the classes to be much more advanced, instead they were very introductory, which was not necessarily a bad thing. They covered a great deal of information and topics. The grading system was ambiguous and no one had a good idea of their grade in the class throughout our stay. The teaching methods were similar to those at home. Classes were discussion and lecture based and mainly utilized power points. Lecturers were experienced and communicated well.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

I think the program size was too large. It was embarrassing and inconvenient to go around with 21 Americans sometimes. I also expected that the majority of the students would have had experience in Public Health or at least have taken an intro class, which I don't think was the case. The administration overall was extremely helpful though. They were able to answer questions quickly and thoroughly.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I feel like the cost breakdown for the dorms was not given/accurate. I felt like people in the dorms paid much more than those in the host families, and that information would have influenced my decision on where to live. It would have been extremely helpful to have a list of the items needed to live in a dorm as opposed to a homestay, I could have brought a lot of them from home and not had to buy them. The dorms were nice however, and I have no complaints about the actual living accommodations; the proximity to the city was very nice. The home stay in Mochudi was amazing and I wish it were longer. I learned so much from my host family, they were incredibly accommodating for what they had, and it was a great experience overall.

* Food:

The food was amazing, I miss it!

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

All of our trips were incredible, especially the Khama Rhino Sanctuary. I wish we had more time to stay at all of the places.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I did not have any issues with healthcare. The only time I felt unsafe was when we were trying to find a cab one night from the mall. There are a lot of un-contracted cabs, and they are very forward in trying to get you to ride with them. However we were made aware of these situations and I think that prepared us for finding the right way to get home.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
If applicable, to what degree did your living situation aid your language acquisition?

Language acquisition improvement?

Almost everyone in Botswana spoke English, which made it incredibly easy. However, speaking and learning Setswana was preferred and easy too. Everyone loved when we tried to start a conversation in Setswana and were more than willing to help us learn. Batswana took pride in their language.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Host Family
  • Dorm
  • Hotel
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
  • Local Students
  • Host Family

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The people.
  • The wildlife.
  • The food.
* What could be improved?
  • Cost breakdowns/informing the students.
  • Make it longer!
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? I think any student interested in working abroad, especially in health care, would benefit from this experience. It is a great way to test the waters for studying abroad. 2 months is enough time to become acclimated to the area, but you will be searching for a way to go back as soon as you return home.